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Published on : Friday, June 19, 2015
A solar powered-car, designed by University of Johannesburg students, departs Thursday on a gruelling 4,100-kilometre journey across three Southern African countries as part of a research initiative to find alternative energy solutions.
The car, named Illanga2, will travel about 400 km a day. It will set off at 6 am local time (0400 hours UTC) Thursday. The 12-day solar drive will start in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, then proceed to Namibia and will end in Gaborone in Botswana.
The project by the University of Johannesburg Energy Movement is aimed at promoting skills development, energy conservation and sustainability through technology, says Nicholas Harvey, the Technical Manager for the project.
Noting that they have used the car to show how beneficial renewable energy can be, he adds: “You are not going to see cars like these driving on the road soon but we use this as a vehicle to go to schools to companies and show them what we are doing with renewable energy and how its’ actually a viable technology.”
With the alternative energy movement sweeping across the world, South Africa doesn’t want to be left behind. It’s for this reason that national power utility Eskom is investing in engineers such as the ones emerging from the University of Johannesburg to find alternative solutions to energy problems plaguing the country.
The project comes a few months before the United Bations climate change conference, COP21, due to be held in France in November.