Students train in Namibia and Germany
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Students train in Namibia and Germany

Tintswalo Mabuza

The Vaal University of Technology is proudly managing the Energy and Resource Efficiency Advancements Project under the Skills for Green Jobs Initiative.

This project started in February 2016 whereby VUT committed to build the new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Dual Fuel technological capabilities within the VUT Technology Station. This would be based on the existing institutional competence through fully utilising the staff, equipment and organisational structures both within the Technology Station and the University.

Initial training was provided by Prof Dr.-Ing. Lars Kühl from EOS – the Institute for Energy-Optimised Systems at Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Germany. The training focused on equipping the staff and interns on system modelling and simulations’ know-how to optimise the energy consumption in buildings.  An opportunity then arose for participating students to gain practical exposure in Germany for three weeks.

Prior to this trip, it was suggested that the students go and see CHP technology at work and how it is set up in the industry.

VUT industry partner, Pegasus Engineered Green Mobility, arranged for the three students to spend time at a biogas-powered CHP plant, operated by CAE Namibia, at the Gammams Waste Water Treatment Works at the municipality of Windhoek.

This opportunity offered the students invaluable exposure to an operational CHP plant which runs 24/7. They also gained practical insight into the operation of a dedicated biogas engine, the magnitude of waste energy that is available from the system and how the energy is applied in the biogas production facility.

Pegasus partner, Mr Lovell Emslie and Mr Andre Brink from CAE SA, provided the students with support while they were in Namibia and prepared them for the technical activities they participated in.

Part of the site of the biogas-powered CHP plant that is operated by CAE Namibia at the Gammams Waste Water Treatment Plant in Windhoek.

The students were then ready to receive additional CHP and TRNSYS software simulation training in Germany. Upon their arrival, the students received a short induction from Frank Waeltring, a Mesopartner delegate. The students’ activities included:

  1. Visits to companies, institutions and local government that are innovatively using CHP and Dual Fuel technologies to address and optimise their energy demands;
  2. The attendance of lectures in close collaboration with Prof Dr.-Ing.Kühl at Ostfalia’s Faculty of Supply Engineering;
  3. Practical exposure in their fields of study in a German company using CHP and Dual Fuel technologies, in close collaboration with Prof Dr.-Ing.Kühl; and
  4. Some social and recreational activities.

VUT S4GJ students with their German mentors. From left; Prof Dr.-Ing. Lars Kühl (Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences), Mr Kabelo Mamadisa, Ms Vhukhudo Matidza, Mr Hanyani Makhuvele and Mr Frank Waeltring (Mesopartner).

The students have acquired invaluable knowledge and expertise throughout this project, and have affirmed with confidence that this project has inspired them to further their studies in the fields of Renewable Energy and Energy Optimisation.

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