We are targeting rural municipalities without electricity in KZN first then throughout South Africa and the rest of the African continent.
The innovation extracts methane gas from biomass and converts this energy into electricity. There are two streams of biomass used by the system which includes faecal matter from pit latrines and animals, as well as organic waste such as banana and orange peels.
We caught up with Mfanelo Ndlovu at the location of his pilot project, Joel Primary School, in Maphumulo Local Municipality.
What problem/s are you trying to address with your innovation?
We sought to address the issue of unreliable electricity supply to rural communities through the generation of renewable energy, which simultaneously works to conserve the environment.
What has been the toughest challenge/s to overcome in your innovation journey?
The toughest challenge has been securing funding for the project.
Where do you see yourself and your innovation in 5 years’ time?
Through commercialisation and scaling of the SSEWCS units, we aim to generate enough electricity for community schools to be self-sufficient and to enable schools to sell electricity to their local municipalities who will, in turn, be positioned to increase rural homes’ access to electricity. Additionally, the growth of this project will create numerous new engineering and casual jobs for youth through manufacturing, installation and maintenance of the SSEWCS units.
What has been the biggest lesson so far?
ECT notes that the biggest lesson for them in their innovation journey has been the importance of partnerships that helped them broaden their networks, and access skills to improve their product and themselves as a business.
ECT has received notable support from Invotech and CVC Africa through incubation, as well as the Technology Innovation Agency which has been a crucial funder since 2015. Collaboration with universities has also been critical to the success of the innovation in terms of conducting research and improving product design and technology efficiencies