Young KwaZulu-Natal innovator shines with cell tower backup project at Eskom Expo ISF

Monday, 16 October 2023: A young innovator from KwaZulu-Natal has been awarded at the 43rd Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) for his research project which uses renewable energy resources like solar- and wind power as a backup power source for cell phone towers during loadshedding.

John Hamilton, 12, from Khethani Christian School represented the KwaZulu-Natal Far North Region at the ISF, where he was awarded the HJ van der Bijl Award (presented by Teraco) which consisted of a R9,000 cash prize.

“My project was inspired by seeing the negative impact on people’s lives in our community because of poor network coverage during loadshedding. Also, in summer after big storms, we often don’t have a network for many hours, sometimes even for days. I wanted to use renewable energy sources to solve an electricity problem we are experiencing,” said Hamilton, who was also awarded a Bronze medal for his research project.

“It was a very good experience to be part of the Eskom Expo ISF, and see many other interesting projects. Getting to know the kind people in my team was wonderful. The Special Awards evening was very nice and fun, because the MC, Bunny Majaja, led the ceremony and made us feel so special. I was shocked to win as it was my first time participating at the ISF. I did not expect to receive such a huge award. I will never forget that moment,” he said.

Hamilton enjoys building things with his hands using electrical parts or paper. He also enjoys playing chess, swimming, reading scientific books, and conducting little experiments. While only in Grade 6 currently, his dream is to become an electrical engineer or a Maths teacher one day.

Eskom Acting Group Executive for Government and Regulatory Affairs, Natasha Sithole, said: “Being the steadfast supporter of the Eskom Expo, we were overjoyed to witness how it has evolved into a fertile ground for nurturing the aspirations of young scientists. Eskom firmly believes that investments in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Innovation (STEMI) act as the catalyst for uncovering enduring solutions to our nation’s pressing challenges. The ISF showcased youthful ingenuity, as learners explored diverse topics, from behavioural studies to pioneering experiments, IT, machine learning, artificial intelligence applications, and the application of physics and mathematics”.

Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, said: “Learners like Hamilton hail from a rural part of our country that lacks the resources found in most major cities, but that did not deter him from thinking creatively and pursuing his ideas to create a prototype. The insight displayed by this learner goes beyond the school curriculum as he had to do a lot of research on his own. This is the calibre of learners produced by the Eskom Expo and it gives our country hope for a brighter future with great engineering ideas like those displayed by Hamilton.”

For the complete list of 2023 Eskom Expo International Science Fair winners, click the link:

To download images, click here:

For media queries contact: JeVanne Gibbs at [email protected]


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