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Agriculture Opportunity for systemic reboot Biofuels The crops that are working 2019/11/08 9:53 AM
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Contents ISSUE 37
16 18 20 22 24
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Cool roofs, a must-attend water summit, advantages for cocoa farmers, load shedding, reclassification of wild animals as farm animals and a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs
News and updates
Unpacking the consequences for business as the new Integrated Resource Plan is approved
Response from the sector on the new IRP and its allocation of wind power
What are the implications for the decarbonisation of South Africa’s economy when the mining sector is responsible for mass employment?
Legislation and the role of the circular economy in enabling a Zero Waste future
Sustainable aviation fuels are showing great potential as feedstock crops in Africa
Profiling a regenerative and successful farmer
The Vaal River’s sorry state: an indicator of the ‘new normal’ but as SA faces increasing water shortages the questions are unanswered
Interview Green Economy Journal speaks to Professor Daniel Mashao, Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg
eMobility has lots to offer the economy and the climate. A report back from the first African Electric Vehicle Road Trip
GBCSA report: Clever design transforms the energy usage of large warehouses and brings great savings to developers and tenants
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Editor’s Note Erratum
Our sincere apologies for omitting to acknowledge Thys de Wet, NRgen Advisors (Pty) Ltd, for his contribution to the Biomass feature in our July/August edition.
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EDITOR: Melissa Baird PRODUCTION MANAGER: Alexis Knipe LAYOUT AND DESIGN: CDC Design GM: MEDIA SALES: Danielle Solomons firstname.lastname@example.org PROJECT MANAGER: Munya Jani SALES: Vania Reyneke Contributors: Arianna Baldo, Graham Cruikshank, Jon Duncan, Dr Anthony Turton, Christopher Ahlfeld, Constance Mokhoantle, Ntombifuthi Ntuli, Kate Stubbs, Gwen Sparks, SAWEA, Generation.e PRINTING: FA Print DISTRIBUTION: Edward MacDonald WEB: www.alive2green.com/ publications/green-economy-journal/ Circulation enquiries: email@example.com GENERAL ENQUIRIES: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: email@example.com EDITORIAL PROPOSALS: firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHER: Gordon Brown Alive2green Projects PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 1st Floor Cape Media House 28 Main Road Rondebosch 7700 Cape Town TEL: 021 447 4733 FAX: 086 694 7443 REG NUMBER: 2005/003854/07 VAT Number: 4750243448 ISSN NUMBER: 2410-6453 PUBLICATION DATE: November 2019
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Green Economy Journal is audited by ABC
Issue 37 R29.00 incl VAT
Renewable energy Next hurdles for IPPs The Vaal River Imminent collapse 11025
9 772410 645003
I have been the editor of the Green Economy Journal for 17 editions, published since December 2015. In that time, I have been under tutelage from Al Gore on climate change and survived the Gezi Park riots in Istanbul that saw me breathe in more tear gas than the old SADF was hurling at us irate students, protesting for the end of apartheid. I’ve witnessed, first-hand, the environmental degradation of waterbereft countries. Countries which have too long relied on outmoded forms of farming techniques or replaced their functional community systems with mass agriculture that renders the land’s biodiversity null and void and dependant on fertilisers. I have met permaculture maestros who show how the earth is a regenerative system that thrives on diversity. Much like it is said about strong societies. I have met John D Liu who has recorded the regeneration of the Loess Plateau in China, an area the size of Belgium that was entirely rehabilitated due to a set purpose from the Chinese Government. Within a decade, a massive social and agricultural revolution took place for the betterment of everyone. Jason Drew has been another key player in the agricultural sector with his insect feed technology that replaces fish and bone meal feed for livestock. Since when did a chicken eat fish you, may wonder; apparently at the start of caged chicken farming. His interviews have been published in past editions of this journal and his success is outstanding. In South Africa, Dr Anthony Turton has been a necessary and scientifically informed voice on the water issues this country faces and has offered some tremendously important solutions for consideration. In this edition, you will read his opinion on the Vaal River’s pollution levels and what this means for water security. Then there are the economists who have given of their insight as the new economy is unfolding, most notable Alexandre Lemille who is championing the mission of circular thinking and manufacturing processes to give Africa another chance at economic stability. The waste sector specialists have shown that there is hope for the tragic waste problem and there are entrepreneurs who are active in helping school leavers and newly qualified artisans find purposeful work. It is with this reflection of the incredible thought leaders who are doing such great things for our society and our planet that I close this edition for 2019: with a sense of hope that as the problems keep unfolding, there will be people and technology and a return to our humanity that can and should give us reasons to be cheerful in 2020. It’s the start of a whole new decade and if the past one is anything to go by, this one is sure going to be interesting. Wishing you a very a happy and successful new year ahead.
Agriculture Opportunity for systemic reboot Biofuels The crops that are working
Cover image: Pexels
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any way or in any form without the prior written permission of the Publisher. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Publisher or the Editor. All editorial and advertising contributions are accepted on the understanding that the contributor either owns or has obtained all necessary copyrights and permissions. The Publisher does not endorse any claims made in the publication by or on behalf of any organisations or products. Please address any concerns in this regard to the Publisher. The Green Economy Journal is printed on Hi-Q Titan plus paper, manufactured by Evergreen Hansol, a leading afforestation member acknowledged by FOA. Hi-Q has Chain of Custody certification, is totally chlorine free, and is PEFC, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 accredited. This paper is FSC certified.
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Recycle PET plastic bottles. They are turned back into bottles again. Plastic cool-drink and water bottles are made from a highly valuable material called PET. When recycled, PET plastic bottles can be turned back into bottles again.
Many South Africans receive income opportunities from the recycling process. When we recycle, we help to secure a sustainable future, one rich with natural resources.
Recycling means that we rely less on virgin materials to make new bottles. This extends the lifespan of the PET plastic bottle, reduces waste and the reliance on precious limited resources.
Have a look at our work since inception. With you, we can do much more.
PET plastic bottles can be recycled back into plastic bottles again. Do 1 thing. Recycle.
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News & and Updates Updates
Photo by SAWEA
Wind power sector responds to renewed load shedding The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) sees the current energy constraints as a clear symptom of Eskom fleet’s reduced energy availability factor (EAF) and a reminder that the country needs to procure new generation capacity in order to bring the EAF to healthy levels again. Besides utility scale generation, the wind industry is geared to supply electricity directly to energy-intensive users through signing private Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). This would address a lot of the capacity challenges and ultimately avoid load-shedding, which prevents economic stability and growth. To achieve this the sector will require policy support in terms of generation licences and a wheeling policy framework. The wind power market has already procured over 3 366MW since the start of the REI4P. Within this, wind power produces over 52 percent of total renewable power, with more than 1 300 wind turbines generating renewable electricity into the national grid.
Preventing cities from running dry The W12 Congress, presented by Grundfos, is the first global conference that will bring together individuals from major cities around the world that are likely to face a Day Zero scenario in the next 24-36 months. Cape Town was the first major city to face what has become known as ‘Day Zero’: the day water resources are completely depleted and taps run dry, but thanks to concerted efforts from all sectors, Day Zero was averted. The W12 Congress works with this very real situation to explore how Cape Town avoided Day Zero and how we can collectively increase our water security for all international cities facing this crisis. The W12 conference will be held on 27-31 January 2020 in Cape Town.
Entrepreneurs for community impact
Corteva Agriscience™ and the Ghana Cocoa Board have collaborated to launch a new insecticide to rid Ghana of the Capsid bug that is responsible for decimating crops in the region. Ghana has battled to fulfil its off-take agreements due to decreased yields. Transform Akate is a response to the devastation caused by the Capsid bug plaguing Ghana. Bringing together various stakeholders in the cocoa production industry, the hope is that the repellent will be a longlasting, effective antidote. Cocoa farming is a vital sector in the Ghanaian economy – employing almost 800 000 farmers and generating approximately $2 billion in foreign exchange annually towards Government revenue. www.instinctif.com
Photo by Soap Box South Africa
Unboxed seeks to promote greater financial inclusion in South Africa at large, beginning in Cape Town. It is a platform that uses external funding to connect township entrepreneurs with marketing services provided by SoapboxSA. The company’s objective is to introduce behavioural design to entrepreneurs and then help them apply it to their businesses. For each selected entrepreneur, a fundraising campaign will be set up to help them unpack their business’ full potential. Many passionate and driven entrepreneurs in townships lack access to the resources they need to grow their businesses. Unboxed seeks to fill this gap by providing them with the funds and services they need to move their businesses forward. Are you in the Western Cape and do you have an amazing social business? Visit www.soapboxsouthafrica.co.za
Ghana’s cocoa industry to increase its crop yield
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Photo by Pexels
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News News STRAPHEAD and & Updates
Minister rejects Monsanto maize South Africans that protested against Monsanto and GMO in Cape Town in 2016 will be happy to learn the recent decision by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Thoko Didiza, against agriculture chemical company Monsanto. A decision was upheld to reject Monsanto’s application for the commercial cultivation of its triple stacked ‘drought-tolerant’ maize seed (MON87460 x MON89034 x NK603). The Executive Council took a decision to refuse the application and the reasons for the refusal was due to the fact that kernel count per row and kernel count per ear showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the MON87460 x MON89034 x NK603 maize event and conventional maize in water limited conditions. http://mzansiagritalk.com
Photo by Xiaoyi Jin (Climateworks)
Photo by Pexels
SANEDI receives $100 000 for a challenge
Dr Thembakazi Mali, interim CEO at SANEDI and Denise Lundall, project officer energy efficiency cool surfaces and communications at SANEDI.
buildings, but deploying them across a whole community can have a net effect on reducing local ambient temperatures. Furthermore, the deployment of reflective materials creates sustainable job and skills opportunities for lowskilled workers in both rural and urban contexts,” quotes Denise Lundall, project officer energy efficiency cool surfaces and communications at SANEDI. The cooling effects can vary between 2-4 degrees Celsius and the whitening of 100m2 of grey roofing cancels the warming effect of ten tons of CO2 emissions (or 0.6 tons per year for the life of the roof ). Globally, this cancels 500 medium-sized coal power stations’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions. www.sanedi.org.za.
The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) is one of ten global teams awarded a $100 000 grant by the Million Cool Roofs Challenge to deploy solar reflective coating and/or materials by December 2020. The Million Cool Roofs Challenge is a project of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), in collaboration with the Global Cool Cities Alliance, Sustainable Energy for All and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre. The $2 million global competition aims to rapidly scale up the deployment of highly solarreflective ‘cool’ roofs in developing countries suffering heat stress and lacking widespread access to cooling services. “Reflective roof surfaces not only have an impact on individual
Endangered wildlife are now farming stock A total of 33 wildlife species, including lions, cheetahs, rhinos and zebras were reclassified by parliament as farm animals. The amendment to the Animal Improvement Act (AIA) governs the breeding of livestock in the country but the amendment was not open to public consultation and has provoked outrage from environmentalists and given cause for concern for the impacts of biodiversity in South Africa. Don Pinnock, (environmental journalist at Daily Maverick) in his investigative examination of the decision is convinced that a few breeders have managed to persuade the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to pass the amendment so that wild animals like rhinos, cheetahs and lions can be farmed which can lead to controversial breeding practises and the support of the lion bone trade.
Lekela’s 250MW West Bakr wind farm in Egypt has reached financial close. Mott MacDonald was the lender’s technical advisor on the project to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). West Bakr wind farm is located 30km north of Ras Ghareb and 225km south of Cairo. The project is being constructed under a buildown-operate (BOO) scheme and will supply clean power to the Egyptian grid through a take-or-pay power purchase agreement with the national electrical utility, Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC). Mott MacDonald undertook technical due diligence of the wind project, as well as an overall technical risk assessment. The consultancy will continue its role during construction monitoring.
Alvaro Perez, Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said “It’s fantastic to be working on this project which will positively impact the economies of the surrounding local communities in Egypt by supplying clean, renewable power for 20 years. It’s great to be involved in a project which is helping Egypt to meet its renewable energy targets.” The Egyptian government has set targets for renewables to make up 42 percent of the country’s electricity mix by 2035, based on rapid solar and wind deployment. Mott MacDonald is a US$2bn engineering, management and development consultancy involved in solving some of the world’s most urgent social, environmental and economic challenges and has previously worked with longterm owner-operator Lekela on wind projects in Ghana and South Africa totalling 525MW.
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Photo by Pexels
Egyptian wind farm
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Renewable energy: a brighter future, but coal is still king
BY Christopher Ahlfeld, SUSTAINABILITY & CLEAN ENERGY SPECIALIST
South Africaâ€™s government finally published its national Integrated Resource Plan, which outlines the national electricity plan for the country for the next ten years. While renewable energy accounts for most of the new capacity to be built by 2030, the plan lacks ambition in phasing out coal faster to optimise economic, environmental, and social development goals for the country.
Photo by Pexel
everal revisions were made to the IRP 2019 compared to the draft published in October 2018. On the plus side, wind has the most allocated new capacity of 14GW followed by utility-scale solar PV at 6GW and will account for about a quarter of the energy generated by 2030 under the new plan. Like the 2018 draft, the IRP 2019 still contains annual build limits on new solar and wind sectors to allow for a balanced mix of new projects rather than a least-cost mix. Distributed generation for projects <10MW will be uncapped until 2022 to meet near-term
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supply shortages with 500MW per year of distributed generation larger than 1MW planned to go forward. The IRP 2019 also sees the benefits of increasing storage capacity by 2GW before 2030. Nuclear over the next ten years appears to be limited to a retrofit of South Africaâ€™s existing 1.9GW Koeberg nuclear plant to extend its life for another 20 years beyond 2024, but the cost assumptions for the retrofit remain unclear. Gas and diesel capacity have been reduced from the 2018 draft from 8.1GW to 3GW due to gas availability and locational issues cited. www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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Graph builds on data provided in the IRP 2019. Assumes constant availability factor from 2018-2030 by resource and 3GW of new distributed generation installed by 2022.
Photo by Pexel
Subsidising new coal with a balanced energy mix Despite growth in renewables, distributed generation, and storage; coal will still provide the majority of South Africa’s energy (60 percent) by 2030. In addition to finishing the delayed and over budget Kusile coal project, the IRP allocates 1.5GW of new and more expensive coal to be built which would likely include the Thabametsi (577MW) and Khanyisa (300MW) coal plants if they can secure financing. Many international and local banks in South Africa have taken a responsible investment approach and now refuse to finance new coal plants due to their associated risks with climate change, however China’s development finance institution (DFI) has been earmarked to potentially fund Khanyisa. The conflicting priorities in the IRP 2019 of a least-cost and balanced mix shows that Government can’t have both if it wants to build new coal projects, so is in effect subsidising the development of coal plants if these projects were to go ahead.
Climate finance can unlock renewable energy benefits Recent studies like LUT University’s ‘Pathway towards achieving 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050 for South Africa’ have already shown that a renewable energy focused mix would be less expensive, eliminate emissions, save water, and create more jobs in South Africa. The net benefits for the country are clear, but the energy transition requires the political support to make it a reality. South Africa has a well-established coal sector which continues to oppose the clean energy transition despite the net benefits for the country, suggesting that more work to get buy-in for the Just Transition is required to phase-out coal faster. Climate change financing solutions have attracted interest from DFIs and impact investors like the R200bn climate financing vehicle to assist Eskom with its growing debt under concessionary terms that the utility proceed with unbundling reforms and old coal plants be phased out faster to meet emission goals. Government has fortunately acknowledged that the IRP is a ‘living plan’ which will need to adapt to changing costs, technology advancements, and customer demand in the coming years. www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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Recent studies have already shown that a renewable energy focused mix would be less expensive, eliminate emissions, save water, and create more jobs in South Africa.
More supply shortages create opportunity South Africa began load shedding again in October (2019) due to a shortage of supply and outages at a number of Eskom plants, including the newly built Medupi coal plant and means the utility is still burning expensive diesel during peak periods to keep the lights on. Hopefully, this further incentivises the regulator to approve distributed generation projects with a pending license application quickly and unlock the market. The business case for distributed generation will also continue to improve with another rate increase request from Eskom. The market size for new distributed generation in South Africa ranges from 6-7GW in the next ten years, however a potential government Request for Information process to address the 3GW shortfall could take longer than simply allowing NERSA to approve pending and new license applications for projects over 1MW. The utility-scale market size is much larger and with the IRP 2019 finalised, there shouldn’t be any major hurdles preventing government from starting Round 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REI4P), which will still take at least a couple years to bring these projects online. While the IRP 2019 isn’t perfect, it is a positive sign that the electricity industry can begin moving forward again with a working roadmap.
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Good news for wind energy BY NTOMBIFUTHI NTULI, CEO OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION (SAWEA)
South Africa’s approved 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) gazetted on the 19th October 2019 has increased allocations for wind power. In addition to a substantial coal allocation, the plan includes additional capacity for 14 400MW wind, 2 500MW hydro, 6 000MW photovoltaic, 2 088MW storage and 3 000MW of gas power.
hilst some sectors may criticise the newly outlined energy mix as not being ambitious enough for renewables, the wind sector is happy with the allocation. In fact, with the bulk of the increased capacity coming from renewable sources, it is a promising sign for our country, as it faces pressure to reduce its carbon emissions and provide cost-effective power. It is worth noting that the expected decommissioning of approximately 24 100MW of coal power plants in the period beyond 2030, to 2050, has opened up the country’s resource plan, taking the opportunity to adopt a cleaner energy mix as the preparation work necessary to execute the retirement and replacement of these plants gets underway. The latest plan, which maps out the energy mix for the next ten years envisions the nation’s electricity production capacity rising considerably by 2030 and makes provision for the significant rollout of renewable energy and storage. Eskom has already commenced working on a utility scale battery storage, which allows a more diverse energy mix than what was previously envisaged. The Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, commented that “renewable energy combined with storage presents an opportunity to produce distributed power closer to where the demand is and to provide off-grid electricity to far-flung areas in South Africa”. We are particularly pleased that our input and comments that we provided earlier this year, regarding the Draft IRP 2018 has been heard by Government, in particular the importance of closing the procurement gap and smoothing out demand for wind energy in order to boost investor confidence and support the localisation efforts. Government has listened, which is heartening considering the positive impact that a smooth procurement will have on job creation within our borders.
At a time when South Africa is once again flagging under the weight of power outages, we see energy constraints as a clear symptom of Eskom fleet’s reduced energy availability factor and a reminder that the country needs to procure new generation capacity. The Government’s decommissioning plan for ageing coal power stations, as published as part of the 2019 IRP means that capacity will need to be replaced in order to avoid future load shedding. The added wind energy allocation in the 2019 IRP will reduce the cost of energy in South Africa, whilst improving competitiveness and helping to boost the economy and job creation, particularly through investments in the manufacturing sector. The wind industry views the commitment to 1.6GW per annum as a positive step, as this allocation will allow original equipment manufacturers and first-tier suppliers to commit to local manufacturing of certain components, which contributes directly to job creation. As long as the industry has a smooth procurement process, as outlined in the 2019 IRP’s annual allocations, we can expect higher levels of local content. The sectors that will most likely benefit immediately are steel and concrete, both needed for tower manufacturing and turbine foundations. Local players are also looking at the potential of manufacturing tower internals and the possibility of other wind turbine generator components. However, there is caution as if there is a repeat of the hiatus experienced between 2015 and 2018, when no new renewables investments were made after Eskom refused to sign power purchase agreements for renewables projects, there would be devastating impact. President Cyril Ramaphosa has clearly shown his support of the country’s move towards steadily reducing carbon emissions through a greater uptake of renewables, which signals a brighter, cleaner, future for South Africa.
The sectors that will most likely benefit immediately are steel and concrete, both needed for tower manufacturing and turbine foundations.
Photo by SAWEA
The 80MW Noupoort Wind Farm located in the Local Municipality of Umsobomvu in the Northern Cape achieved its Commercial Operations on 11 July 2016, on schedule and on budget, making it the first wind farm to successfully achieve operation as part of the third round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
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Decarbonising growth – challenges and pitfalls BY JON DUNCAN, HEAD OF RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT, OLD MUTUAL INVESTMENT GROUP
South Africa is a highly carbon-intensive economy; we’re one of the top 20 largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) and, on a per-unit-of-GDP basis, we rank well above the global average. It is important that these statistics are seen in the context of the global effort to decouple economic growth from fossil fuel use. The winners will be those countries, and companies, that can decarbonise their growth.
n this score South Africa’s participation in the global economic race comes with a handicap, one we can ill afford; especially considering our high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality. As a country we rely on coal to generate about 90 percent of our energy requirements and some 20 percent of all our liquid fuel requirements, meaning that Sasol and Eskom collectively account for around 50 percent of our annual GHG and some 85 percent of domestic coal consumption. However, simply turning these two entities off to address climate concerns is not a solution, certainly not in the short term, and especially when considering how important these companies are to the running of our economy as well as a source of employment. The Mineral Council South Africa reports that the coal industry employs some 82 000 people (down from a historical high of 120 000 in the 1980s). Eskom provides work for over 50 000 people in its primary coal fleet and Sasol, while being a global company, provides the bulk of its 31 000 jobs in South Africa. With unemployment levels sitting at 29 percent, any effort to decarbonise our economy needs to carefully consider potential jobs losses, as well as long-term national socio-economic development more broadly. From a purely financial perspective, Sasol is one the largest taxpayers in South Africa, contributing R39.5bn in taxes to Government in 2018. Coal miners contribute not only tax and mining royalties but are also an important source of foreign revenue. Mining in general is the largest contributor to South Africa’s foreign exchange earnings, with a 40 percent share. And the coal sector is the largest revenue generator within mining, outweighing the gold and platinum sectors. Notwithstanding this, the coal sector faces headwinds, both globally and locally. Already, coal demand has peaked globally, and the decline of coal-fired power generation is projected to be steeper than previously estimated. Aside
As a country we rely on coal to generate about 90 percent of our energy requirements and some 20 percent of all our liquid fuel requirements, meaning that Sasol and Eskom collectively account for around 50 percent of our annual GHG and some 85 percent of domestic coal consumption.
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from mounting public pressure against coal, a large part of the shift is being driven by our economics and the steeply falling price of alternative energy. The implications of these global dynamics are material for South Africa, especially if phasing out of coal is not well planned. An orderly retreat is always preferable. In the context of South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy, the implications of an orderly retreat are material not only for those directly employed in the coal value chain, but also for the Jon Duncan economy and the return prospects for South African savers. On the plus side, an increased role for renewables in the South African energy mix, (up to 60 percent) is seen as technically viable. With this comes the benefits of net new job creation and the potential for local supply chain development. So, while South Africa has the challenge of fossil fuel dependency, we have also been blessed with leading global solar and wind resources. Capturing these benefits while managing the socio-economic transition risks will require a coherent plan from Government, with broad support from civil society, labour and business. The current risks surrounding Eskom show us just how vulnerable we are to a collapsed energy system. Along with that, addressing climate change issues has never been more pertinent. What is clear is that through global concessionary climate funding, it is possible to both fix Eskom and to solve the transition to a low carbon economy. This presents South Africa with the unique opportunity to reset our longterm energy plans and drive perhaps the biggest industrialisation program our country has seen since the dawn of democracy. We require Government to take an intentional stand and work aggressively towards our Paris Accord commitments. As it stands our National Determined Contributions (the intended reductions in GHG emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) explicitly state the need for a just transition and acknowledge the declining role of coal in our economy. The inexorable energy transition is underway globally, South Africa Inc. would do well to work collectively in this endeavour.
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Industrial efficiency benefits and priorities BY CONSTANCE MOKHOANTLE, SENIOR MEDIA OFFICER, NCPC-SA
The National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) concluded its fourth biennial Industrial Efficiency Conference, bringing together representatives from both local and international partners from the industry and Government with CSIR and senior representatives from NCPC in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
he two-day conference focused on empowering businesses and policymakers to adopt and support a cleaner, more efficient model of doing business, while addressing the planet’s dire environmental and socio-economic challenges. Ndivhuho Raphulu, NCPC-SA director, emphasised that the collaboration between public and private sectors locally and internationally to address issues of industrial efficiency is critical. A big focus of our mandate is growing the pool of experts on the continent. Our training programme has grown to the extent where our experts are sought after to train other trainers worldwide. Chief director for green industries at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Gerhard Fourie, reflected on the humble beginnings
NCPC-SA Director Ndivhuho Raphulu addressing the opening of the NCPC-SA’s Industrial Efficiency Conference.
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of the NCPC-SA in 2002 when issues of environmental sustainability and especially the business case for such were very new. “The NCPC-SA had the foresight to start the discussions to mainstream environmental sustainability and responsibility into boardroom discussions. We are thankful for the vision, knowledge and expertise that have seen this entity take a leading role in establishing these concepts across the continent.” The conference was attended by the United Nations (UN) Industrial Development Organisation as well as the UN Environmental Agency. Sessions included green chemistry, industrial energy efficiency, industrial water efficiency, industrial symbiosis programme and the foundries section hosted by the national foundry technology network. View all the conference sessions here: www.ncpc.co.za
Prof. Adel A. Nofal, green chemistry professor of metal casting and former president of Central Metallurgical R&D Institute, Cairo, Egypt.
Gerhard Fourie, Chief Director of green industries and energy efficiency at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
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Snap shot of NCPC-SAâ€™s 4th Biennial Industrial Efficiency Conference Barry Platt and Akhona Mbebe showing delegates at the conference how to optimise a motors and fan system.
The expo raised awareness about the importance of consumer and customer purchasing decisions in driving the transition to a circular economy.
Fatimah Boltman, Constance Mokhoantle and Julie Wells, NCPC-SA communication and marketing team
Above and below: The conference sanctioned the meeting of minds for future collaboration.
A big focus of our mandate is growing the pool of experts on the continent. Our training programme has grown to the extent where our experts are sought after to train other trainers worldwide.
NCPC-SA energy management system implementation trainers and graduates celebrate at conference.
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Front: Julie Ntseke: Tiger Brands, Zubeida Zwavel: RECP expert and facilitator, Moses Motaung: SA Energy Services Companies Association and IEE expert and facilitator. Back: Dr Pradish Rampersadh: CEO South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions, Wynand van der Merwe: NCPC-SA skills development manager, Launch of Peer Recognition Committee.
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Working towards a Zero Waste South Africa: one step at a time BY KATE STUBBS, DIRECTOR FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING AT INTERWASTE
South Africans generate over 42 million cubic meters of municipal waste each year, with the vast majority of this waste being disposed of at landfill sites. In fact, according to Henry Roman, director of environmental services and technology at the Department of Science and Technology, South Africans are dumping as much as R17 billion worth of material at landfill sites across the country.
hen you consider this, and the fact that South Africa is likely to run out of landfill space by 2024, then you begin to understand the enormous amount of pressure for businesses and government, to create more sustainable developments to better manage the waste to landfill challenge.
How much are we recycling? According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, a significant amount of recyclable waste is still going to landfill. In fact, some sources even indicate that only about 34 percent of waste collected in South Africa is effectively recycled. This poses a serious threat on the country’s waste management resources as landfills are not designed to break down waste, only to store it. What happens when they reach capacity?
How much could we recycle? There is a real opportunity for South Africa to increase its recycling scope – especially if we consider more inclusive recycling and repurposing projects, which really engage our communities. South Africa has the potential to recycle more than 6.9 million tons each year – bringing the current 34 percent up to at least 65 percent. If we take that South Africa is aiming to reach a target of 20 percent of total waste being diverted from landfills by 2020, this means that sustainable innovations need to be sought by companies, to ensure they are not only compliant (from a waste perspective), but also to support the Government’s objectives of reaching these targets.
Where recycling isn’t possible In cases where recycling and reusing is not possible – we are seeing growth in destruction facilities as well as in the waste-to-energy space. In fact, waste-to-energy plants offer a unique opportunity to tackle two critical challenges; power generation and reduction of reliance on landfills. Waste innovation and recycling programmes that optimise generated waste into alternative sources for reuse, are critical to achieve the diversion of waste from landfill targets for the country. Today, there are stronger
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mandates and legislation in place, with both monetary and corporate social responsibility (CSR) incentives that allow companies to become actively involved in recycling initiatives and encourage changed behaviour among their employees as well as their supply chains.
The role of legislation Over the past several years, new legislation has been developed to support more environmentally friendly and sustainable waste management processes, including improvements in the disposal of waste-to-landfill and, more importantly, to encourage the waste industry to seek alternative www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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solutions. The Government has also put policies in place to support the implementation of the new legislation and identified strategies to divert certain waste from ending up at landfill sites. An example of this is the National Waste Management Strategy, launched by the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) to promote waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery.
Focus on Circular Economy
If we take that South Africa is aiming to reach a target of 20 percent of total waste being diverted from landfills by 2020, this means that sustainable innovations need to be sought by companies, to ensure they are not only compliant (from a waste perspective), but also to support the Government’s objectives of reaching these targets.
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The Circular Economy in the African context offers significant opportunities to truly deliver on more inclusive economic growth, which includes job opportunities and positive environmental practices that are needed for sustainable growth. As a reformative system, the Circular Economy is a model that aims to strip out all unnecessary waste materials, energy losses and related carbon emissions across supply chains and – through integration and innovation – promotes closing these gaps to allow materials, energy and resources to be ‘fed’ back into the cycle. The consensus is that the linear model of the past to ‘make-use-dispose’ must be done away with – and that a more sustainable eco-cycle will then be achieved through long-term design and planning, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling and upcycling. While adoption of this thinking is still in its infancy in Africa, there are success stories that can be seen in pockets, where, through innovation we are also seeing new business streams and even new industries come to the fore. For example, the drive to divert waste from landfill has directly resulted in waste disposers or management companies merging into reprocessing industries, with significant focus being placed on reuse, recycle and repurpose. This is causing manufacturers to rethink how they design their products as well as the type of resources they use to make their goods and products of today, that will (re)become the raw materials of tomorrow. Across industries, we are seeing a more concerted effort to find solutions that make active use of waste – building on the philosophy of reuse wherever possible. And, where reuse may not be possible, to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach to recycling and/or appropriate waste disposal. We need to instil a complete culture change and shift markets towards ‘giving back to the system’ in how we approach and treat resources versus waste, to avoid potential crises and ensure we build towards a resilient and sustainable future in Africa. Going forward, waste management can no longer be approached with a linear view – and we need to be thinking ahead, adopting an allencompassing view, with innovative and best practice for recycling and waste reform. Succeeding in this will take significant buy-in from Government, corporate South Africa and individual citizens – as every sphere of society has a shared interest in this endeavour for better and sustainable waste management.
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Africa’s potential to grow aviation biofuels By Arianna Baldo – Africa network manager for the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)
As the aviation industry looks to ensure its long-term sustainability and mitigate its impact on the climate, the question of decarbonising aviation fuels is becoming increasingly relevant. With an estimated four billion passengers taking flight in 2017 alone, air travel is expected to double in the next 30 years. This global industry’s volume of emissions is equal to Canada’s carbon footprint which is one of the top ten emitting countries in the world.
Photo by mrminibike from Pixabay
lternative aviation fuels – sometimes known as sustainable aviation fuels or biofuels – are low-carbon alternatives for the aviation industry. These non-petroleum-based drop-in aviation fuels are generally produced from bio-based feedstocks including waste, residues and end-of-life products – as well as fossil waste. Sub-Saharan Africa has the technical potential to contribute between 30% and 90% of projected long-term global alternative aviation fuel demand in the form of alternative aviation fuel sustainably produced from energy crops on approximately 84 million hectares of prime and good quality land and another 157 million hectares of moderately suitable land that are not needed for the production of food or feed, are not of high biodiversity value or strategic water source areas, and ultimately also at least moderately suitable for the production of highyielding energy crops under sustainable agricultural practices.
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The most promising feedstocks are perennial crops, which require less frequent and less intensive cultivation of soils when natural grassland or shrubland is converted for biofuel production. Potential feedstock candidates are miscanthus and jatropha (both currently not yet produced at economic scale in sub-Saharan Africa) and oil palm and sugarcane (traditional large-scale plantation crops in the region), which together could yield about 7 000 PJ of energy, or 165 million tons of aviation biofuel – while also achieving a minimum GHG emission saving of 60% relative to the fossil-fuel comparator when working on a 20-year accounting period. In addition to the potential from dedicated biofuel crops, crop residues from the cultivation of food and non-food crops (food, feed and industrial) could contribute about another 7-9% to biofuel production potential. However, their conversion to biofuels requires second-generation technologies. Also www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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Bioenergy These are all common claims made about biofuels and they make for alarming reading. But are they true? The answer, as is usually the case, is in shades of grey. Biofuels can have serious negative consequences. Equally, they can be made in such a way that has incredible positive climate impacts, protects forests and other ecosystems and ensures food security, land rights and more. There are broadly three concerns about the use of alternative fuels: social, environmental and climate impact – and to make a rational choice about the biofuel we need to ask the following questions: Photo by 123rf
• Does the production of this fuel take away from food production and increase food prices or reduce the availability of food? (No) • Are people being exploited in the production of this fuel? (No)
Miscanthus and Jatropha (right) are suitable crops for the production of alternative aviation fuels. worth noting is that the supply of crop residues will increase in the future, as food production will grow significantly. This is the result of a new report published by WWF South Africa and conducted in collaboration with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), which has found that there is a small, but not insignificant, potential for the production of alternative aviation fuels in sub-Saharan Africa in compliance with the robust sustainability requirements of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). These criteria exclude any crops and biomass residue which would result in negative environmental and social impacts, such as food insecurity, unsustainable use of scarce resources like water, land, the destruction of biodiversity and insufficient reduction of greenhouse gases.
Why is sustainability important for biofuels “They cause deforestation” “They increase food prices” “They don’t prevent climate change”
• Has this fuel been produced using material sourced from land where land rights have been respected and consent has been granted by land rights holders? (Yes) • Does the production of this fuel uplift the communities in which it occurs? (Yes) • Are ecosystems – including forests – and biodiversity negatively impacted by the production of the fuel? (No) • Is soil health maintained? (Yes) • Is surface and groundwater quality assured? (Yes) • Does the fuel production contribute to air pollution? (No) • Does this fuel ensure a meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reduction compared to a conventional one? (Yes) If the biofuel gets all those questions right, and can prove it via certification we can confidently say it is a truly sustainable fuel. The RSB has worked with organisations around the world – including NGOs, civil, society, governments, academia and fuel producers – to develop a standard that is considered the most credible and practical available. The RSB Standard is a tool that can be used by everyone involved in the production and use of biofuels (and any other biobased products) to confirm real environmental and social sustainability in every part of its journey from field and factory to tank.
The RSB’s 12 governing principles of sustainable biofuel production
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Stellenbosch farmer leading the way in
regenerative farming BY GWEN SPARKS
In a fast-paced society, what we eat, how it was made and where it originated from doesn’t often cross our busy minds. Over the years farming has evolved so much to keep up with the demands of modern day living, it’s resulted in the world’s food production facing a crisis. There is a massive disconnect from the natural world and most importantly the origin of our food source. But this is changing.
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In his journey from stockbroker to farmer, what started out as a way for Angus to live off the land to feed him and his family has ended up evolving into something much greater than he could ever have imagined. Growing up in a farming family he learnt from his father who owned a conventional cattle farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal. As a young boy he spent every school holiday barefoot, as he still does, eagerly helping his father and his Zulu farm workers carry out the daily farm duties. Years later and after meeting his wife, Mariota, Angus pursued a lucrative career in London at one of the world’s biggest banks, Goldman Sachs. But as many South Africans who move abroad and start a family can attest to, is the strong calling to return home to offer their kids the
Photos by Carmen Lorraine Photography
erched on a little hilltop just outside the university town of Stellenbosch is Farmer Angus, one of two exclusively grass-fed, pasture-reared cattle farms found in the Western Cape. The 126 hectares of rolling green pastures is testament to Angus McIntosh’s dedication to grass and microbe farming. Here you won’t find cows squashed together in feedlots eating GMO grain, or crowds of broiler chickens stuffed into tiny metal cages. No, farms like Farmer Angus practice a technique called regenerative agriculture, which values the life of the animals and the land they graze on. This form of artisanal livestock farming offers a protein source that is high in nutrition and free of any hormones, antibiotics or chemicals.
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chance to grow up close to nature under the African sun. So it was only a matter of time before Angus and his young family returned to settle on a 126-hectare farm overlooking Spier Wine Estate. The farm is named Ezibusisweni, meaning the place of blessings in Zulu.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma The family set out to build their first home, made entirely from clay. The plan was to create a home that could function entirely off the grid. At first he wanted to only farm the land as a way to provide his family with organic fruit and vegetables. However, after reading Michael Pollan’s, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he became inspired to start livestock farming and so in 2008, the Farmer Angus brand was born. They farm beef, pork, chicken and eggs. This was no easy feat though, with no formal training as a farmer Angus sought out the guidance of Christo Kok, a regenerative farmer, who mentored him for the first three years. Angus also devoted much of his time to studying permaculture. Instead of following the conventional route his father took, Angus chose to apply biodynamic and regenerative farming practices and principles. He is dedicated to reviving the way farming used to be, before the days of chemical fertilisers and herbicides like Glyphosate, antibiotics and GMO.
Transformation through regeneration Ten years ago, the soil at Ezibusisweni lacked carbon and had very little signs of having healthy microbes, all essential for growing pastures rich in nutrients and ideal for cattle to graze on. Since then him and his team have worked hard to restore the soil. They’ve planted 126 hectares of multispecies and 20 000 trees and shrubs into the shelterbelts that surround the pastures. The fruits of their labour can be seen bursting with colour in every direction. From bright purple flowers on the September Bush that attracts bees to the deep red crimson clover that fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. All the plants growing here serve to restore balance and regenerate the soil microbes. If more conventional farms began farming this way we’ll eventually see climate change reversing.
You are what you eat Farmer Angus meat is like no other and it has a lot to do with the way Angus raises his animals. They receive the best in terms of nutrition and lifestyle. The cows eat only grass and are moved to different grazing areas on the farm four times a day; the pigs every four days; the broiler chickens every day; and the egg mobiles that house the laying hens, every day. By constantly moving them it not only prevents overgrazing but also over-fertilisation. Because the manure and urine from the animals is the only fertiliser Angus uses on his pastures, it’s essential it doesn’t become over-saturated. As an experiment, vegetables were also planted behind the pigs in areas they recently grazed. The pigs prepare the land through fertilisation and all that’s left to do is to plant the vegetable seeds and water. Ten different summer squashes as well as some maize, sweet potatoes and sunflowers have all been planted with great success.
This is what healthy soil looks like.
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For meat-eaters, Farmer Angus is a godsend. None of his meat contains gluten, MSG, GMO, nitrites, nitrates, anti-biotics or hormones. You can be sure you are eating a product that is of the earth in its most natural and nutritious state. In conclusion and as Angus says: “Regenerative artisanal farming is the only future of agriculture as it is the only form of agriculture that provides nourishing food, heals the earth and provides dignified employment.” For more information go to www.farmerangus.co.za
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Steady deterioration of the Vaal River BY DR ANTHONY TURTON, Environmental Advisor, CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF FREE STATE
The Vaal River system has been in the news of late, most notably due to the deployment of the South African National Defence Force, on instruction from the Government, to reinstate the functioning of the sewage works at Sebokeng. Negative media coverage about the sewage spill impacted the Presidency’s roadshow, which was aimed at wooing foreign investors back into South Africa who asked questions about the country’s water security.
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Photo by Geoff Harrison
e now know that the deployment was a failure because the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been unable to restore full functionality of the entire sewage reticulation system that has over 3 000km of pipes and more than 40 pump stations and three wastewater works. The mission given to the SANDF is simply impossible for any military formation, despite the hundreds of millions of rand spent on the attempt. How will this impact the ‘new normal’; the economy, in general, and farmers, in particular? The ‘new normal’ can best be defined with reference to another known water system that has defied fixing – the Hartbeespoort Dam. This dam is highly enriched with nutrients, most notably phosphate and nitrate, which have been manifesting for decades as a technical condition known as eutrophication. The balance between the nutrient load and the biomass it can sustain is known as the trophic status. Low nutrient loads result in clear water because it cannot sustain microscopic plants like algae. This is known as an oligotrophic system. High nutrient loads have the opposite effect and are characterised by massive surface blooms of algae and limited available oxygen and light penetration. These are known as hypertrophic systems, of which Hartbeespoort Dam is an example where hypersum forms in thick mats that can resist a brick thrown at it. We know from the Hartbeespoort case that once a system becomes hypertrophic, it’s impossible to flip back into an oligotrophic system, with the science and technology that is currently available. We can therefore accept that the transition from an oligotrophic to a hypertrophic status is more-or-less permanent, unless new science and technology is developed. We also know that irrigation from such systems becomes increasingly problematic for a variety of reasons. The irrigation lines and nozzles become blocked with algae, but in certain cases where blue-green algae are present, the water also becomes toxic to animals and potentially to humans. The ‘new normal’ in the Vaal River system can thus be understood as an expansion of the Hartbeespoort Dam issue and it impacts a larger geographic footprint that affects more people and a larger slice of the national economy. From the National Water Resource Strategy, we know that the Vaal River is a sub-system of the Orange River, which collectively
The eutrophication of the river is clearly evident. sustains around 45 percent of the entire population and 65 percent of the national economy. The situation has national security implications because the deteriorating water quality of the Vaal River, and subsequently the Orange River, poses an existential threat to the wellbeing of almost half the citizens and two thirds of the national economy. This is the reason why the military was deployed, but their inability to deliver on their mission to restore the functional integrity of the sewage systems of Emfuleni is cause for great concern. www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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Water The Department of Water launched an internal project in 2006 known as the Vaal Salinity Study. It developed a comprehensive dataset about the entire system. The major finding was that the water quality of the Vaal River is deteriorating and becoming more saline. The cause of this was threefold: increasing flow of acidic mine water high in sulphate salts; deteriorating quality of sewage effluent being discharged into the system; and a reduction in volume relative to population growth and demand from the economy. The recommendations focused on these three risks. Salinity levels were to be reduced by desalination plants at strategic points where acidic mine water entered the system. Sewage plants were to be upgraded to improve the quality of effluent being discharged into the river. Volumes were to be increased to dilute the pollution loads by completing Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (Polihali Dam) by 2020. None of these interventions have happened, so the Department has ignored the recommendations made by its own technical experts. Economic conditions have subsequently deteriorated, so the fiscus is unable to fund the upgrades needed.
Vaal system water balance in terms of the mitigation component of the 2006 Salinity Study showing the improvement of system yield as desalination of acid mine drainage and improvement to sewage return flows reduced the need for dilution. (Source: DWA AMD Study, 2012).
The ‘new normal’ for the Vaal is a reality that industrial, agricultural and domestic users of water will have to deal with. This means the loss of real estate value where sewage flows are unabated; growing costs for water treatment; loss of markets for agricultural produce potentially contaminated by the toxins associated with blue-green algae; and the growing levels of unemployment as the national economy becomes fundamentally water-constrained.
The ‘new normal’ for the Vaal is therefore a reality that industrial, agricultural and domestic users of water will have to deal with. This means the loss of real estate value where sewage flows are unabated; growing costs for water treatment; loss of markets for agricultural produce potentially contaminated by the toxins associated with blue-green algae; and the growing levels of unemployment as the national economy becomes fundamentally water-constrained. An initiative has been launched from the Presidency to address job creation and water has been placed at the core. This is known as the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) that will encourage private capital and modern technology to be deployed through public-private partnerships in strategic projects capable of unlocking the multipliers inherent to a water-enabled economy. Part of this is the creation of a Business Water Chamber as an institution responsible for nurturing these partnerships, and the call for the creation of an Independent Water Regulator to restore confidence and good governance in the sector.
The DWA Vaal Salinity Study found that 34 percent of the salt entering the system came from the mine void (13 percent) and sewage return flows (21 percent). A further 39 percent originated from diffuse sources including mine tailings dams. The study noted that although the volumetric contribution of water from mining was the lowest, the actual contribution in terms of salt concentration is the highest. The conclusion to this study was that two actions had to take place as a matter of urgency: dilution (to minimise the impact) and mitigation (to remove salts at their point of origin). Dilution means that water from the Lesotho Highlands and Sterkfontein Dam must be used to flush salts out, which in turn increases the risk from the loss of strategic storage in the system.
The Vaal Water Management Area showing the gauging stations and salinity distributed along the entire reach of the river. (Source: DWA Vaal Salinity Study, 2006). www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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The future. Reimagined. One of the University of Johannesburg’s objectives is to lead the world’s research and development on cutting-edge nanomaterial fabrication technology. The University’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment is looking forward to their new nanofabrication facility that will house world-class Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) reactors. The facility will transform the South African economy while also ensuring world-class learning opportunities are on offer.
reen Economy Journal speaks to Professor Daniel Mashao, Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg.
What is your role as the Executive Dean? I give strategic direction on where the Faculty is going. We are a university that wants to lead and that wants to understand the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment is a key player in that dream, in that formulation of a vision; of where our country will be going. So, my role right now is to manage the Faculty’s operations and to ensure that we lead in this space.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? I have had the privilege of speaking at various conferences on the issue of what the Fourth Industrial Revolution is. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a fusion of technologies that produces new innovative values. It is a fusion of new technologies, new business models and new values.
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Photo by Pexels
You can build the strongest materials that are thinner than a needle. You can build materials that can be used to clean water, to recycle water and so on, and so forth.
You might be aware of Googleâ€™s self-driving cars? At UJ, we are looking at those kinds of technologies that allow machines, robots, to make decisions by themselves. Students at UJ are exposed to these technologies as well as to some of the top professors in the world. These professors are in South Africa to teach our students, as part of our collaborations with universities in China and USA.
What about the research outputs?
Currently, when most people think of technology, they think of digital technology, but there are other technologies, such as biological technologies, physical technologies, emotional technologies or social technologies. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, these technologies merge, and they produce amazing things, for instance, there are companies that can yield value, without having any resources. Uber is a company that offers the largest taxi business in the world yet doesnâ€™t own a taxi. Google is a technology that offers content, without producing the content itself. These companies have been able to maximise resources that are created in cyber space technology. So, when you are looking at Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), you are looking at a fusion of technologies and innovative business models. When these entities come together, they create what you call 4IR.
What is your goal for the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment? Part of our goal as the University of Johannesburg and as the Faculty is to develop what we call the finest engineers and technologists because the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is a comprehensive university that trains engineering scientists and technologists. Our vision is to develop these fine engineers and technologists to lead in the space of the 4IR. In the world, we have had many industrial revolutions, but this revolution here is important. As a country, we are struggling with unemployment, we are struggling with poverty, and we are struggling with inequalities. We can use 4IR to remedy some of these challenges.
How do you conscientise your students about 4IR in their learning? Increasingly, we teach with the aid of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). We are also introducing e-learning, virtual learning and online learning as part of our course offerings. In addition to that, we are a university seeking to lead in Artificial Intelligence (AI) because we see AI as a solution to many problems. www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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Part of the goal for the University of Johannesburg is to be a global university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. What we mean by that, is as a university, we want to be globally competitive. We want to be a global player and to be counted internationally. Part of our measures of arriving there is through research outputs. We ensure that we produce research outputs. At the university, about 25 percent of the conference papers and general papers that the university produces are produced from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
Where are you going as a university? In the short term, we are planning to create some new facilities, for example, at the University of Johannesburg, we are going to have the first, the only, African Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Centre. We are going to be able to create materials at an atomic level. Why would you want to that? When you do that, you find very interesting materials that you can build. You can build the strongest materials that are thinner than a needle. You can build materials that can be used to clean water, to recycle water and so on, and so forth. The university is looking forward to a great time ahead. All our research that we do is because of our students, who together with us, seek to move the boundaries of knowledge. What is known today; there is a lot more to be known, and together with our students, who are hardworking, we will be able to achieve anything.
Professor Daniel Mashao studied at a South African University before setting out to complete his PhD, at Brown University in the States. He majored in Artificial Intelligence. Professor Mashao returned to South Africa in 1997 and joined the University of Johannesburg in 2018 as Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
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The smarter mobility revolution is off to a good start BY GENERATION.E
The first-ever Electric Vehicle Road Trip (EVRT) Africa was a resounding success, not only in raising awareness around smarter mobility, but also in inspiring the public and other stakeholders to join the smarter mobility revolution.
pearheaded by Generation.e, the EVRT Africa powered by ACDC Dynamics and in partnership with the Department of Transport and Government of Gauteng, proved it was possible to drive electric vehicles (EVs) across the length of the country. It also shone an experiential light on where the immediate challenges lie, as well as providing pointers on the importance of teamwork, partnerships and regulatory support. Generation.e CEO, Ben Pullen, said he could not be happier and that following the inaugural road trip, the next step is to maintain the momentum of the smarter mobility revolution. “We have learnt that more partnerships are vital, that funding is desperately needed to turn innovation into a viable industry and that the tax environment needs to become more conducive.” Echoing this sentiment, Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, said that funding at all levels – internationally, nationally and locally – must be mobilised, to support electric vehicles. “It is also vital that transport investments are appropriately screened according to specific sustainability criteria to ensure that sufficient resources are channelled towards low carbon transport. This would ensure that adequate funding is made available for new transport technologies, capacity building, operations and infrastructure.” The three vehicle brands that took part in the EVRT Africa – BMW, Jaguar and Nissan – are also continuing to drive the conversation forward. Brian Hastie, Jaguar Land Rover Retailer network development director, responsible for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa says incentives would go a long way to realising mass uptake of electric vehicles. “Currently the adoption of EVs is significantly hampered by higher import duties compared to a ‘normal’ internal combustion engine car, which impacts the selling price,” he said, adding that in markets where there are incentives beyond price parity with internal combustion vehicles, there has been meaningful uptake of electric vehicles.
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Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, agrees that the current tax environment is an obstacle to the mass uptake of electric vehicles. “We have a long journey ahead of us. We cannot hide from the realities of limited infrastructure, slow uptake of EV offerings, and the geographic, cultural and political roadblocks the mobility revolution faces in South Africa.” Opinion is that it is almost impossible to grow the electric vehicle market in South Africa when these vehicles are taxed as luxury items. Clean mobility should not to be a luxury. There is a 25 percent tariff on an electric car, as opposed to that of 18 percent for an internal combustion engine car. Wonga Mesatywa, corporate affairs director for Nissan South Africa, said that in countries where EV uptake has been successful, there has been significant government support in the form of infrastructure, special tariffs and incentives to manage power usage and costs. He added that incentives to help manufacturers offset the more expensive cost of this new technology or invest more in the supporting charging infrastructure are also needed.
There are immense possibilities for the downstream industry with the business sector investing in home chargers, services and products associated with the industry.
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TRANSPORT “It will become imperative for manufacturers to focus more on electric vehicles and other forms of advanced propulsion if they want to continue building vehicles for the export market,” commented Mesatywa, adding that Nissan, via the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, maintain engagement with government and other stakeholders for the advancement of electric mobility in South Africa. There are immense possibilities for the downstream industry with the business sector investing in home chargers, services and products associated with the industry. While standardisation of the electric vehicle industry is required to support an easy customer experience, the growth of the EV eco-system and inevitable entrepreneurial opportunities should be left to business to develop on a supply and demand basis. Opportunities and job prospects will flourish together with the proliferation of electric vehicles. The UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) joined Generation.e on the road trip to raise awareness around the possibilities of electric mobility in fighting and beating air pollution. The support from UNEP and all stakeholders, and the widespread excitement around the potential for smarter mobility’s positive impact on the environment, was inspiring. However, the future of emobility hinges on government, the private sector and all stakeholders continuing to work together.
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We have learnt that more partnerships are vital, that funding is desperately needed to turn innovation into a viable industry and that the tax environment needs to become more conducive.”
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Net Zero warehousing offers big savings BY THE GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA (GBCSA)
The case for sunlight is bright The Equites Property Fund is reusing the energy collected through solar panelling on one warehouse at Lord’s View Industrial Park to power it and their three neighbouring buildings. “Solar power generation works well with typical day-time operations as these coincide with sunlight availability, perfect for logistics hubs,” explains CFO Bram Goossens. “Equites has also incorporated the IMF’s EDGE certification into all its new developments, which measures green buildings against a baseline in terms of embedded carbon, energy and water. With a proper design process achieving a GBCSA Africa Net Zero certification is achievable. This is a significant drawcard for our blue-chip tenants,” he says. “Not only do
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Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels
arehousing lends itself to a Net Zero certification. Typically, there is plenty of roof space for solar PV, the electrical load is low as it is mostly just required for lighting. Plus, this load is further suppressed if you get your natural lighting design done right,” explains Francois Retief, who runs green building consultancy, Sow&Reap. Growthpoint, assisted by Retief, secured a South African and Green Building Council South Africa first with a Net Zero carbon rating for an industrial building in Greenfield Industrial Park. It was designed and operated to generate as much renewable energy in a year as it consumed. Insulating the warehouse space properly is a typical passive design quality that makes it comfortable for people to work and store products without heating or cooling the warehouse space itself. From a base building perspective, you have low lighting, heating and cooling requirements, and any offices inside can be designed to have a low demand. These conditions all contribute to a good case for solar electricity generation. For Greenfield, the sustainability journey started on the architects’ drawing board. After taking full advantage of natural lighting, only minimal additional lighting was required, and these have motion sensors to dim and switch them off automatically if there is no activity. The investment required to install enough solar to meet all the site’s energy needs is costly, so reducing the required load through design is always the first step.
Warehousing and logistics centres know how to take a load off their utility bills. They take their natural large rectilinear shape and maximise the benefits of having broad flat surfaces exposed to Africa’s baking sunlight.
they benefit from no, or low electricity fees, they don’t have load shedding. Our mini grid is backed up by diesel generators to supply the required voltage so the photovoltaic plant continues to operate during power outages. The generators end up running at minimal load as their function is to enable the solar to continue doing the heavy lifting.” While the mini grid is a significant investment the money will be recouped over time.
From wasted to maximised If recycling is defined as converting waste into reusable material, then putting otherwise-wasted sunlight energy back into the grid is just that. Spear REIT runs several warehouse buildings and are planning for a time when the City of Cape Town will allow their Western Cape properties to not only transfer extra solar-generated energy from one property to another, but also feed back into the grid. “Once there is a system in place where we can both do this and be credited, we will create an asset class through Net Positive facilities,” explains CEO Quintin Rossi. “Fifty-two percent of Spear REIT’s lettable space is industrial, with logistics uses as the bulk of it. While logistics tenants have low power demand, they still face a 13-14 percent annualised increase each year, and we have to find ways to mitigate this.” The solution lies in solar PV that has a payback period of three to four years, even if it only generates 30-40 percent of required power, this saving can be offered to tenants in terms of lower percentage increases, on this proportion, of their electricity usage given the self-generation versus that of the national power utility or local authority. Spear REIT’s Mega Park will soon have the solar capacity to generate one mega-watt of power, the maximum amount a single site can generate before current legislation requires National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) licencing, and the associated fees. On-selling electricity has the potential to give high returns. In commercial terms, an investment in solar gives better returns than the building itself. Even if the owner doesn’t have capital available for solar, landlords can look at lease models whereby solar companies lease your roof space to install the solar and sell you the electricity generated at a favourable rate. www.alive2green.com/publications/green-economy-journal/
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