The Jacob Marley column: Shedding the albatross

  Sir The more things change, the more they stay the same. I was cast into a melancholy frame of mind recently about my contemporary friend Sam Coleridge, a dreamy kind of fellow, who was given to devising fanciful rhymes about many things. He is celebrated for his Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which many […]

South Africa: Electricity pricing paralysing the poor

  The electricity sector in South Africa has been in a state of disruption over the last few years. The country’s power utility company, Eskom, has been under scrutiny for several reasons. Most of these reasons relate to the rolling blackouts, load-shedding episodes of 2007/8 and high levels of inefficiency. Constant tariff increases under the […]

SANSA monitoring geomagnetic storm

  According to the Space Weather Centre of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) active region 2158 near the centre of the solar disk erupted on 10 September 2014 with an X1,6 class solar flare, accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME is travelling towards Earth and was expected to impact the […]

3D printing: fast becoming a technology of note

  3D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years as the market for relatively low-cost 3D printing devices continues to grow rapidly and industrial use expands significantly. New industrial, biomedical and consumer applications will continue to demonstrate that 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through […]

Draft “drone” regulations under discussion at CARCom

  The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) tabled the draft regulations on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) before the Civil Aviation Regulations Committee (CARCom) on 3 September 2014, and further discussions will take place during September. At a UAS regulations making workshop held on 14 and 15 August 2014, the SACAA’s General Manager for Aircraft […]

LED: what the end-user should know

  It is expected that LED lighting will account for more than half the global lighting market by 2017, making it essential for the end-user to better understand this technology. Although the cost of LED products is currently higher than regular lighting systems, the demand for LED technology is growing exponentially, which will inevitably result […]

Pointing a laser at aircraft may be fun but it is dangerous

  Pointing a laser beam into the sky is a dangerous game. It could hit the cockpit screen of an aircraft and cause flash blindness. That is exactly what happened to flight SA419 on Sunday night of 31 August 2014 when the cockpit crew were blinded by a laser beam. The pilot was preparing to […]

Procurement models applied to IPP programmes in South Africa

  The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is largely viewed as a positive and innovative programme. We need a base-load procurement model that builds on the successes of the REIPPPP and extends these to base-load IPPs. Eskom’s future financial health presents a significant risk to procurement of renewables, thermal base-load and nuclear […]