By Lungelo Shezi
The City of Joburg has begun conducting research into some of the projects that made it as finalists in its Green City Startup Challenges.
The contest seeks out startups in energy, building, water, waste and transport with ideas to make Joburg a more environmentally friendly and sustainable space to live in.
The first winner, GCIP-SA alumnus, Paseka Lesolang, won the R1 million prize for his solution called Leak-Less Valve, which aims to help prevent up to 70% of the water wastage if a toilet’s cistern ever leaks.
Andre Reynecke, also a GCIP-SA alumnus, won the second edition for his solution called MISER, a fully automated transmission system which can be fitted on old and new vehicles to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, achieving fuel savings of up to 70% for motorists.
These two, along with other finalists, and teams of experts from both the City of Johannesburg and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have launched at least 20 research projects for a greener Joburg.
“We have globally ground-breaking innovations and projects on our hands and, by underpinning them with deep and vigorous research, coupled with quality assurance, we are onto big things,” said Professor Pat Naidoo, the City’s Green Research and Innovation Chair and Research Professor at UJ.
“Several of the ideas that we will be researching in laboratory conditions have the potential to define the landscape of Johannesburg but they are also possible job creators with high added economic value,” Naidoo added.
Lesolang has already started working on his research. “I was thrilled to work with UJ to ensure my product is economically viable. Working with UJ has influenced the design and the potential of my technology just keeps growing thanks to the City and UJ,” he said.
To date, more than 1 000 Leak-Less Valves have been installed. About 20 jobs have already created.
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Other projects being researched under the Green Research and Innovation Chair portfolio include:
• A hydraulic version of hybrid transmission for vehicles that boasts 70% savings and reduced emissions
• A large-scale urban indoor piggery project
• A beehive development and honey farming concept
• Turning municipal waste to energy
• Designing and developing industrial machinery to roll out sanitary towels and napkins
• The design and development of technology to transform thermal coal ash waste to brick and paving materials.