Brilliant homegrown SA geyser invention another nail in Eskom's coffin
JOHANNESBURG -- Eskom is a bizarre creature. Despite having surplus electricity (at least recently), it still wants to hike tariffs – an abnormal request highlighting the dysfunction that occurs when a state-owned company has an electricity monopoly. So, anything that then decreases electricity demand – including the ramping up of solar and wind technology – should be welcome in South Africa. Enter then an Eastern Cape inventor, Sandiswa Qayi from East London, with a completely left-field idea. She’s developed a device that fits onto a geyser and switches on hot and cold water in a more energy efficient way. A brilliant idea. – Gareth van Zyl
By Kyle Venktess, Fin24
Johannesburg – An Eastern Cape innovator may have found the solution to reducing the cost of a geyser's energy consumption with a simple contraption to heat water as and when one needs it.
Sandiswa Qayi from East London has devised a silicone sleeve - the HotSpot - which is fitted to a geyser's element to heat water in the tank more efficiently.
The sleeve is currently being installed in homes as part of a pilot project.
Qayi's invention was created out of the frustrations of continuously switching a geyser, one of the biggest energy consumers in a household - on and off.
"Switching a geyser on and off like many people do only affects an electricity bill on a certain kind of geyser and only when done during strategic times during the day," Qayi told Fin24.
She explained that when a geyser was switched off and on again to restore heat to the water it would consume the same amount of energy to restore the water to usable heat.
"The HotSpot allows for the hot water to rise to the top of the geyser, while the cold water settles to the bottom. It allows to for the geyser to operate like a kettle to heat water as and when it is needed to be hot," Qayi told Fin24.
Prof. Stephen Tangwe, an energy researcher at the University of Fort Hare in Alice in the Eastern Cape, who endorsed the invention, said that it is expected to reduce energy consumption of the geyser drastically.
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"We have piloted the project in several households around the Eastern Cape. What we have noticed is that all of the households that have the HotSpot are very happy with how drastically the amount of their electricity bill had reduced by," Tangwe told Fin24.
Tangwe said despite the project still being in its early stages, the potential energy reduction the device showed could save households more than 27% less on their electricity bills each month.
Qayi's invention has since been incubated by the Grassroots Innovation programme, an initiative by the Department of the Science and Technology's Technology Localisation and Implementation Unit (TLIU) and incubated by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The programme is aimed at funding the ideas of aspiring entrepreneurs, turning them into fully fledged businesses.
The programme is also currently incubating Nkosana Madi from Springs in Gauteng, who developed a hybrid motorised bicycle and Phumlani Ntloko from Pretoria, who created a Computer Numeric Machine (CNC) used to test motherboard prototypes and 3D print at a fraction of the cost.