SA inventor scores big with gadget inspired by pensioner dad

SA inventor Andre Nel is a runner-up in an engineering competition held by the Royal Academy of Engineering
Picture: Supplied

A South African inventor has scored one of the top honours in a continent-wide engineering competition held by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Andre Nel was one of three runners-up for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The ceremony was held in Nairobi‚ Kenya‚ on Tuesday night.

Nel was beaten by Nigerian inventor Godwin Benson‚ 27, whose Tuteria online platform links students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budgets.

The 55-year-old Nel was inspired by his father.

“It started when my father‚ who is a pensioner‚ told me that he couldn’t really afford to take a bath anymore‚” Nel said last week.

“I realised it was a major problem in South Africa and on the continent. It was shocking for me‚ but also a huge inspiration to start working on a solution.”

Nel’s invention is the GreenTower Microgrid‚ a hybrid solar microgrid‚ which uses 90% less energy to heat water than a geyser.

Benson pocketed £25 000 (R425 285) for winning the competition‚ while Nel and the other finalists each received £10 000 (R170 157) for making it so far in the competition.

The other two runners-up in the competition were Uganda’s Hindu Nabulumba for his Yaaka Digital Learning Network‚ which teachers and students can use to share academic knowledge and materials‚ while Kenya’s Kelvin Gacheru’s Mobi-Water allows users to save more than 30% of their water by allowing them to monitor and control water in their water tanks using a mobile phone.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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