The sun is not getting a free ride at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) where a new cost-saving bicycle and scooter pilot project is about to be launched.
“Freewheeling” will see an initial ten staff members use solar battery-powered bicycles and scooters to get around North and South campuses, while their vehicles remain under a new covered parking facility hosting solar panels.
The solar energy from these panels will be fed directly into the university’s electricity grid in yet another move to expand the use of renewable energy at the university.
“We’re excited about this and especially the buy-in of key staff members who will set the example by cycling to their classes once on campus,” said NMMU Director of Projects and Planning Greg Ducie who along with Professor Ernest van Dyk of NMMU’s Centre for Energy Research initiated the project.
The university is already powering various other lecture halls and residences via wind and solar energy thanks to the coordination efforts of its Centre for Energy Research, and has several more innovative and cost-saving efforts in the pipeline.
If the freewheeling project proves successful it will be further rolled out, and plans will be initiated to introduce solar-powered golf carts for technical staff instead of fuel-hungry vehicles.
Ducie said he was grateful for the support of Innowind, a company that had agreed to supply the panels free of charge.
“We need to focus on sustainable solutions and instill in our students a responsibility towards the natural environment.
“Freewheeling also responds to the university’s Vision 2020 dream for the kind of university it wishes to be one that leads the way when it comes to renewable energy solutions,” said Ducie.
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2012/02/freewheeling-with-free-energy/