NUST ENGINEERS GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

NUST SOLTRAIN & MATABELELAND ZIE ENGINEERS SUPPORT SOLAR THERMAL UPTAKE IN COMMUNITY

THE National University of Science and Technology engineering lecturers and Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE), showcased the SOLTRAIN project at Sir Humprey Gibbs through an Institute technical tour. SOLTRAIN is a regional initiative that seeks to reduce dependence on energy from fossil fuel through the use of solar thermal technology, supported by Austrian Development Agency and OFID.

The Sir Humprey Gibbs Institute tour was done to demonstrate the installed solar water heaters that would reduce electricity consumption. The Institute is one of the many places where SOLTRAIN project has installed these solar water heaters as flagship demonstration units.

During the tour, Eng. Mhlanga demonstrated on how the solar water heater worked firstly using the SOLTRAIN trailer before going on to the roof where the systems were 7x 300l tanks and 14 x 2m2 flat plate collectors were installed. The attendants of about 150 present included NUST and Bulawayo Polytechnic engineering students, ZERA and Ministry of Energy officials.

The solar water heaters were installed with data and monitoring equipment to help quailify energy savings. Engineering students were challenged to develop other systems to capture data. Eng. S. Mhlanga explained that this would increase the solar thermal technology uptake and access to funds if there are results to prove that energy was saved.

He added that in future these systems developed by Engineering students can be tested at the NUST Campus student’s residents to check the effectiveness of the solar heaters in saving energy.

SOLTRAIN project is currently on Phase III and this will end in July 2019. However, Eng. Mhlanga encouraged students to continue with solar technology research as we get into SOLTRAIN IV in August 2019 and beyond.

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