Resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) continuously applies preventive environmental strategies to processes, products and services to increase efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment. By modifying and improving manufacturing processes, efficiency and savings can be realized through reduced wastage of energy, water and materials.
The National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) is a key industrial sustainability programme of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), hosted by the CSIR. Its mandate is to enable South African industry sectors to increase their competitiveness and sustainability through more resource efficient and cleaner production.
Industrial Resource Efficiency Conference
The recent NCPC-SA Industrial Resource Efficiency Conference has shown that the local manufacturing industry is eager to educate itself on how energy, water, materials and other resource efficiencies can add to competitiveness, sustainability and profitability.
The two-day conference was held in Gauteng on 11 and 12 March 2013, and was organised to mark “ten years of resource efficiency and cleaner production” as the NCPC-SA ended off its tenth year, and some of the speakers took a retrospective look at what impact has been made in those ten years.
"We are proud to have unlocked potential savings of around R175 million through our RECP activities in the last ten years," said Ndivhuho Raphulu, director of the NCPC-SA.
Competitiveness occupied a large part of the dialogue at the conference and presentations demonstrated the Potential positive impact of RECP principles in a declining South African manufacturing economy. Global trends are showing that opportunities exist for businesses and countries that formalise these principles.
Good news for industry is that progressive government policies are providing a platform from which key sectors can be positioned for global competitiveness. These issues were brought to light on day two, through the keynote address by Gerhard Fourie, chief director: Green Industries at the dti. Fourie touched on government’s plans, including finance models, to assist industry to become more competitive, as well as its efforts in moving towards a greener economy.
"South Africa will require a number of incentives over a period of time to move industries away from energy intensive, carbon intensive industries to less energy and carbon intensive labour absorbing industries," said Fourie.
The conference also included contributions by some of the international role-players who played a part in the establishment of the NCPC-SA after the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002. These contributions, as well as the key roles of the CSIR and the dti were acknowledged at an awards dinner on the first evening of the conference.
The dinner also acknowledged the commitment made by numerous companies to the implementation of energy efficiency and RECP.
At the same dinner, the winners of the Cleantech SME Accelerator Programme 2012/13 were announced, as were the top achievers in the NCPC-SA’s Sustainable Intrapreneurship programme. The latter programme places engineering students in companies to evaluate and monitor energy, water and material usage as well as waste management, whilst being mentored by industry experts.
The Cleantech SME Accelerator Programme’s aim is to identify and provide support and exposure to new innovative clean technologies developed by South African entrepreneurs.
Submissions were made during 2012 in two tracks, namely break-through technology; or adaptive and appropriated technology. Six finalists, three from each track, exhibited their unique and ground-breaking technologies at the NCPC-SA conference and the winners were announced at the awards dinner on the evening of day one.
Winner in the breakthrough technology track was Invento Corp (Pty) Ltd. They have designed two innovations that are making waves in the poultry and cattle industry. The first is a carcass meal machine that is used to burn the entire carcasses of dead chickens so that they don’t contaminate the environment. The burned products form a by-product that is used for animal feed that is rich in protein.
The second invention is the oil burner flame. This machine works with used vehicle oil in order to provide heat for chicken houses. Further uses for both technologies are being developed.
Winners in the adaptive and appropriated technology track was 5 Star Stoves, who set up clean energy businesses franchised and opened by the local community members, in energy deprived communities.
The stoves use non-toxic biomass pellets. There is less smoke and the use of replenishable biomass creates a carbon-neutral source of fuel, saving 2.5 tons of CO2 per stove per year.
For speaker presentations and a video recording of the presentations, go to: http://streaming.csir.co.za. For more information visit www.ncpc.co.za
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to the NCPC-SA for the information given to write this article.