Power Electronics / Power Management

UCT team to build solar powered house

10 October 2018 Power Electronics / Power Management

Solar Decathlon challenges teams to design and build a ‘green’ house of between 55 and 110 square metres, powered by only solar energy and equipped with technically advanced building and energy technologies. This should be done using local ingenuity, craftsmanship and materials.

UCT senior lecturers Mike Louw and Kevin Fellingham (School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics), and Dr Dyllon Randall (Department of Civil Engineering), have been brought on board Team Mahali – based at Stellenbosch University’s Sustainability Institute – for their design skills and knowledge of innovative waste-water systems, respectively.

Louw commented: “Part of the design theme is inspired by the central place of the tree in African culture: a place of meeting, education and important community decision-making. The house has been designed for conditions in Morocco but also for other African contexts.”

Locally available and recycled materials have been used as far as possible.

The latter area of the structure is being led by former and current students in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment – Gordon Rae, Muven Naidoo and Elouise Pretorius, with input from Randall.

Rae, Naidoo and Pretorius are implementing a wide range of sustainable water practice and technology into the house, ranging from composting toilets and grey-water systems to advanced water management and monitoring, as well as rainwater harvesting.

The house will be built in Stellenbosch, then dismantled and shipped to Morocco for reassembly on the test sites in Mohammed VI Green City in Benguerir. During the final phase of the competition, the house will be open to the public.

“We’re merging very high-tech digital design manufacturing with traditional crafting in the making of an identity for the house,” Louw explained. The design phase of the project is due mid-November, after which the team moves on to completing construction documentation.

Although Team Mahali has $50 000 (just over R700 000) in seed funding from the Moroccan government, they still need to raise R3 million and are looking for funders and donations of furniture and energy-efficient household appliances from retailers.

This project is investigating the potential for upskilling and job creation on the building side, using people outside academia. For example, local craftswomen will be employed to supply a large proportion of the building’s components. Two members of Team Mahali recently cycled 1000 km across Morocco to raise funds. They have also launched a crowd-funding campaign.

For more information contact Aamirah Sonday, University of Cape Town, +27 21 650 5427, aamirah.sonday@uct.ac.za, www.uct.ac.za

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Microchip expands its mSiC solutions
EBV Electrolink Power Electronics / Power Management
The highly integrated 3,3 kV XIFM plug-and-play digital gate driver is designed to work out-of-the-box with high-voltage SiC-based power modules to simplify and speed system integration.

Dual-port USB-C power delivery solution
Altron Arrow Power Electronics / Power Management
Infineon’s CYPD7272-68LQXQ is the tray packing option of the company’s dual-port USB-C power delivery solution and features an integrated dual-port USB-C PD + DC-DC controller.

Parallel redundancy power module
Conical Technologies Power Electronics / Power Management
The LIR40-40 is a wide input range DC-DC module, with a constant output of 48 V at a nominal output current of up to 40 A.

Motor protection relay front-end
NewElec Pretoria Power Electronics / Power Management
Newelec’s Motor Protection Relay front-end software isn’t just another tool, it’s a game changer that puts control firmly in your hands.

High-power three-phase supplies
Current Automation Power Electronics / Power Management
The units from Meanwell can either be supplied with a three-phase three-wire delta input of 196 to 305 V AC, or they can use a three-phase four-wire star connection of 340 to 530 V AC.

Make your small asset tracker last longer
Altron Arrow Editor's Choice Power Electronics / Power Management
This design solution reviews a typical asset tracking solution, and shows how the MAX3864x nanopower buck converter family, with its high efficiency and small size, enables longer battery life in small portables.

Local procurement should be top of mind in mine-owned solar power projects
Power Electronics / Power Management
Recent changes in government legislation have enabled businesses to develop up to 100 MW energy plants with very little red tape.

The next big shift in SA's energy infrastructure
Power Electronics / Power Management
High-voltage (HV) LiFePO4 battery energy storage systems, commonly referred to as BESS, which drastically improve the power reliability prospects for businesses, have been around for some time, but expect to see a massive surge in 2024.

Multi-channel electronic load series
Conical Technologies Power Electronics / Power Management
ITECH has recently announced the release of their upgraded IT8700P+ series multi-channel electronic loads. This new series supports master-slave parallel configuration between all the modules, allowing for different modules to be mixed and matched for synchronisation.

Self-extinguishing batteries
Power Electronics / Power Management
The most commonly used electrolyte, which is highly combustible – a medium composed of a lithium salt and an organic solvent – is replaced with materials found in a commercial fire extinguisher.