Jul 27, 2007
Singer, songwriter and activist promotes green energy in AfricaBack
© Reuse this
The company is currently in discussion with Eskom to supply the South African power utility with renewable energy, generated mainly from biomass.
Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg last week, Geldof said that green energy could stimulate the economic growth required to lift Africa from poverty.
He pointed out that the failure of the Doha Development Round – the World Trade Organisation nego- tiations that aimed to lower trade barriers around the world, permitting free trade between countries of varying levels of prosperity – and the unlikelihood of a standalone trade agreement for Africa made it all the more important to find a solution for Africa’s farmers.
Geldof, who has been associated with various charity drives focusing on Africa – including Live Aid and Live 8 – spoke to the media after returning from a trip to Swaziland, where he visited jatropha curcas plantations planted by biodiesel producer D1 Oils.
Pointing to a jatropha curcas seedling on the table, Geldof said that “the potential effect of this little fellow is enormous”.
Geldof said that he was impressed by the “life-changing” potential that the cultivation of jatropha curcas trees could have on poverty-stricken African communities.
The oil expelled from the tree’s seeds can be processed into biofuels and the remaining plant material can be used to fire biomass energy-generation plants.
“I do not use the word ‘life-changing’ lightly,” Geldof said, adding that jatropha curcas was the first solution that he had seen in his 23 years of involvement in African causes that offered Africans jobs, cash crops and economic power.
Geldof was accompanied by Helius Energy chairperson Alex Worrall and Helius Energy cofounder and D1 Oils Africa CEO Demetri Pappadopoulos.
Pappadopoulos said that every hectare of jatropha curcas would produce 2,7 t of oil and 4,4 t of biomass.
D1 Oils Africa has obtained the rights to plant more than 40 000 ha of jatropha curcas in Africa, including Swaziland and Zambia.
However, the South African Department of Agriculture is yet to publish its policy on jatropha curcas, which is currently viewed as an invasive tree.
Pappadopoulos said that the first power from jatropha curcas biomass could be produced in the next three years when D1 Oils Africa expects to harvest the first commercial crops in Swaziland and Zambia.
Besides being in discussion with Eskom, Helius Energy is in talks with the government of Zambia concerning the establishment of new power plants and the upgrading of existing facilities.
The company is also in discussion with the Swazi government for a power supply agreement.
In another development, petrochemicals giant BP and D1 Oils Africa’s parent company, Aim-listed D1 Oils, have announced plans to establish a global joint venture based on the planting of jatropha curcas trees.
D1 Oils Africa corporate affairs executive Penny Healy tells Engi-neering News that the proposed joint venture – which is subject to the approval of D1 shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting to be held in the next few weeks – is “a huge vote of confidence” for cultivating jatropha curcas as feedstock for biodiesel production.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other News This Week News
International consulting engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) has appointed Salani Sithole as South African MD, effective March 1. Sithole has been with the company for six years and, prior to joining RHDHV, held various positions in engineering consulting,...
Recent Research Reports
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.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 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 network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
In a recent letter to the editor that I sent to Engineering News (Concerns regarding South African portion of Square Kilometre Array) and in a follow-up article elaborating further (We must start preparations to build our own synchrotron light source), I stated my...