Pretoria Researcher Ranked amongst 2013’s International Green Talents
South African Heinrich Badenhorst, a researcher for SARChI (South African Research Chairs Initiative) in Carbon Materials and Technology at the University of Pretoria, has been selected as one of 25 winners by a high ranking jury of international experts.
The focus of Badenhorst’s research is carbon and graphite materials for renewable energy capture and storage.
For the fifth time the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) called on young scientists with bright ideas to apply for the prestigious “Green Talents - International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development”.
Attracted by the chance to receive unique access to the German research sector, over 430 up-and-coming scientists from 80 countries submitted their applications. Out of this impressive pool of talented researchers a high ranking jury of experts selected the 25 Green Talents Awardees2013 . Badenhorst was selected as one of these.
With an abundance of carbon and graphite materials in South Africa, Heinrich Badenhorst aims to solve two problems at once: take poor quality carbon black, recovered from recycled scrap tyres, and use it to capture solar energy.
Badenhorst and his co-winners have been invited to Germany to visit top locations in the field of sustainability research during a two-week science forum. Here they will gain a deeper insight into the German research landscape, learn about state-of-the-art research and exchange ideas with leading experts in the context of individual appointments. To deepen their newly created networks the Green Talents will then be invited to return to Germany for a research stay of up to three months at an institution of their choice in 2014.
Furthermore, the 25 Green Talents will be honoured in a celebratory award ceremony conducted by the State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte (BMBF) and in the presence of representatives of participating institutions, jury members, and other distinguished guests.
As South Africa is among one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, energy and infrastructure demands are rising. It is critical to have credible and knowledgeable advisors who can ensure that renewable energy makes up a significant component of this new capacity.
“It would be a shame if developing nations have to go through the same fossil fuel to renewable cycle that the first world nations are going through now,” Badenhorst says.
Benefitting from his international work experience, Badenhorst is creating more efficient storage media for thermal solar energy by utilising different graphite materials and low-cost static systems.
His project focus is split into two: firstly, high-temperature, concentrated solar power for industrial use and electricity generation; secondly, low-temperature, thermal power for rural heating and warm water applications. With this research, Badenhorst aims to ensure that the locally available resources are developed and utilised to their full potential.
The jury noted the tremendous impact of Badenhorst's research for the sustainable modernisation of the African energy supply.
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