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Aug 14, 2009

Sasol sponsors solar thermal energy research, R175m on water for KZN informal settlements, Indian group invests in East African oil refinery

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Petrochemicals company Sasol has reminded that it is in the business of energy first and foremost by announcing a R3-million sponsorship of solar thermal energy research.

Read on page 36 of this edition of Engineering News that the research will be carried out by the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. The department sees environmental sustainability and renewable energy as an area of particular pursuit and has put solar thermal in the spotlight.

In the last 11 years, it has focused on bulk renewable solar power generation. This dovetails with plans by Sasol, which has an energy division intent on reducing the company’s greenhouse-gas footprint. It makes a lot of sense given that the sun is the world’s only unlimited source of power.

“Southern Africa is blessed with some of the best solar radiation in the world, which is why Sasol supports the development of solar energy technologies as a viable renewable-energy source for Southern Africa within a carbon-constrained future,” the company said in a statement.

With new Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale sleeping over in informal settlements to experience the hardship that people experience in such rudimentary conditions, the expectation is that a lot more attention is going to be given to how people live in South Africa.

Against that background, news has broken on a newly launched water and sanitation project in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), which  is aimed at providing about 1,4-million informal-settlement dwellers with access to running water and sanitation facilities.

Read on page 10 of this edition of Engineering News of the expectation that the project, to be completed in 2012, will generate 3 000 jobs. The R175-million budget will be disbursed over three years, with R40-million allocated for 2009, about R100-million for 2010 and R35-million for 2011.

The national sanitation target is that all should have access to running water and toilets by 2010, and it is part of the KZN municipality’s strategy to meet that target.

India’s Essar Group has acquired a 50% stake in Kenya Petroleum Refinery for $10-million, and has promised to invest $400-million over the next three years in upgrading refinery capacity from 72 000 bbl/d to one-million barrels a day.

Read on page 35 of this edition of Engineering News of how Essar edged out two competitors to clinch the deal, after the exit of three multi- nationals. Essar intends expand into Africa’s petroleum industry and is also the largest shareholder of Econet Wireless, which operates as the fourth mobile service provider in Kenya.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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