As part of a new series of blogs we will be talking to some of our former students about what they are doing now. This week Mauritz Lindeque tells us about how his thesis in MSc in Architecture and Advanced, Environmental and Energy studies has influenced his career.
I was a Distance learning student on the MSc AEES program. I was living in Tanzania at the time that I started on the program. The job and responsibilities that I had while in Tanzania was as a development manager for a hunting company. We managed 9 Mill Acres of land in very remote parts of Tanzania where all of our 16 camps were off-grid and had to be self sustaining. I started the MSc program to learn more about green and sustainable development as operating with these principles reduces the demand for resources that is very expensive to transport in remote areas of Africa.
Half way through my third second year on the program I returned to South Africa to complete my Thesis. The topic was in Renewable Energy in particular Bio gas from anaerobic digestion (AD). I was employed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) South Africa, to design build and operate an automated AD. This I completed and am now employed to commercialize the patented system. The CSIR is the National Research institute that is also the largest scientific research institute on the continent of Africa.
We are now using the pilot plant as a research platform to test site specific sludge to establish the energy potential of that sludge for different clients ranging from agricultural to municipal waste to energy projects.
The waste to energy concept from municipal waste is growing in SA and we are now in the process of developing a laboratory to test mechanical or biological interventions for different sludge types that may increase the gas yield of such projects. This is to the benefit of South Africa as we have 343 Municipal waste water plants that use ADs. This was all started from that thesis for the MSc project and the development of the pilot scale automated AD.