Chair in clean energy systems launched at Wits

December 12th, 2011, Published in Articles: Energize

The Alstom Chair in Clean Energy Systems Technology (ACCEST) was inaugurated on 1 December 2011at the University of the Witwatersrand, through a partnership, which will see Alstom investing over R17- million in various projects at the University between 2009 and 2016. The Chair will address the technology and the system of electricity generation and transmission of South Africa, recognising the need for growth and environmental sustainability.

Eleven topics have been defined grouped into three themes: Distributed electricity integration for isolated areas, wave energy electrical technologies and innovative sulphur removal adapted to South Africa, paving the way for other clean power technologies including carbon capture technologies. The students undertaking PhDs and MSc programs will have the opportunity to select projects from the topics defined. As the program of the Chair goes forward the topics can evolve organically.

The Chair will contribute to the development of the next generation of clean energy engineers. These engineers will make the best use of Africa’s energy resources, design and operate clean energy systems, integrate and optimise different energy sources including renewable energy, and provide the critical knowledge relevant to South Africa.

According to a 2010 report by the Engineering Council of South Africa, “the international benchmark of an average population per engineer shows that South Africa lags behind other developing countries. In South Africa, one engineer services 3166 people, compared to Brazil’s 227 and Malaysia’s 543 per engineer.” These figures severely constrain the ambition of the country as it participates in the global knowledge economy and prepares to develop new systems for our green economy.

Contact Buhle Zuma, Wits University, Tel 011 717-1018,