Change the world


Nelson Mandela University’s pioneering microalgae-to-energy project received high praise in the national parliament recently for its versatile eco-solution.

The University’s chemical technology institute, InnoVenton, has been developing a suite of microalgae technologies over the past several years, largely funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). 

A number of patents have been filed on the use of microalgae to beneficiate waste coal fines, as well as a novel algae cultivation system.  More recently, at the request of the DST, InnoVenton has expanded the Microalgae to Energy Project into a much larger Microalgae Technologies project.

Besides being recognised for cleaning up the atmosphere by mitigating carbon dioxide to grow the algae, and being a source of renewable energy, it is also an effective fertiliser that can clean up oil-soaked soil and can even be used to produce a low-smoke, long-lasting fuel for households.

The University’s internationally recognised institute started its micro-algae project seven years ago with the aim of using the algae to mitigate harmful carbon dioxide emissions from factory flue gas and then harvesting the algal mass for various renewable energy uses.

As the project progressed, funding was received for the construction of a small-scale technical demonstration facility at the university.

In a letter from Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Baleka Mbete quoted from the minutes of the proceedings of the meeting and congratulated the team for the pioneering project and the sterling work that they have done. The team, initially led by the late Professor Ben Zeelie who passed away earlier this year, are delighted that their work has been recognised and honoured at this level.

PICTURE: Microalgae Team.

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777