Technology Areas


The South African energy landscape is changing rapidly to increase, at unprecedented levels, the contribution of renewable energy sources onto the grid, propelled by the Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programmes (REIPPP), led by the Department of Energy. Critical for South Africa in the short to medium term, is stabilising security of supply, balancing the green economy agenda with the developmental needs of the country, as well as improving energy access to the masses.

Business Unit Purpose

To support the development of an innovative, competitive and sustainable energy industry that supports South Africa’s transition to a low carbon economy, contributing to the energy security of supply and the creation of emerging industries. The Energy Unit will contribute towards resolving the energy challenge by focussing on the areas that have the potential to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Our Objectives

To fund technologies that contributes towards:

a) Strengthening security of supply; and

b) Supporting the Government’s efforts of transition to a low carbon economy through proliferation of clean energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies.

Technology Focus Areas

  • Bioenergy technologies
  • Renewable energy technologies
  • Energy Management technologies
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technologies
  • Clean coal technologies
  • Oil and gas

These emerging technologies have the potential to contribute to reducing unemployment which will consequently assist in addressing poverty and inequality in the country while simultaneously addressing the challenge of inclusive economic development.  

Contact our Business Unit

Nanga Mjila - Coordinator

Tel: 012 472 2713

Exciting Innovations

Tiisetso Development Solutions (Pty) Ltd – eSentry

Currently 36% of fires in South Africa, each year, are caused by electrical faults. The result is a financial loss of more than R73 million and does not take the loss of human life into account. Research revealed that people still use electricity in a manner that results in electrical circuits being overloaded, often ending up with electrical fires. Tiisetso Development Services developed a patented SABS-NRCS compliant and authorised eSentry which is an addition to existing ready boards. This gives the user immediate feedback on the instantaneous power being consumed, by an LED above each plug point that gives an indication of the power consumed by way of a varying flash period.

This won the company a dti Technology Award. The market validation of the eSentry pilot project conducted in one of the townships within the City of Tshwane, revealed behavioural changes that resulted in users avoiding the overloading of electrical circuits. The eSentry is available to new installations as an already added fixture to ready boards prior to installation, or as retrofit to existing installed ready boards.

InnoVenton: Micro-Algae

InnoVenton (Institute for Chemical Technology) has received funding to investigate the possibility of generating biofuels, using a colony of micro-algae strands and cyano-bacteria as feedstock. Mainly intended to produce biofuels as a blend with existing transport fuels, NMMU then discovered the benefits of coal-algae agglomerates, a blend of micro-algae with coal fines to produce a cleaner coal which incorporates a biomass component.

The agglomerated material can be used to generate electricity or produce transport fuels. The institute is in the process of concluding independent verification tests with international and local companies in order to determine marketability of its product as it promotes the use of environment-friendly transport fuels and addresses the environmental pollution problem associated with high mineral particles in the atmosphere.