Individual young designers

Aritia Reyneke’s bio-fuel cooking solution is more affordable than coal or paraffin. (supplied)

Aritia Reyneke’s bio-fuel cooking solution is more affordable than coal or paraffin. (supplied)

Winner: Aritia Reyneke
Aritia Reyneke is proof that, with tenacity, innovative solutions can be found to everyday problems.

Her bio-fuel cooking solution is more affordable than coal or paraffin, it is far more environmentally friendly and it can be adapted for commercial use.

Reyneke chose ethanol, a clean bio-fuel that is safe for consumers, burns quickly and is a viable alternative to fossil fuels, which are major contributors to global warming.

She conducted a series of tests, using different concentrations of ethanol to water, to find the most cost-effective solution.

After testing six different concentrates, she arrived at the perfect ratio of 85% ethanol to water, a solution that reached and maintained heat at just the right temperature.

While ethanol is more expensive than paraffin — R9 against R5 a litre — she set about convincing households that in the long run her solution would save costs and energy, as it burns more quickly and lasts longer. It has added health benefits too, as no smoke is produced in the burning.

Runner-up: Innes Jordaan
Innes Jordaan, a grade 12 learner from Parys High School, began experimenting with ideas to improve solar geysers.

Since 2010 he has been testing what he calls the “Two Stage Geyser” at his home, to the delight of his father who told him he needed to come up with a solution of his own if he wanted to avoid having cold showers.

During the day, the water in Jordaan’s geyser is heated with a solar panel and at night when the family uses the hot water, cold water runs into the tank.

This brings it to a medium temperature and makes it easier to heat up the water faster.

Through his testing, Innes has proved that the Two Stage Geyser saves 30% or 784kWh on the household’s electricity bill each month.

Runner-up: Matthew Hoare
Enterprising youngster Matthew Hoare has come up with a novel idea for a solar heater that combines the principles of recycling with energy efficiency, offering a viable alternative to electricity.

He built a solar heater that provides a solution for heating a room and is easy to assemble, cost-efficient and easily adaptable to rural or non-electrified regions.

His design uses 100 recycled aluminium cans glued together in a grid and enclosed in a wooden box with holes at the top and the bottom, connected to swimming pool pipes that allow a flow of air into the room that is to be heated.

He conducted tests comparing an electric heater, solar heater and control room with no heater. Although the electric heater recorded the highest temperatures, the solar heater was five degrees warmer than the control.

Hoare’s model demonstrates that there are ways to live without using electricity that are not reliant on limited energy resources, are affordable for rural communities and are better for the planet.

This feature has been made possible by the Mail & Guardian's advertisers. Contents and photographs were sourced independently by the M&G's supplements editorial team. It forms part of the bigger supplement