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Young Free State scientist’s prototype solves everyday problem
TUESDAY, 09 OCTOBER 2018: Travelling home in a taxi with his cell phone’s battery about to die, Lebohang Ngake, a grade 10 learner from Setjhaba-Se-Maketse Combined School in Botshabelo, came up with the brilliant idea that would earn him a prestigious award at the 2018 Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF).
"The wind blowing through the window made me think of a way to generate energy from wind," recalls the innovative young scientist. After applying his mind and exceptional scientific skills, Lebohang used rubbish from the dumpsite next to his shack to build a prototype that is clipped onto a window of a moving vehicle. "When the wind particles collide with the turbine, it creates kinetic energy which is converted into electrical energy by the generator. The regulator is used to regulate the power generated to charge the mobile device," he explains.
Lebohang won a gold medal for his project and was awarded the Eskom Expo Best Development Project at the 38th ISF held at Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre in Johannesburg from 02 October until 05 October 2018. 512 finalists from 35 regions across South Africa and other countries such as Mexico, Ghana, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania competed at the 2018 Eskom Expo ISF.
Every year title sponsor Eskom awards bursaries and four Special Awards to the Best Female, Best Development, Best Energy and Best Energy Efficiency projects which are selected amongst the energy categories.
In closing the 38th ISF, Eskom Group Executive: Generation / Acting Group Executive Risk and Sustainability, Thava Govender, said the Eskom Expo is a demonstration of Eskom’s commitment to helping develop skilled science and engineering professionals, not only in South Africa but also the rest of the continent. "Creating skills in these fields and bridging the developmental gap between nations is a worldwide challenge and the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is one way of attempting to do that. Each region needs to start at home and address this challenge in its own backyard. We are doing that while we also support other countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia. The competition is making a significant contribution to sustainable socio-economic development in Africa by empowering its children."