Sasol looks to the sun for power grid
THE world’s leader in making motor fuel from coal, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by capturing its emissions, producing solar power and making its plants more efficient.
Henri Loubser, project director at the company’s New Energy unit, said a public-private partnership between Sasol, other energy firms and a South African university would start producing thin film solar modules within 2.5 years.
“We are still speaking twoand-a-half years before the facility can realistically be operational,” Loubser told journalists yesterday.
A South African team of scientists invented the design for the solar panels, which consist of micro-thin metallic film – only five microns thick – that convert light into energy at a fraction of the cost of conventional panels.
The Thin Film Solar Technology (TFST) joint venture will build a power plant to produce 40 MW using the film, Loubser said.
Sasol, ranked second after power utility Eskom, the country’s top polluter, reported total carbon emissions in South Africa for the financial year to end-June of 62 million tons.
The utility, criticised by environmentalists for doing little to streamline its operations towards a carbon-free economy, said it had set a target to reduce its emissions intensity by 15 percent across its operations by 2020 from a 2005 baseline.
It also plans to make new coal-to-liquids ( CTL) plants more efficient by reducing emissions of those built before 2020 by 20 percent and those built before 2030 by 30 percent.
Loubser said producing energy from solar sources, of which there is an abundance in South Africa, will be a focus for the company.
Sasol plans to make a choice of which type of concentrated solar power technology it will pursue by next June, Loubser said. – Reuters