Feb 06, 2009
Engineering|Africa|Gas|Mining|Nuclear|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Solar|Sustainable|System|Africa|Energy|Solutions|University Of Cape Town|Power
© Reuse this
Modise: South African scientists are playing a role in what is probably the greatest, biggest and most expensive scientific experiment on earth. Tell us a bit more about that.
Creamer: We are talking about the large Hadron collider. This is being built beneath the boarders of France and Switzerland and is costing $9-billion plus.
The good news is that South Africans are also going to be involved in this massive experiment. It is the greatest biggest most expensive scientific experiment. It is the biggest physics experiment going on in the world and it wants to solve some of the mysteries of the world.
We are talking about them analysing whether there are just the dimensions of length, breadth, height and time or whether there is some more to it. They will also look at the very particles that make up everything and anything in the world and seeing whether it goes beyond the neutrons, protons and electrons.
Of course, they already know it goes beyond the protons and neutrons and what they will be doing with this massive big collider, a mighty machine, they will be accelerating protons and allowing them to crash into one another and then they will observe what happens when these collisions take place.
When they do collide, they generate a heat 100 000 time greater then the heat in heart of the sun. So, you can imagine how much cooling needs to be done in this massive experiment. The good news is that South Africans will be playing a role.
The University of Johannesburg will be taking part in one of the segments known as Atlas of this big experiment. Then, the University of Cape Town will also be taking part in another segment known as Alice.
They can do this because of massive grid computings where tens of thousands of computers are interlinked and instantaneously they can get data out of these.
It is almost like a web robot that goes in and finds data and analyses it for the scientists. The hope is that we will solve some of the big mysteries of the world with this experiment. It is put together by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, but it is better know by its French acronym, Cern.
Modise: When is this taking place, I know that it was postponed some time last year.
Creamer: They had a hitch last year, and it will have to wait for the summer, because they need so much electricity that they can’t actually tap into that electricity. So when the European summer begins, this will begin.
Modise: Coming back home, Johannesburg has been selected as the venue for what will be one of the world’s biggest new-energy get-togethers of 2009.
Creamer: That’s right. The International Solar Energy Society has selected Johannesburg as the venue for the World Congress 2009 in solar energy and fittingly so, because we have got a lot of sunshine. We have also got the technology.
We know that Vivian Alberts of Johannesburg University has been studying. He has come up with some very good solutions to bring down the costs. We know that the Europeans are helping to finance this thin-film solar panel factory that is going up in Paarl.
So, renewable energy very much in the news and Johannesburg fittingly selected for what is called the Solar World Congress 2009, which will deal with renewable energy, shaping our future, and looking particularly at sustainable development for rural and poor communities in Africa and how to get the “sleeping giant,” Africa involved.
This will take place from October 11 to October 14 in Johannesburg and submissions of abstracts need to be in already by February 28.
Modise: Of course, talking about renewable energy, the Danish government are also a bit involved here in South Africa, giving the country R60-million for renewable energy projects.
Creamer: The Danish government coming in. They are an example of how to use renewable energy; 27% of the energy that goes into their grid is renewable, most of it from wind power. They have come to see our Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica.
They have chatted to her and offered their help, but they also put their money where their mouth is by giving us R60-million for projects. They said that it is not only for wind, South Africa can use this money for all projects that relate to renewable energy even if it is harnessing the gas that comes out of rubbish dumps.
Now, the game is on, because we see our own regulator sitting as we speak to try and formulate what the feed-in tariffs are, the price that will be paid for this renewable energy that comes into the system. We know the way the feed-in tariffs were designed in both Denmark and Germany resulted in a surge of activity around renewable energy, Germany getting about 14% of its energy from renewable sources.
As I said, Denmark doing even better. So, a lot is going to depend on the outcome on March 9, when our regulators decide what the feed-in tariff is going to be.
Modise: Thanks very much for sharing with us those exiting stories, especially on the energy front. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he’ll be back with us at the same time next week.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Updated 3 minutes ago The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday called on the National Treasury to investigate the noncompliance of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act and its local content regulation as part of its list of demands ahead of its...
Updated 7 minutes ago An economic-impact assessment undertaken by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) has laid bare the alarming potential knock-on effects of proposed changes to legislation governing the foreign ownership of private security firms in South Africa,...
Updated 11 minutes ago Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore on Tuesday released a funding fact sheet that showed enhanced liquidity, a plethora of undrawn credit facilities and a business that is pumping free cash. Giving chapter and verse of its financing arrangements, the...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 5 hours ago Black-owned investment holding company Sphere Holdings plans to raise a further R1-billion in the coming months in support of its strategy to become a leading black industrial enterprise, which could ultimately seek a listing on the JSE.
Energy analyst and EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland warned recently against excessive optimism regarding timescales for the proposed construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in South Africa. He was speaking at a Nuclear Roundtable in Johannesburg. “I think we...
Malawi’s Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is inviting eligible bidders to prequalify for the board’s efficiency improvement works, which will be implemented as part of the E24-million Lilongwe Water Resources Efficiency Programme. LWB CEO Alfonso Chikuni explains that...
CROATIA, AN EU MEMBER BUT NOT A TDCA MEMBER On July 1, 2013, Croatia officially became the twenty-eighth member of the European Union (EU). Despite Croatia’s accession into the EU, it is yet to become party to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA)...
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced that its new Inundu airborne electronics testing, evaluation and training pod had made its first test flight on September 10. The successful flight was undertaken from Lanseria International...