About 70% of the Sub-Saharan African population still has no access to electricity, while the majority of African cities suffer from too much traffic. Power generation is a leading cause of air pollution and the single largest source of global warming emissions.
The Vehicle Energy Harvesting System as a solution tackles both problems at once by harnessing the power of traffic-flow to improve electricity access for all.
It is a portable power station that converts traffic pressure on the road into renewable electricity. Using a specially designed layer that sits on top of the road, it is possible to harvest the pressure created by vehicles and use it to power a turbine that creates electricity.
How the VEHS idea came in to life?
The idea for the VEHS was sparked in 2011 when Clement Mokoenene (The founder) watched an Airbus A380 land at an airport. He was struck by the pressure exerted onto the tarmac by the weight of a plane through its wheels when landing.
How the VEHS works?
He searched for a way to harness the energy generated by that pressure in the same way that coal is burned to create pressure to the power turbines that traditionally provide electricity.
The VEHS takes this principle and applies it to cars. The VEHS system is fitted on a road's surface and the cars driving over it create the pressure that powers a turbine. Clement claims that a busy 2km stretch of highway fitted with the system could potentially power an entire city.
According to Clement Mokoenene, the brains behind VEHS system, He said: "We don't use raw materials, water or greenhouse gases and we create zero waste, meaning we can produce our electricity without damaging the environment," he explained as part of his entry."
Way forward for VEHS
On Friday the 9th of February, 2018, VEHS won the South African leg of the Chivas Venture IV competition, walking away with R350 000, approximately USD 28,821.
A judging panel consisting of Lucas Radebe, Unathi Msengana and Stafford Masie selected Mokoenene ahead of four other social entrepreneurs for his clean electricity generation solution, the Vehicle Energy Harvesting System (VEHS).
The winner will now attend a week-long accelerator program at Oxford University. Thereafter, in May, he will represent South Africa at the global finale of the Chivas Venture 2018 in Amsterdam, where he will compete against 28 other entrants for a share of US$1-million.
African Mobilities Observatory – AMO believes that the energy choices made during this pivotal moment will have huge consequences for Africa’s health, climate, and economy for decades to come.
In conclusion, using the VEHS is a better, cleaner way to meet Africa’s energy needs. Renewable energy resources like wind, pressure, and solar power generate electricity with little or no pollution & global warming emissions, and could reliably and affordably provide up to 40% of Africa’s electricity by 2030, and 80% by 2050.
What comes into your mind whenever clean energy is mentioned/discussed?
By Joseph Semuju
Community Manager - AMO
African Mobilities Observatory - AMO, MICHELIN.
laurence Ullmann David Aurelie KOUASSI Jerry Rawlings Mbabali Alwenyi Catherine Cassidy Kenneth Kyamanywa Andy COSTA Siaka Ouattara Krapa Kouamé Sylvestre KOUASSI Kouamé Serge KOUAKOU marie-pascale baye