The Department of Mechanical Engineering under the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at the University of Botswana recently showcased a number of projects during a breakfast seminar at the 2011 Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) Global Expo.
Among the many, Dr Batani presented a solar operated Absorption refrigerator system, a HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator” \o “Refrigerator” refrigerator that uses a heat source, in this instance solar energy, to provide the energy needed to drive the cooling system.
It would be most convenient to use in places where electricity is unavailable or expensive; it also aides in conservation of electricity, which has proven to be scarce in Botswana.
Also presented was the Automated Bio Gas Digester, which uses cow dung to produce energy. Biogas is produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Cow dung gas primarily consists of methane and carbon dioxide; it also has traces of hydrogen and nitrogen. It can be used as a fuel, by doing so, its usage conserves electricity and fossil fuels, and it also has the potential to reduce climate changes by reducing water and air pollution.
There was also one they called the Solar Classroom Heater, which, through the use of solar energy, not only had the ability to work as a heater but went as far as being able to work as clothes drier, oven and dehydrate food to produce items like dried fruit.
The show stealer of the day, however, was the custom made machine for the Morula sweet producing ladies from Gabane. This
machine de-stones the Morula fruit and produces a paste from the skin, juice and pulp, which will then be ready for processing and be turned into fruit.
Dr Batani explained to participants that this innovation will help improve efficiency and ultimately increase the overall production rate thus improving the business and its ability to increase supply to meet the demand.
These initiatives not only play a role in conservation of the environment and natural resources but also play a fundamental role in economic diversification and since “Botswana is a rapidly developing country, committed to global trade and to the diversification of its economy” the Department of Mechanical Engineering has a vital role to play in that area and they are making head way.