The Star Early Edition
No flies on these 11 inventors
Cleantech finalists impress
WATER-saving taps, fly larvae that turn organic waste into animal food, and plastic car parts made from agricultural waste are among the inventions of entrepreneurs who have reached the final round in the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in SA (GCIP-SA).
The 11 finalists were chosen for their clean-technology innovations which provide solutions to serious environmental challenges. The categories include energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste beneficiation, water efficiency, and green buildings and green transportation.
The finalists were selected by three provincial panels of independent judges from a pool of 22 semi-finalists from across the country.
“The selection of the top performers for 2017 was based on key business aspects such as product/market fit, business model, financing strategy, management team and sustainability,” said GCIP-SA national project manager Gerswynn McKuur.
Part of a global initiative, the GCIP-SA is a competition-based business accelerator offering participants extensive training and mentoring to help them get their products investment-ready, and connect them to networks of local and international peers as well as potential partners and funders.
The winners and the two runners-up have also been selected by the judges, and they will be announced at a gala event on November 3, with Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor as the keynote speaker.
The winner will receive R120 000 and an all-expensespaid trip to the Cleantech Open Global Forum in California to compete against the winners of other GCIP programmes from across the globe. The two runners-up will each receive R60 000.
Awards will also be given to the most promising women and youth teams, and for the innovation with the largest social impact. The 11 finalists are: Stephanie Pons (Beautiful-U) with the TouchTap, a special valve designed to control water flow from any tap.
Albin Baecker came up with Biotrans Pole Sleeves, a flexible, impenetrable sleeve that covers the bottom of wooden poles, protecting the wood from decaying and increasing the lifespan of the poles.
Euodia Naanyane-Bouwer (Gracious Nubian), who developed washable, re-usable and biodegradable sanitary pads.
David John Price (Green Iron Tech) developed an iron-bearing material conversion technology, an ecofriendly, low-cost way of turning discarded iron bearings into a sellable product.
George Oliver (IceEnergy), with a thermal battery which efficiently stores energy in the form of latent heat in ice.
Bandile Dlabantu (Khepri Bioscience), with Mobile Fly Farms, which use black soldier fly larvae to convert organic waste into animal feed. This technology is aimed at emerging farmers.
Marius van der Merwe (NewCarbon), who produces biochar to feed poultry or sheep. Biochar reduces carbon emissions by using biomass, and improves the health of poultry and livestock.
Sara Andreotti’s Sharksafe barrier is an eco-friendly physical barrier which protects beachgoers from sharks without harming the shark and other sea animals.
Linda Linganiso (University of Zululand) developed a process that uses agricultural waste to make plastic car parts.
Clement Mokoenene’s vehicle energy harvesting system uses a special road overlay to harvest pressure as vehicles drive over it, to generate renewable energy.
Pontsho Moletsane (Yellow Beast) developed Nosets, an automated irrigation system which enhances the efficiency of the irrigation of shallow-root agricultural crops.
The GCIP-SA is part of a global initiative that aims to address pressing energy, environmental and economic challenges through promoting clean technology innovation and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups.
The GCIP-SA is implemented by the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) with funding by the Global Environment Facility.
In South Africa, Unido has partnered with the Technology Innovation Agency as the execution and hosting institution for the GCIP, while the US-based Cleantech Open serves as the main knowledge partner in the programme. See the finalists at http://southafrica.cleantechopen.org/finalists-2017/