The Environmental & Process Systems Engineering research group takes pleasure in hosting two PhD proposals on Thursday 25 November, 13h00-14h00, Chemical Engineering Seminar room.
13h00: Mr Linus Naik: Technology Deployment for Sustainable Urban Development: A Focus on Biogas as an Integrative Technology.
Linus' proposed PhD research continues E&PSE's tradition of trying to make environmental technology solutions from elsewhere work for development in our context, notably Christian Nissing's PhD (2007) that re-defined the concept of energisation to be useful in the context of the fast developing cities of the global South. He proposed an economic model, and tools for the integration of such energisation into planning processes, that have yet to be tested. Decentralised biogas installations represent a technological intervention that fits well into Nissing’s economic model and that is principally ready to deploy, but needs local knowledge support systems so as to safeguard operational stability and sufficient productivity to justify investments.
Linus will therefore propose to:
Develop case studies for deployment of biogas technology that take Nissing’s economic model from abstract theory to comprehensible possibilities, and allow for the testing and refinement of the associated planning tools for integration of energisation into local energy planning.
Develop approaches to and examples of appropriate knowledge support systems for small-scale biogas systems deployed in African urban settings.
Advance the understanding of operational stability and productivity of small-scale biogas digesters.
13h30: Ms Rethabile Melamu: Waste-based bioenergy - Beyond assessments of potential into implementation
Thabi starts out from the observation that numerous studies estimating the bio-energy generation potential have been carried out in Africa and South Africa. Despite the repeatedly reported immense potential, very few projects have been implemented. Regarding bio-energy from energy crops, sourced largely from agriculture, Africa is still waiting for its green revolution. Previous studies have established that bio-energy from waste materials is cheaper (Amigun, 2008), greener (Champagne, 2007) and could be socially more meaningful (Nissing & von Blottnitz, 2010). A technology specific innovation systems approach can explain the recent success of the German biogas industry; but this pivotal understanding of innovation systems to move beyond mere estimations of potential to step up implementation of bio-energy projects has not yet been explored nor exploited in Africa.
Thabi will therefore propose to study anaerobic digestion as an energy conversion technology for waste biomass in the South African context, so as to i) explore the utility of an innovation systems approach to unlock the estimated waste-based bio-energy potential in South Africa, and ii) experiment with aspects of the system innovation approach to stimulate, initiate and observe steps towards implementation.