Sandiswa wraps up energy award

Sleeve made in the Eastern Cape to improve geyser efficiency lauded

An Eastern Cape entrepreneur has won an award for an innovative energy saving device that can be fitted to geysers.

Sandiswa Qayi, who heads start-up business Amahlathi Eco-Tech (AET) in East London, walked away with the Youth-led Business Award in this year’s Global Clean tech Innovation Programme for small and medium-sized enterprises for its device called the Hot Spot.

It functions like a sleeve and can be retrofitted over any standard geyser element to push hot water from the bottom to the top, using at hermosiphon method of passive heat exchange, based on natural convection.

This makes it quicker to get hot water while consuming less electricity.

The device can provide 50 litres of hot water in 30 minutes.

Qayi described herself as someone who had previously kept switching the geyser on and off to save energy.

“But with this device one does not have to anymore,” she said.

“What is also great about it is that the device can be attached to an existing geyser and one does not have to replace it.”

Qayi’s award was one of several announced by Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor at a ceremony in Pretoria last week.

Pandor commended the Cleantech programme, which includes training and mentorship, for showcasing the country as an innovative nation and for also creating platforms for linking entrepreneurs to investors, businesses and commercial partners.

She said this had the potential to commercialise new products and services and ultimately create new jobs.

Qayi, who has had executive and project management experience in the manufacturing and economic development fields for more than five years, said the programme had taught her the value of understanding the development of a business model through validation.

She said this had enabled AET to develop a sound and bankable plan.

“Winning this award for me,  as a black female who comes from a rural background, made me realise that anything is possible and that it is very important to take every available opportunity.

“This award puts the company on the map, enabling us not only to compete at national level but to also compete globally,” she said.

At present, AET is working on commercialising the device and installing it in more than 40 households around Buffalo City next year.


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