Cambridge chemists make super-battery breakthrough

A breakthrough in electrochemistry at Cambridge University could lead the way to rechargeable super-batteries that pack five times more energy into a given space than today’s best batteries, greatly extending the range of electric vehicles and potentially transforming the economics of electricity storage.

Chemistry professor Clare Grey and her team have overcome technical challenges in the development of lithium-air batteries – the only cells theoretically capable of giving electric cars the range of petrol and diesel vehicles without having to carry excessively bulky and heavy battery packs.

Financial Times, 29 October 2015

Joemat-Pettersson urged to table energy plan so nuclear aim can be clear

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson must table the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) 2015 as a matter of urgency to allow parliament to scrutinise key issues contained in the document, including nuclear plans, Gordon Mackay, DA Shadow Minister of Energy, said on Sunday.

Engineering News, 2 November 2015

Coal power stations to become "stranded assets", UK climate rep warns

Speaking in Johannesburg on Monday, Britain’s former Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, who was born and educated in South Africa, said any country still building coal-fired power stations was building "white elephants".

"These are stranded assets that won’t yield electricity in 50 years' time, because you would have mothballed them in favour of clean, renewable energy coming through."

Engineering News, 3 November 2015

Necsa says nuclear energy decision is imminent

The government’s plan to build nuclear power plants will go ahead, with Cabinet "poised to make a decision" on the way forward soon, the head of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (Necsa) said.

"It will go ahead – we do not have an option," Necsa CEO Phumzile Tshelane said on Talk Radio 702 on Wednesday. He said the two choices to increase continuous power were coal and nuclear, as other methods were not viable given the deteriorating climate.

Business Day, 4 November 2015

South Africa needs new nuclear plants urgently – Eskom chief

Eskom CEO Brian Molefe said on Wednesday it was both urgent and feasible for South Africa to obtain more nuclear plants.

"We think that a nuclear programme is feasible in South Africa because nuclear plants typically have a life of beyond 60 years and the payback period, irrespective of what the amount is, typically is about 20 years," he told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises.

Engineering News, 4 November 2015

DoE satisfied with boost in South Africa’s wind energy

Wind energy is growing rapidly in South Africa and has helped to boost electricity generation during peak hours, the Department of Energy (DoE) has said.

Wind energy was seen as a powerful way forward in renewable energy in South Africa. Wind energy contributed 3357 MW, or 53%, of the overall 6300 MW of renewable energy procured by the department to date.

Engineering News, 4 November 2015

Fossil fuels to remain key component of energy mix, reiterates DoE

As South Africa continues to await the tabling of the country’s Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Department of Energy (DoE) Chief Director: Energy Planning Tshilidzi Ramuedzisi has reiterated that fossil fuels will continue to play a prominent role in the country’s energy mix, albeit at a declining rate.

Engineering News, 4 November 2015

Gas from human waste offers economic and health benefits

Gas produced by decaying human waste is a potentially major source of energy, providing electricity for millions of homes while improving sanitary conditions in developing countries, says a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

Biogas – about 60% methane – can be produced by having bacteria break down human faeces. And it would be worth the equivalent of $9.5 billion in non-renewable natural gas, the UN Institute for Water, Environment and Health said.

Business Day, 4 November 2015