WWF-SA awards recognise climate innovations | WWF South Africa

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WWF-SA awards recognise climate innovations

WWF South Africa has named the three winners of the South African Climate Solver Awards.

WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) has named the three winners of the South African Climate Solver Awards, which were established to support small businesses that are developing and commercialising innovations that reduce carbon emissions and boost energy access around the world.

“Innovation, by its nature, brings value to people. WWF believes that this value should include radically reduced carbon emissions, energy access and be compatible with a transition to a renewable energy future,” says WWF-SA CEO Morné du Plessis.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Cape Town, WWF Senior Adviser Climate Innovation, Global Climate and Energy Initiative (GCEI) Stefan Henningsson said:
“With South Africa accounting for a quarter of Africa's GDP and advancing in the global innovation index, it is very exciting for WWF to start exploring the country's ability to use that economic power to better develop and scale climate change innovations for the regional and global market. The many small solution providers of today need to grow big fast in order for us to cope with pressing sustainability challenges.”

“An increasing number of creative South African entrepreneurs will have many of the solutions we need to see growing on the market in order to simultaneously combat climate change and energy poverty in the years ahead. Attention to the needs of these solution providers by policy makers, investors and corporates is crucial to enable the growth of the clean technology sector and disrupt the current high-carbon paradigms.”

The winning innovations demonstrate the entrepreneurs’ success in delivering the same customer service, but with 80% or more reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This reflects the kind of transformational rather than incremental change that we need to see globally in decades to come and the criteria that should inform procurement processes to boost such solutions’ access to markets. In addition to the potential for substantial GHG emission reductions, the selected projects contribute to a wide range of sustainability benefits, including deforestation and the preservation of wild fish stocks.

Off-grid solar well for rapid rural electrification
The SolarTurtle, a product developed by social entrepreneur Ugesi Gold functions as a solar energy distribution point or mobile power station. Packaged in a shipping container, the container unfolds during the day to charge numerous battery packs via solar power. These battery packs can be taken to where they are needed to provide a versatile source of electricity.

The technology can reduce the use of kerosene, which is a primary energy source in many rural communities, while increasing access to cheaper, cleaner, safer energy for longer periods.

If Solar Turtle could meet a market penetration of 100 villages by 2024 it could service 720 000 people and provide avoided emissions from kerosene of 7000 tonnes of CO2.

Animal feed production from fly larvae by nutrient recycling replacing fishmeal
Nutrient recycling company AgriProtein Technologies has devised a solution supplying sustainable protein sources for animal feed. The mass rearing of flies to produce eggs, followed by harvesting and ongrowing, provides larvae that consume organic waste such as food and abattoir waste. The larvae are a valuable source of sustainable animal feed protein.

Replacing fishmeal in animal feeds results in transformative reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be incurred in ocean trawling, converting of fish to meal and inland transport by road of fishmeal to producers of feed formulations. The product, Magmeal, is estimated to emit 81% less greenhouse gas emissions per tonne than fishmeal. The climate gains are however a co-benefit compared to Magmeal’s potential to assist protection of natural fish stocks that are in rapid decline, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill sites, and lessen the massive impact of meat consumption.

By replacing fishmeal and taking an 8.7% global market share, Magmeal has the potential to reduce emissions by 23 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2024.

Sustainably heat-treated and impregnated local timber to replace tropical hardwood

Rhino Modified Wood is a high-durability timber product suitable for building and decorative applications. The sustainably heat-treated and impregnated local timber provides a strong, non-toxic replacement to tropical hardwood.

The product is an environmental, social and economic solution to the growing demand for wood in a world of rapidly diminishing rain forests, thus contributing to the slowing of deforestation. The greenhouse gas impact is significant, with estimates showing that we can avoid 95% of the GHG by opting for applications with Rhino Wood rather than unsustainably sourced Red Meranti (tropical hardwood).
Modified soft wood like Rhino Modified Wood has the potential to reduce emissions by 22,5 million tonnes of GHG per year by 2024 by taking a market share of 14.4 % of the global sawn hardwood market and replacing unsustainably sourced tropical hardwood.

“Calculating the potential carbon emission reductions associated with the products that were submitted to the Climate Solver platform required consideration of the full life cycle of the products and those they were replacing, not just the direct impacts of the products themselves. Furthermore, some high level projections needed to be made about the potential markets for similar products moving into the future. A number of assumptions were made, based on literature, to allow for defensible calculations,” says Brett Cohen of The Green House, the sustainability consulting company that conducted the external carbon emission reduction calculations of the submissions.

WWF partners on the Climate Solver project include; Centre for Renewable and Sustainably Energy Studies (CRSES), University of Stellenbosch, GreenCape, The Green House, Atlantic Specialised Finance, University of the Free State, Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (PEETS) and University of Johannesburg.

More information on Climate Solver is available at:

2014 Climate Solver Winners (from left), Paul Watson, Jason Drew, James Van der Walt, Scott Sargent, Stuart Prior

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