Simon Barber
Simon Barber

The Silicon Valley of sun

In May 1961, President Kennedy addressed a special session of the US Congress. It was the height of the Cold War. There was a sense in the land that the US was falling behind and needed to pick up its game. Kennedy announced a number of initiatives, mostly now forgotten. The last, however, has proved indelible: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

A big, hairy, audacious goal, to use a business-school cliché. A Bhag. Maybe it’s time for something similar in South Africa.

People are starting to worry that we’re reaching a tipping point. Their fears are driven by crime, political uncertainty and a creeping sense of institutional rot, all compounded by the electricity crisis. Stereotypical thinking is a factor. A gloomy international environment isn’t helping either. Dress it up however you will, morale is low. Even Stuart Pennington of South Africa: The Good News is not quite as jaunty as usual. He’s politely asking for leaders to lead.

Some will immediately say that we already have a Bhag: hosting a successful World Cup. That certainly meets the definition of big, hairy and audacious. The thing is, many countries have hosted the World Cup. OK, we’re the first African country to do it but, pardon the heresy, couldn’t that be read in more than one way? The bragging rights that come from being able to do something that others do routinely are perhaps less formidable than those that come from being unequivocally at the top of the heap.

Let’s say we do host the World Cup brilliantly — and I’m confident we will. What we will have proved is that … we can host a World Cup brilliantly. Just like Germany, or Japan and South Korea, or the US. And the Fifa caravan will move on, leaving us with a train and some nice stadiums.

So I’d like to suggest another Bhag, one whose attainment has the potential to resonate for generations to come while, in the nearer term, rallying the nation, creating major employment opportunities and converting crisis into triumph.

South Africa should set itself the goal of becoming the world’s leading per capita producer and consumer of solar power by a certain date, making itself a mecca for scientists, inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs. For anyone interested in solar energy, South Africa should be the place to be, the place where the breakthroughs occur, the Nobel prizes are won, a new set of industries is launched and great fortunes are made. The Silicon Valley of sun.

Feasible? What would it take to make it happen?

  • Leon Steyn

    I think that is one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time. With the energy crisis there has already been a boom in solar distribution. But we are still very far behind in R&D and the use of the technology.

    In Australia for example people that generate their own solar energy can plug the excess energy they generate back into the grid to make up for shortages in other areas.

    If we can start using the same innovative ideas and start focusing on one technology that could really work in our sunny country and we all need right now it could be a huge project for the country!

  • John Bond

    You know Simon, I so often hear that JFK quote out of context so I sighed as I saw it… I also think that BHAGs are so 90’s.

    South Africa has many problems, each with its own characteristics; its own challenges. The suggestion that a one-size-fits-all solution is all we need is in my opinion rather simplistic.

    Examples of different problems needing different solutions abound. Where the management tool called “Balanced scorecard” was what was missing at Eishkom, the South African Police may need a “Zero Tolerance” approach like the one that worked so effectively in New York. HIV/AIDS needs buy-in from the President so we can continue the ARV roll-out (yes, the government tells us the roll-out is complete but I live in a different country called Kwa Zulu).

    It was Bush’s conservative think tank(of was it 10 Eminent Economists who had all graduated from Harvard and Stanford) who recommended the War in Iraq so as to rally the people of the US behind the Republicans. It had worked for Roosevelt in WW2, and again in 53 with Korea, in the 60’s with Vietnam and in the 90’s with Desert Storm for his father. Ag shame, why didn’t it work this time?

    The world is a continuously evolving place and the rate of change is quickening. In the past, managers focussed on the 20% that gave 80% of the benefit. That rule is gradually blurring, getting closer to 60/40 and managers now talk of focussing on “the long tail”. People are looking at the whole picture once again, looking to where chance is more likely to be successful in the long term.

    I have tried hard to avoid researching solar power but even I know that there is no foreseeable route to making solar power feasible in the medium term. In the case of lunar travel, there was already a considerable knowledgebase showing that eventually, we’d be able to travel to the moon and Mars. (Yes, I’m an engineer with a fascination for facts)

    I would be very embarrassed to write about something I knew nothing about so I suppose before I wrote, I wrote, I would have done some intelligent internet research, asking what is the KWH per SqM of South African sunshine and what sort of conversion rate to electricity could we realistically expect within the next 20 years. I’d ask what existing and new technologies are out there. I’d also ask what aberrations to existing scientific theory exist that may point to an as yet undiscovered way to convert light to electricity.

    Why not do just that, do two hour’s research and then we’ll talk about your Solar BHAG.

  • Dogged Optimist

    This is a fabulous idea. Creating energy from the most amazing and abundant of all resources in Africa. The question is not if but when can we get this initiative going. South Africans need BOLD valuable ideas and discussions. Imagine how this energy (in all senses) could improve the quality of life for all South Africans rich, poor, young and old and yes I have to say it – Black and White. We need to find a common socio-economic vision that’s simple but powerful and binds us. I’m in. Have been doing research on this for some time now and here are some action steps
    1. Make information about solar energy available easily to the public in all languages and to suit different educational levels
    2. Lobby governement participation at both grassroots and national levels
    3. Invite the tertiary educational community to participate and offer knowledge, insight.
    4. Work with the solar energy industry to make education and research a key priority – bring costs down and make this accessible to more people
    5. Inculcate the discipline of conservation – in schools, churches, communities, blogs, the media.. Spend less energy blaming Eskom and go out and get geyser blankets made of recycled material

  • jeff

    African connectivity has always crossed the saddle between competitiveness and outright monopoly.

    This is not about to change in the future. Despite the fact that access to timeous, pertinent information is at an all time HIGH premium in the first world economy. € (Damn! I keep on hitting the Euro button on my Acer notebook when I mean to press the down-arrow. Coincidence? I don’t think so.)


    National Monopolies are all the rage amongst South African ideagogues, yet sadly they reflect a Coca Cola mentality that afflicts us at the highest and scariest levels. Instead of allowing the ubiquitous creation of last-mile communications through available technology, or self-provisioned, grid-backed power production, the government insists on State reliance on a commodity product available solely (sic) through them.


    I can almost understand the rationale. But, being a believer in enlightenment and the emancipation of the human race through dissemination of information and ultimate eradication of the digital dive (Tower of Babel) through technology; I can ill afford to compromise my belief.

    Enlightenment is a thorny subject at best, but at it’s heart it contains knowledge of all environmental, geological and spiritual factors at play in human society at present.

    We are far too short a time gone by from fascist ideology and the inculcation of race hatred to suppose that the human race is capable of rational thought. Far too short! (Is that an oxy-moron?)

    I grow weary of the battle for common-sense. For virtuousness, for selfishness, for SELF abnegation, for the submission of the strong to the weak, for RIGHTEOUSNESS, and for fair trade.

    God help us! We were wrong!!

    (or were we, and the trade played out to it’s consummate, controversial end.)


    Jeff Brown
    Website: http://www.wildcoast.com
    Blog: http://www.wildcoast.com/jeff
    Cell phone: +27-74-1015170

    8

  • jeff

    :/s/selfishness/selflessness

    BwahahahaHa!

    Yeah. You either get it or you don’t.

  • Owen

    To me the bhag should be education. Create a system that the poorest kid has the same education oppertunity as the richest kid.

    No more BEE , AA, arms deals, soccer world cups, etc – just plain old education. Channel all our effort into that for the next 20 years.

    Then all else is possible.

  • Rory Short

    I agree completely with Owen.

    Education, education and more education but of a good quality because that is what the Apartheid regime tried to do away with for everybody not only for black people although they were the worst impacted.

    Unfortunately the present ANC government although it is spending a lot of money on education does not seem to be able to rectify the educational deficit deliberately created by Apartheid. Each year our matric results go from bad to worse and my friends who are involved in tertiary education tell me that the standard of first year university entrants keeps on dropping with each year that passes.

    The problem, I think, is that the Mbeki regime is mainly drawn from people, whose vision, shaped by their Apartheid experience no doubt, was of a good middle class material existence for themselves, something that had been denied them by Apartheid.

    There is nothing wrong with that vision except that it is too ‘in-the-box’ for what was needed by our country post 1994. Our country needs a much grander vision than what is, in the bigger scheme of things, really a quite pedestrian vision for our nation.

    It looked as though such a vision was beginning to emerge when Nelson Mandela was president but that was not to be as the more pedestrian vision, described above, gained sway in the Mbeki years.

    Thus Simon’s vision that we aim as a nation to become one of the solar energy capitals of the world really speaks to me. And despite Jeff Brown’s scepticism I think it is definitely a worthwhile vision because the whole of humankind actually has no alternative than to turn to the sun to meet its energy needs. If we do not do that we will, as a species, definitely become a failed experiment.

    If Simon’s vision becomes the shared national vision then the points raised by ‘Dogged Optimist’ are just some of the things that we will be putting are hearts and souls into.

    Sadly the people who are running Eskom as well as Government seem to be still in the grips of that pedestrian vision. They have come up with more and bigger coal fired power stations plus more nuclear power stations as the way to solve our energy crisis. All of these so callled solutions are based upon non-renewable fuels so they are not permanent solutions let alone the fact that there are all sorts of known and unresolved hazards associated with using coal and nuclear as fuel sources.

  • jeff

    Alternative, renewable and sustainable energy supply with self provisioning and grid feedback is the answer, however, for too many years government has depended on state controlled services to fuel their social economic engine. Hence state controlled communications and electricity supply in perpetuity.

    It will take a grassroots movement with a lot of support to change that bleak outlook. Firstly people will have to lower consumption habits by converting to life without electric hair-dryers, irons and tea kettles. Then spend about R25,000 per 1000 watts of power (with inverters and battery storage) that they will require to run the balance of their electrical appliances for some or the better part of the day. You can probably start thinking about turning the sandwich toaster and the fridge back on if you have, say, 6000 watts of power at a cool cost of roughly R150,000.

    Like with much of today’s technology, Silicon Valley is leading the world in solar development. Nanosolar has developed proprietary process technology that makes it possible to produce 100x thinner solar cells 100x faster. Essentially, they’ve figured out how to print solar cells on thin sheets of aluminum with a printing press.

    Then there’s the Tesla Roadster with 6,831 LithIOn batteries under its hood. The most innovative approaches are coming from high technology companies, and its notable that Google, apart from using solar for a portion of their own server supply, are also investing heavily in startups.

    So the price of solar kit should be about to fall significantly, but who is going to invest early and, as they say in the IT game, ‘slit their wrist on the bleeding edge of technology?’

  • Velabahleke

    This is a thought, Mr Barber, and maybe with the recent problems in the national grid and the proposed increases, solar power will be profitable much faster than it usually is. But what is also not very clear to me is that South Africa has a lot of gold mines (and dumps) and if my physics is correct could have a lot Uranium. Now we all know the global politics surrounding the nuclear power stations but is this not the time to make a case for nuclear power stations? Gold prices around the world are hitting record highs, if there ever was a time to make a dent at the unemployments statictics, however slight, it has got to be now. Who is the present policy (foreign) (against nuclear stations) hurting more? Certain democracies have gone ahead with these (most arrogantly so). (Google this.) I think in the 15 years South Africa has demonstrated that it is no treat to world peace, and honestly if there was an investment that she (South Africa) was courting, then Jeez, it has been fifteen years if they haven’t made up their mind about whether to invest in South Africa they never will(they probably will never see SA as being stable enough). It is about time public utility companies are started around nuclear power. I know there has been research in area of nuclear power like PBMR and so on and that have been stalled by debates surrounding the quality of uranium and so on. Even though I could be wrong on this. But also I have heard that there are power stations in Mozambique that are fully serviced and lying idle. And I’m also told that it would take at most a month for South Africa to tap into that grid. Why won’t South Africa buy Electricity form Mozambique. But in short Mr Barber, my knowledge is that it has up until now taken a while to get to the profitable region with solar power, but the timing maybe right to explore this option. Thank you for the thought. I hope it is taken seriously.

  • John Bond

    Guys

    JUST DO THE REASONING before you make a stupid proposal like this.

    1. There are much better options available than solar power.

    2. Conversion of sunlight to electricity is ridiculously inefficient. Even if it improves by a factor of a thousand, it will still be too inefficient.

    3. Sunlight produces electricity during the day, when we don’t need it.

    4. Unlike coal, diesel, nuclear energy and mielies, Electricity is expensive to store and the storage is very inefficient (making the losses even greater). You’d have to store daytime solar energy if you wanted to use it at night now wouldn’t you.

    5. Solar cells have a very short life. Existing silicon technology means a solar cell degrades to the point where it produces 50% of its original power in just 3 years. (In October 2007, an interesting new solid phase silicone was demonstrated and this may double the life of cells but this is still far too short and commercial use is only expected by about 2015)

    6. Even though Moore’s law (The halving of the cost of silicon functionality every 18 months) has also had an impact on the price of silicon used in solar panels, they are, and will remain ridiculously expensive for the foreseeable future.

    6. And then the really big problem – Solar cells produce the wrong type of electricity. They produce up to 48V of direct current whereas our grid is based on 110 000 volt of alternating current. Converting 48V to 110 000V is cumbersome, costly and VERY inefficient. (In addition, solar cells are a current source rather than a voltage source and this is as big a problem as the voltage but my space is limited so we won’t go there)

    Oh, I forgot, we live in the new South Africa. In this country, we don’t want to let the facts get in the way of a “good idea”. But to honest, any one of the six points above would make me wary of betting on solar power. Trouble is there isn’t just one problem, there are SIX of them.

    Ever wondered why us engineers have such a low regard for the Greens. Their heart is often in the right place but they don’t seem to have the power to think or to reason. They can be a danger to society!

  • Consulting Engineer

    @John Bond

    I just wanted to add to your excellent post. There is also the problem of reliability and inter-season variability. Solar cannot account for overcast days, when less power is produced and more is needed, and winter seasons when heating, less daylight and geysers increase demand, but less sunshine hours mean less generation.

    Solar only makes sense for geysers, but then if you want a relaible hot water supply you would still need electricity as a back up. That means a very expensive investment to save a small amount of electricity.

    And then of course there is the SA problem of solar panel theft or a target for vandalism.

    Thinking and reasoning have never been strengths of the emotional greenie type. Liberalism and green thinking are generally emotional states rather than logical positions. What logic is there in hugging a tree? It cant hug back.

  • jeff

    > Author: John Bond
    > Comment:
    > Guys
    >
    > JUST DO THE REASONING before you make a stupid proposal like this.

    > 1. There are much better options available than solar power.

    Like?

    > 2. Conversion of sunlight to electricity is ridiculously inefficient. Even
    > if it improves by a factor of a thousand, it will still be too
    > inefficient.

    Sunlight is the most basic inexhaustible resource we truly have. One cannot reasonably disregard it.

    Efficiency of 31% has been achieved using solar reflectors and Sterling Engines. Traditionally used gallium arsenide already has a conversion efficiency of approx. 26% in normal sunlight anyway. Nanoparticle processing experiments have achieved up to 42%, due to multiple exciton generation(MEG), and research is only just starting in this technology.

    Solar cells these days are net energy producers, meaning they generate much more energy over their lifetime than the energy expended in producing them.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell)

    > 4. Unlike coal, diesel, nuclear energy and mielies, Electricity is
    > expensive to store and the storage is very inefficient (making the losses
    > even greater). You’d have to store daytime solar energy if you wanted to
    > use it at night now wouldn’t you.

    The storage may be expensive currently, but that is more a factor of the economies of scale. For 5 days of uninterrupted power backup to my computer and hifi (only essential items) I would be prepared to pay a considerable amount of money. Have you checked out the prices on 4v 1050a/hr batteries?

    Interestingly, nanoparticle batteries can be charged in a fraction of the time of conventional batteries: fully charged in just 8 minutes. Imagine…

    > 5. Solar cells have a very short life. Existing silicon technology means a
    > solar cell degrades to the point where it produces 50% of its original
    > power in just 3 years. (In October 2007, an interesting new solid phase
    > silicone was demonstrated and this may double the life of cells but this
    > is still far too short and commercial use is only expected by about 2015)

    In the 1990s, when silicon cells were twice as thick, efficiencies were lower than today and lifetimes were much shorter. Guarantees of 25 years and useful lifespan of 35 years is about the norm on current c-Si (crystalline silicon) products.

    > 6. Even though Moore’s law (The halving of the cost of silicon
    > functionality every 18 months) has also had an impact on the price of
    > silicon used in solar panels, they are, and will remain ridiculously
    > expensive for the foreseeable future.

    Moores Law approximates the capacity doubling and the cost halving every 18 months. That’s an important distinction. Since you want to draw the parallel, we are at a similar stage in solar research as we were in telecommunications development, oh 15 years ago, when people were saying “we’ll never be able to send video and audio down a pair of copper wires.” Remember when MP3 was a novelty.

    > 6. And then the really big problem – Solar cells produce the wrong type of
    > electricity. They produce up to 48V of direct current whereas our grid is
    > based on 110 000 volt of alternating current. Converting 48V to 110 000V
    > is cumbersome, costly and VERY inefficient. (In addition, solar cells are
    > a current source rather than a voltage source and this is as big a problem
    > as the voltage but my space is limited so we won’t go there)

    You’re looking at it through your current paradigm (excuse the pun). This technik works vorschprung!

    > Oh, I forgot, we live in the new South Africa. In this country, we don’t
    > want to let the facts get in the way of a “good idea”. But to honest, any
    > one of the six points above would make me wary of betting on solar power.
    > Trouble is there isn’t just one problem, there are SIX of them.

    Not really. You’re just making the same point about 6 times.

    > Ever wondered why us engineers have such a low regard for the Greens.
    > Their heart is often in the right place but they don’t seem to have the
    > power to think or to reason. They can be a danger to society!

    Oh dear. How can one argue with that? ;p

  • John Bond

    Thanks for the compliment Consulting Engineer.

    I sometimes think that we, the technical people are the ones who are out of step. When someone asks me my opinion on a technical subject, I’ve been known to say “I don’t know much about it. Give me a day and I’ll come back to you”.

    Consider your reaction to the question “Are hydrogen based pebble bed nuclear reactors a viable means of generating power in South Africa’s current situation?”

    Interesting né. I find this question a good indicator of whether a person thinks with their head or their heart.

    And the answer… the answer… I don’t really know the answer but I’ll get back to you in a day or two after I’ve studied the subject and thought about it.

  • noladzana

    The technical people are never out of step.

    There’s a bunch of laggards and old farts claiming, on their veritable laurels, that the color is gloom, when all around us the sky is alit with color and grandeur, and stories of a brand new day.

    WAKE UP!

  • oldfox

    PMBRs certainly seem viable, but not for SA’s current problem, because the demonstrator plant is half a decade away from completion, and the worst years of our energy crisis are probably the next 3-5 years. SA hopes to have a concept demonstrator by 2012 or 2013, that is , if there are no more slippages. Already, we are already about 5 years behind the initial target dates. And then it will take another 3 years to build the first production units.

    Germany built one in the mid 60s and another in the mid 80s, and then abandoned the programme, and sold its technology. The only working PMBR today is a 10MW unit in China, which has been operating since 2000. They bought German PMBR technology, and have collaborated with MIT. The Chinese plan to have their first full scale (190MW) pilot running in 2010.

    The SA govt. knows we are in a race with China, but they think SA will win the PMBR race.

  • oldfox

    There are many viable renewable energy technologies for tens of kW to tens of MW.
    Solar dish Stirling generators, Solar updraft towers, sea wave generation (Portugal is one of the countries investing in this) are all viable, and cost per kW is probably in the same range as Eskom’s planned Medupi and Bravo plants.
    Geothermal generation is used in several countries. In some countries, where hot steam naturally emerges from fissures in the rock, the heat source is easy to utilize. In Kenya they drill deep wells to access high temperatures. Kenya’s two geothermal plans generate 115MW in total. http://www.kengen.co.ke/content.asp?id=9&catid=2

    Problem in SA, is that Eskom wants to generate 50% of the total renewable energy generation in SA. If govt. accedes to Eskom’s wish, renewable energy development will be hampered in SA.

  • Velabahleke

    This is correct one needs to understand a little about the subject before venturing to inform others. This is common sense. I would have thought what Mr Barber is doing here is merely posting his thoughts about the solar renewable energy system. We now know that it is possible for a country to rely almost solely on renewable sources. Iceland is a good example of this. Almost seventy percent of Iceland’s energy is geothermal. What i understood of Mr Barber’s argument is that there is nothing unique in hosting a soccer world cup even Mexico has, and there isn’t. But there is a lot to be gained by harnessing the power of…well… now let’s see we don’t have volcano’s…let’s say the sun. Not only as a response to the current energy crisis but also, as Mr Barber puts it, a place where Nobel award winning fundamental science can be done. I think along with this argument, Mr Barber is saying the Nobel foundation is more prone to award the Green’s, and I think Al Gore is a good example here. But also just to break away from fossil fuels.

    It is obvious a lot of research is still needed on this and this is exactly what Mr Barber is saying, John Bond’s contributions to this thought raises some of the areas that need immediate research, conversion, storage etc..etc…

    Wind turbines are very popular in some parts of the world that have sufficient winds and we don’t and I think there is a company in Ohio (I know this because i think Barack O’bama visited this place recently) that is already working on this form of renewable energy. You know sitting along the beach I have often wondered about the possibility of using tides for energy. Also since I’m from KZN i have often wondered if sugar cane waste (used in Brazil) can not be used to gether with maize in ethanol production. Now the problem seems to me to be the lack of research funding, and if there is sufficient research funding the problem is manpower (or womanpower) or some cycle or triangle of that sort. In my view South Africa has waited for technologies to be developed elsewhere and then importing. This to me has been a problem perharps paralleling if not even more than the mighty braindrain. Now one hopes the current crisis wakes the likes of Earthlife Africa to the need of Nuclear power stations (because we know these work, Koeberg is the example) while research and building of the PBMR’s need to proceed with haste.

  • Consulting Engineer

    @John Bond

    I would think pebble bed reactors would be be a viable technical option worth investigating.

    The problem would not be the technical but the social and political. The way this government and many of the people insist on BEE, AA and quotas above technical competence, who would operate and maintain the system? Hell, they can’t even manage ESKOM, water supplies, and even more than 50% of simple diesel based pump systems are in operable within 2 years. Would you trust such people with nuclear?

  • John Bond

    @nolandzana

    You’re so right about us bunch of technical laggards and old farts in South Africa. As you so rightly say, all is well in Camelot…

    Mind you, I’ve intervened unsuccessfully in one murder and cleaned up the aftermath of two more in the last 3 years. But then I suppose, is there any significance about the death of one or two of my black friends (Understand, this is not how I feel!!! I’m being cynical! I’m truly ANGRY about our incompetent police when it comes to murder in our local black community)

    I bought a new computer last week, WOW. Not that there was anything wrong with my old PC until Eskom’s voltage spike took out power supply and mother board. Yes, I had MOVs (protection) on the power line but this spike came down the neutral! Well done Eskom!’

    AIDS, AIDS, Hiv and AIDS… I’ve lost too many good associates and friends to the tippling minister’s incompetence. Don’t get me started…

    Oh, by the way Nolan-dumbdum, when did you last read and article or scientific paper on some cutting edge new technology, psychology, sociology, economics, politics or divinity, last month? Any time this year? I read two last night. Come to think of it, I must be getting old. I used to read six to eight a night (every night, Sundays included).

    Only two things will set South Africa free. Knowledge and action (often creative action) based on that knowledge. Nothing else! There are no fairy tales in the global economy.

    @ Barber. (I’m bringing our private communications back into the public domain so that others may criticise those harsh comments I often make)
    You’re right; I did say I thought the idea of focussing on solar power was stupid. If that statement hurt and offended you (which it clearly did), accept my sympathy. I too have many stupid ideas. I just try not to publish them.

    You caught me with the solar chimney idea. My study on super heated steam would have used “modified parabola” mirrors but the last time I heard of solar chimneys was that program in the USA in 1971. I saw their paper in 1974, after that freak hail storm (in the desert!). Flush glassing would no-doubt have improved efficiency and I’m sure we understand Boylles law better these days. I remember that the airflow was quite low. In that same year, there were also papers on using the sea’s wave power, flooding the Katana depression in the Sahara to drive turbines, exploiting the temperature difference between the sea’s surface and it’s “deep”. There was a fascinating piece on a new type of sail for sailing ships and an early wind power installation. (In the last 30 years, none of these have become major sources of power generation – they may yet, who knows…)

    SOUTH AFRICANS – ITS TIME TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. are you for a brighter future or do you want our country to continue to wallow. As poor Barber and Nolandzana have discovered, I’m not here to win friends, I’m here suggest to people other than Barber and Nolandzana that there is merit in looking at the available knowledge.

    I cannot say it often enough. Our salvation lies in knowledge and our creative use of that knowledge. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • noladzana

    Anyone smell troll?

    One wonders if the abusive epithet hurling “Bond”, who is claiming in this forum to be an engineer, is the same who gave a heart-wrenching (not really) sob story on Traps’ blog a few months back about his formative years, and then went on to list his credentials as follows.

    John Bond
    Masters Degree in Business Administartion (UN) – Aged 49
    Missed Summa Cum Laude by 3 marks
    Post Graduate Diploma – Business Admenistration (UN)
    Golden Keys Award for Scholastic Ability (and a scholarship) – Aged 46
    Nat Dip – Org and Work Study (Natal tech)
    Nat Dip – Matls. Management (Natal Tech)

    http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/traps/2007/11/07/oprah-school-is-symptomatic-of-a-far-larger-problem/

  • Velabahleke

    If it is the same Mr Bond, then he is either “mispeaking” now on his being “an engineer with a fascination for facts”, or mispoke when he listed those credential. The fact is though that he raises serious questions, as so are most of the posts in this blog. His qualifications though are for a technician who studied business management. i will not venture into how he in the process became an engineer or refers to himself as an engineer because I do not know the details, maybe he could inform us.

    Speaking of misspeaking I follow the US politics and in particular the present primary elections. And a scenario has occured recently where Senator Clinton “misspoke” about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire, and she admitted “misspeaking”. Very noble. (search youtube, and or mcclathydc newspapers).

    Also on this issue though, Senator McCain, a presumptive Republican nominee, spoke today of the US increasing it’s ally base and collaborating more with it’s allies. Commentators at Fox News (a largely conservative cable TV station) were then asking what other countries are out there that the US can forge ties with. And pointed out to South Africa and Brazil, who in anyway are no longer posing a treat to US national (read capital) security.(In his speech McCain referred to Russia.) Now bear with me for a second and I will say outright I do not know what entails an alliance against terrorrism. But a thought occured to me. If South Africa were on her terms to team up with the US against terror. And during that process the US support the South African Army and South Africa insisting on using the US aid to increase the army’s human capital by say 50% or even more. In my mind this is a substantial number of folks that will be got off the unemployment statistics, because the army is and can be a viable employer. The relationship that Pakistan has with the US has allowed Pakistan to develop nuclear power expertise and be not viewed as a threat as opposed to Iran and North Korea. Pakistan has done this either arrogantly or otherwise and this then leads me to the next point.

    South Africa has a lot of nuclear expertise, and these are the good folks that were not necessary affected by AA and or BEE who lost their jobs when SA abondoned it’s nuclear programme. I want (maybe I should say “I would like”)South to revive it’s nuclear programme.

    Yes nuclear power has it’s problems and again as always more research is necessary and yes more renewable sources are necessary. But as a post here points out Eskom should not be allowed to set the tone of the renewable energy research, development and provision but newer companies lead by some of the folks here in this post and elsewhere should be allowed to start and these should eventually lead to bigger companies that will compete with Eskom. (In my mind it doesn’t matter whether they nationalise Eskom or not as long viable competing interests are developed.)

    I propose the Mr John Bond’s, Mr or Mrs Oldfox’s, Mr or Mrs Consulting Engineer’s, Mr or Mrs Noladzana, Mr Jeff and others get together and lobby the government (again, are there law companies specializing in lobbying?) on this issue.

    It is unfortunate that this country is lead by “incompetents” and it’s been getting harder and harder to defend them. I don’t intend to. But I find an issue with the attack on AA and BEE, when we all know the history of the country. It usually is very hard to divorce the issues from politics in SA because they all have political nature to them but AA and BEE are here for a reason if you have an alternative solution that will redress the imbalances caused by our unfortunate past then out with it. In my knowledge no good folks were or are removed from their positions but redundants are. So hands off BEE and AA.

  • John Bond

    @ Jeff

    You talk about these very interesting new developments in power generation and storage.

    My statements = >
    Your comments = >>

    1. > 1. There are much better options available than solar power.
    >>Like?
    Atomic, clean hydrocarbon, hydro, wind, geothermal, etc etc etc. possibly even in that order.

    2. >>Sunlight is the most basic inexhaustible resource we truly have. One cannot reasonably disregard it.

    We should continue to research the technology, I agree enthusiastically. Will we find a usable solution and be able to exploit the technology in my life time? I may be wrong but I doubt it.
    This may appear to be a stupid question to you but spend a moment thinking about it… Why focus on exploiting technology that might not exist??? There is so much other good exploitable technology already out there.

    4. Storing of energy… You compare the storage of hundreds of Giga-VAHours against the storage milli- VAHours in some hand-held device, hardly a comparison. My cell phone runs for 5 days on a single charge but would power my bedside lamp for less than 2 minutes. What size battery would I need to power my 4.5KW geyser? Even if they cost pennys, they would still be fantastically too expensive, too large and too inefficient.
    Of course you say, there is new technology just round the corner. What technology? What corner?

    6. In the 1960’s Peter Drukker pointed out that useable new technology takes about 20 years to be fully integrated. His corollary was that when people hadn’t started seriously exploiting it within 10 years, it probably wasn’t that useable. Time frames have become much shorter, the period for integration is probably below 15 years now but unfortunately, the rule still applies. Photovoltaic has been around for what, 150 years? It’s found an important niche in applications where other power sources are not suitable but I doubt it’ll become a main stream player.

    7. >>You’re looking at it through your current paradigm (excuse the pun). This technik works vorschprung!
    Please explain your other paradigm for me. Maybe I’m missing something. (that’s got to be the weakest of all the arguments so far!!!)

    I note with fascination that, in spite of all the hot air, no one has come up with a solution other than to say there’s one in the future. Unfortunately, all the other technologies are moving apace (actually they’re all moving much much more quickly) so there will be amazing changes in energy generation and storage within the next 5 years, but I wouldn’t bet on solar.

    Oh, and to the snide comments on my qualifications and title, I have a good number of highly respected qualifications but No, I don’t have an engineering degree, Yes I hold the title and do the job of an engineer. You got a problem with that? TOUGH.

  • John Bond

    What about us South Africans focusing our energies on “doing nothing”!

    That we are arguing about solar technology shows that there may be better opportunities out there and some of the bloggers would say that South Africans are good at doing nothing, not that I support this view in any way.

    Doing nothing! DOING NOTHING!

    I can already see your anger rising but consider your cell phone. In 10 years, its recharge cycle has quadrupled and its functionality has grown beyond recognition. I acknowledge that battery life has increased by 50% but how have the designers managed to squeeze so much more out of the device. “By doing nothing”. The cell phone spends most of its life sleeping, even when you’re talking. The functions that are not needed are shut down. They consume fractions of a milliamp (read no power) until needed.

    Compare your microwave to your geyser. Your geyser uses inefficient resistive heat and has to run continuously, your microwave sits there doing little until you need to boil water. There are some exciting developments in the field of heating using frequency rather than resistance. What about looking into a frequency geyser that supplies hot water where it’s needed (no transmission losses) and when it’s needed.

    Consider your car, the power steering and alternator remain connected even when you’re travelling straight ahead on a long trip and have a fully charged battery. Disconnect them so they can do nothing when not needed.

    Most of your appliances consume up to 60 watts when in standby. Develop circuitry to switch them off when not in use. Consider all those power packs you have plugged in for your laptop, modem, fax/printer, power drill and cell phone. They all consume between 20 and 20 watts, even when not being used. Redesign them to switch off when not in use.

    Saving through adopting this mantra in the home would be significant, but small. On the other hand, just think what would happen if we adopted them everywhere that we use power.

    Switch off street lights when there are no vehicles or pedestrians on the road. (with modern sensors, this one is easy and inexpensive)
    Shut off the air-conditioning in large office blocks (or even sections of the building) when there is no one there.

    Well, enough from me, where do you think we can just “do nothing”.

  • jeff

    > Author: John Bond
    > Comment:
    > @ Jeff

    > Why focus on exploiting technology that might not exist??? There
    > is so much other good exploitable technology already out there.

    If you really think about it, solar is actually the only practical form of self provisioning. And its here, and it’s clean, and because there are so many different ways you can exploit just the sun’s power. And for years the alternative/renewable research was not necessary because people were living in a consumer bubble and using electricity wastefully and driving crazy ass fossil fuel vehicles.

    It’s only now recently that breakthroughs in semiconductor research, nano technology, and, well, silicon in general have started crossing disciplines and influencing solar research to such an amazing extent.

    The technology does exist, no maybe. BTW, thanks for alerting me to the fact that it could be starting to advance at the rate of Moore’s Law. I was fully optimistic even before I heard that. :)

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/technology/PING.php

    > 4. Storing of energy… too large and too inefficient.
    > Of course you say, there is new technology just round the corner. What
    > technology? What corner?

    Nanoparticle batteries will play the definitive role in making Electric Vehicles and hybrids practical. This will drive improvements in charging time and storage capacity.

    Currently, I was referring to modern deep cycle batteries. 6 x 4v 1380A/Hr batteries will give you 6kW/hr per day for 5 days through a 24v DC to 220v AC inverter. (3kW peak, 93% efficient.)

    http://www.solarmetrics.co.za/html_batteries.html

    (Kindly note I do not work for or represent Solar Metrics in any way… I’m just hoping for a big discount on my next purchase.)

    > Photovoltaic has been around for what, 150 years? It’s
    > found an important niche in applications where other power sources are not
    > suitable but I doubt it’ll become a main stream player.

    Maybe.

    > Please explain your other paradigm for me. Maybe I’m missing something.

    Yes I think you are. Grid feedback has proven effective in Germany, Australia, the US, and many other places, and the reason its not happening here is a monolithic state controlled monopoly and insistence that the average citizen subsidize the electricity costs of multinational conglomerates. If the people were to move to self provisioning their electricity then the government will lose one of its economic engines. (Did I hear someone say a 53% increase?!)

    Though most people are reluctant to discover which electrical items are truly essential, or try to shift their paradigms, many homes can survive on a 3kW system easily. R7,000 per battery though, never mind the inverter and the PVs.

    Stove and other combustion requirements, in the near future, could be provided for through nanoparticle-coated electrodes which make electrolysers efficient enough to provide hydrogen on demand. Just add water.

    (http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206801669)

    In the meantime: butane.

    > I note with fascination that, in spite of all the hot air, no one has come
    > up with a solution other than to say there’s one in the future.

    Talking of which… My guess is that over the next 10 years rich people will look to self-provisioning as a first resort, but it will take a while for the prices to come down to earth.

    > Unfortunately, all the other technologies are moving apace (actually
    > they’re all moving much much more quickly) so there will be amazing
    > changes in energy generation and storage within the next 5 years, but I
    > wouldn’t bet on solar.

    I wonder myself… but not because it’s impractical or infeasible.

    -Jeff

    ‘Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, they shall never cease to be amused.’ ~anon

  • John Bond

    Well guys, focusing on solar energy, as they say in basket ball “It’s time for the final slam dunk!!!”

    Read Bryan Hatfield’s Thought Leader blog at http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/readerblog/2008/03/25/energy-crisis-myths-misrepresentations-and-fallacies/#comment-23286
    Particularly his comments at the bottom.
    “Now comes the biggie! Solar radiation received at the surface of the earth varies from about 275 watts per square metre at mid-day in cloudless regions near the equator, such as in the middle of the Sahara desert, to about 75watts per square metre at midday in the Artic. The global mean is somewhere around 170 watts per square metre. What does this mean? Even if you could convert all of it to electricity you would need about 10 to 12 square metres of surface to absorb enough energy to power a domestic kettle. If you can only convert 50% to electricity that becomes more than 20 square metres and if you need to store some for later use you have to increase that again to “charge” the storage system.”
    OUCH!!!!

    That’s 3mtrs by 6.7mtrs. That’s a huge panel, just for your kettle. What about your pool pump, garage doors, TV set and computer.

    On another note:
    I sat in amusement early this morning thinking of that rather stupid post challenging my qualifications. Hey, I haven’t had so much fun in weeks. THANKS!

    What the heck do my qualifications have to do with Barbers proposal to focus South Africa’s limited resources narrowly on the use of solar energy? As you can see from the above comments, there are much better opportunities out there.

    Those idiot comments on my qualifications, quoted out of context, listed only those of my qualifications that required a matric exemption (there are also 4 other qualifications that are not listed together with heaps of other awards and useless junk). Trap’s previous post had been on the use of technology and the internet in promoting reading and, as I don’t have a matric, I was a total failure at school, I felt my experience in learning to read in my early 20’s and to come to grips with dyslexia and undiagnosed ADHD may be of value to others battling these problems. I’m not certain what my scholastic ability or lack thereof has to do with solar energy. Maybe I’m stupid so perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    “When they start to attack your person, you know your argument is solid” – I wish I could remember who said that!!!

    The important lesson here is to challenge the content of the blog and the ideas put forward. Don’t waste your and the reader’s time in attempting a stupid character assassination. What does this contribute to whether or not South Africa should focus on Solar Energy.

    Jeff’s latest comment don’t address a single one of the problems with solar power. He’s also got many of his facts wrong like grid feedback, the sugar mills and mines do it all the time. Battery technology, it can’t be scaled. Super capacitors offer better scope. Hydrolysis from sunlight, the technology doesn’t exist. (Hey, you can even get a nanoparticle device to fit to your car’s fuel line that’s supposed to increase hydrogen content and fuel efficiency by 15% (Car magazine slammed the product and the concept as a fraud). Oh and Moore’s law only applies in as much as the technology for laying down the silicone has improved dramatically and solar cells use silicon. Compared to say memory, processing power, Hall Effect, piezo or peltier, the development in the last 20 years in photovoltaic has been pathetically slow. Even the old fashioned thermoionic valves of the 1930s have developed more quickly (as you can see, I enjoy playing with electronic, especially the latest technological components). You don’t get your tech knowledge from the back pages of the Sunday newspapers. Jeff’s wishi-washi suggestions all just so much pie in the sky.

    @Jeff
    Just outline for me an economical, reasonable sized solar system where the technology is sufficiently developed that we could realistically plan for an installation within the next 5 years. OK then, what about 10 years. You can’t do it economically, not now and not within the next 10 years, by which time the other technology will have improved dramatically and be be even further out in front.

    Would you like me to do the same for Nuclear… for clean hydrocarbon… for hydro…

  • jeff

    I’m sure everyone is as bored with strawman’s fallacies and liberal misrepresentations as I am by now.

    Peace out. :)

  • John Bond

    @ Jeff

    I’m still waiting for your proposal on a solar solar system. Talk is cheap chappie, show me the colour of your money my young would be interlectual …

    When it comes to beating you with logic, it’s SLAM DUNK BRA, GLORIOUS FINAL SLAM DUNK.

    That is unless you can outline a solar system for us!

  • jeff

    As it becomes more popular, solar prices have been dropping by 3% – 5% per year. Apparently however, due to increasing demand, there is a worldwide shortage of high grade silicon, and a resultant supply/demand opportunity in the free market. This means up to a 3 month waiting period for orders in SA, and an evening out (or reversal) of the price decline/s. Also affecting the broader outlook is the advent of cost effective thin film technology (pioneered in SA) and the “wait and see” factor while factories in the US and Germany, amongst others, come online and start to penetrate the market. This will still take many years, but is totally inevitable.

    Correction: while the worldwide median incoming solar radiation (insolation) yield per m2 is between 170w and 275w (24x7x365, including rainy & cloudy days) the actual power available from the sun’s rays in our clime during the day is in the region of up to 1000w per m2. This means that, even with the lower average PV efficiency of thin film, its flexibility (and much reduced use of silicon) will eventually allow roof-tiles (for example) to be covered with PV very cost effectively. An average home roof is large enough for most household’s (reasonable) power requirements. If you work PV yield out at a paltry 50w/m2 then 40m2 would be sufficient to run about as many 15w low energy light bulbs as one could possibly need, a small fridge, a computer, TV and hifi EASILY.

    At present a small 1,000w PV system with deep-cycle battery backup, sufficient for up to 5 days backup power without sunlight, and capable of running a computer, hifi and a few lights, will set you back between R15,000 to R25,000. The batteries, if used daily, will have a lifespan of about 5 years, the solar panels have a guarantee of 25 years.

    At present fully grid-connected household systems, roughly in the 9kW range (my estimate), will cost in the region of $40,000 in California. With government subsidies, breakeven is estimated at 15 – 20 years.

    I don’t wish to enter a debate about climate change, but assuming there is the slightest chance that profligate wasting of energy is a potential cause then, in my humble opinion, it is foolish in the extreme to indulge in mod-cons such as Porsche high-speed kettles and Hummer-style geysers.

    As far as atomic energy is concerned, it is too great a risk to entrust mankind (with his history of barbaric savagery and cruelty, not to mention arrogant stupidity) with toxic waste products that last for millenia… Never mind the fact that, while nuclear disarmament may be a longed for ideal, one well placed traditional bomb, or let’s say a Force Majeure, could turn any one of the state’s nuclear power plants into an Armageddon nightmare.

    Incidentally depleted Uranium has 1.7 times the mass of lead… Which makes perfect armor piercing shells.

  • John Bond

    AH GIVE UP JEFF!!!

  • John Bond

    AAGH – JUST GIVE UP JEFF!!!

    You get 190w Sq Mtr on a sunny day… for about 6 hours. (If you debate that and claim 5 times more, then just show me your references, as I did for you)

    Battery life has many more components than just survival in years (sometimes as high as 5 or 6 years), for example cycles of recharge and storage conditions. Please just log onto the internet and read the spec sheets. Expect 2 to 3 years at 60% of specified performance, less than 8 months at full performance. Most spec sheets even give you the performance graphs.

    If you have an energy usage of just 9Kw/Hr a month, you must live in the local Jondolo (squatter town) with just a light bulb and a TV set. I used 232.5 KWatt/Hrs last month and I live alone during the week.

    Silicon is not in short supply. There is a small surplus and has been for the last two quarters, even though the area of silicone used world wide has increased by 4% in the same period (See Dataweek of three weeks ago). Total sales by area of silicon will increase by 5% in the next 12 months but revenues are projected to fall by 4% . I calculate that cost of silicon will therefore fall again by about 9%. Unfortunately, solar cells won’t reap much of this benefit because there isn’t much demand for that silicon process.

    I’m not sure how energy saving light bulbs come into a solar energy discussion. Anyway, they work better on a traditional, stable 230V supply. They don’t like big voltage fluctuations.

    You’ll find information on all your electronic components from solar cells to batteries
    http://www.icmaster.com/search/HomePageAction.ad?NoLogging=yes&FirstTime=y
    Happy reading. A useful site if one is interested in true honest facts about an electronic component.

    Now I’m not going to argue the point any further unless you can put forward a realistic proposal for solar power. But I do want to mention the Straw man compliment you paid me…

    Me! A straw man – WOW thanks!

    I always appreciate a bit of good constructive criticism so I prodded myself all over yesterday morning. I just couldn’t seem to find any part of my tall large figure that felt like straw. My body, like my character and my life seemed to me to be far too opulent. There always seems to be too much unnecessary substance there, a lot of it is superfluous. That’s why in the past, I haven’t generally mentioned my extensive qualifications, maybe it’s time to change that.

    I know a bit about heavy metal shells, we test fired dummy shells meant to represent plutonium at Lahotla in August 84. That was from the old 5.5 inch gun howitzer, the same ones we later used in Angola. I was awarded the Pro Patria medal with Cuneni Clasp for that Angolan holiday (I’m being cynical when I call it a holiday). How’s that for a bit of useless (superfluous) information :)

  • jeff

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolation – amongst many other references.

    Realistically, in SA, for R300,000 or so ($40,000) you’ll get about 6kW/hr per day. I’ve been shopping around for a while now and although that price is fairly high it’s definitely in the ballpark. There are several solar suppliers springing up in SA with good websites. Still early days though. My first computer was a ZX81 in 1981… that had 1k RAM standard, and an optional 4k RAM pack. It feels kinda like when I bought my first ‘personal computer’ though, in 1988. XT’s proved the concept but the 80286 ran home with the ball.

    By the way, welcome to “Sector Loaf Shedding”. Geeks in SA should be rushing to solar suppliers in droves. The entry point for a PV system with 5 day backup for your PC, TV and DVD entertainment center seem to be at roughly the same price as latest generation PC prices. R10 to R20k… and that hasn’t changed much at all in the last 20 years.

  • jeff

    Correction. Sorry, the 4 x 6v batteries needed for 5 days of backup (without sun) would cost about R25k by themselves. Eek! I’ll have to settle for about a 2 day bad weather contingency.

  • jeff

    Correction again, that should be K (kilobytes), not k (kilobits). That’s a common Telkon comfusion. And of course it should be KB and kb, since I also use k to indicate ,000’s … but now I’m just being pedantic to beat you to the punch.

  • oldfox

    Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries can undergo 2000 full charge-discharge cycles. They are also intrinsically safe.
    Battery of choice(?) for electric vehicles. Also specified for the MIT led One Laptop Per Child project.

  • http://www.wildcoast.com jeff

    Solar curtains, anyone?

    “Kennedy and her team have calculated that by covering just 10 percent of a roof area in Porto, Portugal, solar curtains could provide as much as 70 percent of the average electricity used by a typical household each day.

    “It goes to show that you don’t need a very large area. We’ve calculated that 15 square meters would be enough.””

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/07/01/solar.textiles/index.html

  • http://www.wildcoast.com jeff

    Interesting read about a home solar installation in California:

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2308674,00.asp

  • Velabahleke

    Interesting read indeed, Jeff. In the link
    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=SV_HS_Solar_Power_Systems&langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053, BP has teamed up with Home Depot for installation of solar panels in the US with federal, state and local governments even offering capital subsidies, or ‘buy-down’ programs.

    So when I got back home (SA) I looked around and I found installation companies do exist but they are just not doing black townships right now. So I looked into bringing in a buddy of mine from Colorado to do the installation, BUT I was warned that he is not certified so he will have to work under a South African. But South Africans are not going to the townships.. Long story short everything in South Africa just becomes political..and God I was not even looking for a subsidy…

    Now I’m honestly considering migrating.

  • http://www.wildcoast.com jeff

    Velabahleke,

    Please don’t even consider leaving. We need you here. I’ve seen many of your posts and consider your input invaluable.

    SA has had an awful exodus of intellectuals and capacitated individuals, and we need every one of us that still remain.

    While the particular government subsidies and facilities for solar may not exist, there is a healthy framework for any development project to obtain support and finance… given the impetus of knowing individuals.

    I live and work on the Wild Coast, and manage a community project covering mussel rehabilitation, nursery, community and home gardens…. funded by the DEAT SRPP budget. The people I deal with in the department are fantastic, and are doing nothing less than working toward the good of ALL.

    Our staff receive SMME and other training where their final assessment is basically a business plan and funding proposal within the framework of the currently available facilities. People seem to believe that nothing is happening; but that is because they are doing nothing themselves.

    There is no shortage of funding or good intentions from our government (and I’m NOT an ANC fan by any means) for worthwhile project proposals from any SA citizen.

    It just takes vision and will.

    Please sublimate the negativity and take a stand for the future of our country, and for Africa in general.

    If you want more information on the work I’m doing, or some contact people in the department, please feel free to mail me at [email protected].

    -jeff

  • Velabahleke

    Thank you, Jeff. I’ll definately get in touch but let me clear my mind first.

    I have found in the July issue of PHYSICS TODAY a home implementation experiment by an astrophyics professor, from the University of California, San Diego. The report/article is available free-of-charge at the AIP-PHYSICS TODAY webpage

    “http://ptonline.aip.org/dbt/dbt.jsp?KEY=PHTOAD&Volume=LASTVOL&Issue=LASTISS”,

    “Home photovoltaic systems for physicists”

    “Thomas W. Murphy, Jr.” ([email protected])

    Professor Murphy’s experiment does not necessarily provide any new information other than what some in this blog have already pointed out, but I find it to be interesting in that he has actually installed a system for specific use in some part of his house and is in his paper providing in a scientific manner calculation as an argument for a solar solution.

    I think it might be valuable for those of us who have successfully installed a PV system to publish their observations either as a function of time (depending on how long you have had the system installed – and how long it takes one to break even) or size. Preferrably these could again be published in Physics Today (a whole issue could be dedicated to PV systems)- Which I prefer because it tends to make articles of popular interest available free, in this way (and in my mind) it becomes easier to influence policy. I think we should be moving torwards a scenario where negative consumption from the national grid (if possible) should be rewarded. Unfortunately I don’t quite understand how the South African Journal of Science (SAJS) works, but in my experience it might be easier to publish in internationally acclaimed “Nature” or “Science” journals than in the SAJS or maybe SAJS may have found my requests for article submissions to be ramblings of a madman.

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