Nov 07, 2008
© Reuse this
Makwetla: South Africa, India and Brazil have agreed to collaborate on the development of renewable energy technology. Tell us a bit more about that.
Creamer: South Africa, India and Brazil working together to try and get a bigger share of the clean energy market. They are going to collaborate on solar power, particularly for electrification for outlying areas, biofuels and then also the whole issue of wind power.
Each country will focus on an area and then migrate their knowledge out to the others. South Africa’s focus is going to be solar power. South Africans will be putting out a memorandum of understanding for solar power. This is particularly for electrification of rural areas.
India will concentrate mainly on wind power and they will also have training sessions and impart ideas on equipment innovation. Brazil is really big in biofuels and experts in ethanol production from sugar cane, and also production biodiesel.
Brazil’s concept is that Africa could really do well if we promoted this idea of biofuels and obviously not going into competition with food. So, steering away from maize, grain and non-edibles. We see India also steering away from non-edibles when it comes to producing fuel.
Sugar is something that should be considered, because there is no shortage of sugar. The actual flex-fuel engines that you use now, they will also cooperate on that because Brazil have already been working on these, so that when you go to the pumps to fill up with biodiesel or conventional fuel or a mix of the two, you don’t have to modify your engines.
Trade between the countries, hoping to lift, they see the existing trade at about US$11-billion currently. They want to move that to $15-billion by 2010 and they feel that there is a capacity to do a lot more.
Makwetla: The Canadian company building the Gautrain says South Africans are world-class at train building.
Creamer: Yes, it is nice when foreigners come in to a country, look at its manufacturing facilities and pass nice comments and not nasty comments. This is what is happening with the Canadians.
Bombardier coming into South Africa, building our Gautrain, having a look around and seeing that our manufacturing facilities here, Union Carriage & Wagon of Nigel. They are giving it a great imprimatur, saying it is at least as good, if not better, than where they have their trains built in Derby in the UK.
They are quite keen on doing more in South Africa with their Electrostar range. The 96 Gautrain rail cars will be based on the Electrostar and they have never built this range outside of England before. They are looking around in South Africa and saying that there is not just the Gautrain here, but there is a lot of potential to do a lot more.
They are looking at the Moloto project, which will hopefully be a rail between Pretoria and Mpumalanga to try and avoid people over-using the ‘Road of Death’, as they are calling it. They feel they could possibly get involved there.
Then also, Cape Town, itself wanting to have a rail between the airport and the city centre. Several other plans from South African Rail Commuter Corporation and Bombardier are hoping to be part of that.
Makwetla: Despite the global meltdown, the Mercedes-Benz factory in South Africa will produce a record number of vehicles this year, many of them for export.
Creamer: This is quite an ironic message to get, because all we are hearing is that the car market has been decimated, and that nobody can sell any cars.
Yet, we hear from East London Mercedes-Benz where they have a factory there where they are churning out the C-Class, they say that they are going to have a record number of cars, 64 300 produced this year. Last year there were 38 200, talking about cars, busses, bakkies and trucks, the total lot.
This figure of 64 300 is way over 60% higher. They say that it looks like being sustainable. They are not talking about retrenchments at all. In fact, they are talking about having taken on additional people this year and maybe taking on more people.
They have also got a lot of demand for their commercial vehicles, because of South Africa’s big boost in expenditure on energy and transport infrastructure. This has a spin-off on the commercial vehicles, so they are doing quite well there.
They’ve also introduced the new Mitsubishi Triton. Not talking of any cut-backs at Mercedes-Benz East London, in South Africa, courtesy, in many respects, of the exports of the US. They are exporting about 2 000 to the US a month.
You might say the US market is going down, but many of the US people are moving away to more fuel-efficient cars, away from the big sports utility vehicles that use a lot of fuel. We also have a weak rand at the moment, which favours exports.
So, who is to say, perhaps some of our exporters will keep up their production rates and continue their export levels and local production.
Makwetla: Thanks very much. 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)
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Forest products group Sappi has confirmed the selection of its 25 MW biomass-to-power project, to be erected at its Ngodwana mill, in Mpumalanga, as a preferred bidder under the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement...
Information and communications technology (ICT) distributor DCC is making Windows- and Android-operating systems tablets available through retailers and education equipment suppliers to provide school children with affordable, high-performance education tools. The...
Another cement manufacturer is set to enter the Ugandan market, raising hopes that prices will come down and spur growth in the construction industry. National Cement, a Kenyan manufacturer, has unveiled plans to invest $195-million in a new manufacturing plant in...
With growth rates exceeding that in the developed world – at an average of between 4% and 5% between 2002 and 2014 – African countries provide investors with ample reason to tap into booming consumer demand says Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad...
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Business Confidence Index (BCI) decreased by 3.7 index points month-on-month to 89.1 in March.