You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

This study sought to determine the amount of power used by a typical household for the purposes of home entertainment. As more and more people choose to purchase more elaborate home entertainment equipment, the per-household power draw of such devices will only continue to increase… (more)

The lightning flash density charts supplied by the South African Weather Services show that the frequency of lightning over South Africais increasing… (more)

Locating a fault on a power cable at one of the naval base facilities in Indiaproved to be more than usually challenging… (more)

Major international companies intend to play a major role in the imminent adoption of electric vehicles among the general public. One group is pooling all of its expertise to offer environmentally friendly easy to use, safe, available and efficient charging solutions… (more)

Heat resulting from power losses generated by equipment under load must be dissipated through the assembly enclosure cooling surface areas for non-ventilated arrangements to maintain temperature equilibrium at or below specified operating temperatures… (more)

This paper gives an overview of domestic usage of energy and describes how sound energy management practices can be employed to improve sustainability as well as the “triple bottom line” of domestic users… (more)

A recent paper by the International Dark Sky Association argues that white light may have a number of negative visual, health and environmental effects… (more)

Environmental hazards like mercury pollution, high energy costs, low lumen output and inconsistent, uneven coverage are just a few of the associations with most lighting installations found in commercial settings today… (more)

When I last wrote an article about the contractor and the Consumer Protection Act I dealt with the need for a contractor to provide a consumer with an estimate before carrying out repair or maintenance services… (more)

While electrical contractors need independent oversight to ensure there is no danger to life or property, this surely should not be provided by external agents of the Department of Labour (DoL) operating with exemptions from the competency and accreditation requirements of the Electrical Installation Regulations… (more)

While most SANS standards are items subject to agreement and do not have the force of law, they do give effect to the law. Those that do have the force of law are often not understood, ignored or disregarded… (more)

As the South African Council for Automation and Control celebrates its 50th year of existence, preparations for the 2014 IFAC World Congress in Cape Town are proceeding well… (more)

In many conversations about cellular networks the discussion drifts to dropped calls. In my conversation with Karel Pienaar, MD of Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) we did eventually get around to this, in our hour-long coffee session… (more)

While most SANS standards are items subject to agreement and do not have the force of law, they do give effect to the law. Those that do have the force of law are often not understood, ignored or disregarded… (more)

A new IBM study of more than 3000 global CIOs shows that 60% of organisations are ready to embrace cloud computing over the next five years as a means of growing their businesses and achieving competitive advantage… (more)

In response to astonishing losses caused by corporate cybercrime, we must review how corporate IT systems are accessed and activities authorised within them… (more)

The mobile radio industry or public mobile radio (PMR) is rapidly changing from FM to digital – driven by the demands of both the private and public sector… (more)

Electronic signature capture is a technology for signing electronic document files with a handwritten signature. The use of this technology allows for the complete elimination of the mailing, storage, filing, copying, and retrieval of paper documents… (more)

Final control elements (control valves or safety shut down valves) are the key components of any closed loop control system, whether  used for a basic process control system or for a safety instrumented system… (more)

Engineers have one very keen sense in life and that is to ferret out usefulness from perceived buzz. Subsequently, we somehow exist on the cutting edge and in the Stone Age at the same time… (more)

Digital mobile radio (DMR) is an European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) digital mobile radio standard for professional mobile radio users worldwide. It provides voice and data services and operates in existing channel spacing bands… (more)

Temperature is the most frequently measured parameter in process automation worldwide. In order to be able to uniformly define and check the accuracy of the measurement it was necessary to establish worldwide calibrating standards… (more)

The business benefits of wireless solutions for automation and control are well known. However security is always a concern when implementing wireless connectivity… (more)

Neural network-based prediction algorithms have been applied successfully to many different applications, including speech and pattern recognition. In this article some of these algorithms have been tested on a sonar seabed mapping application using simulation platform… (more)

Embedded-system designers may aspire to a single-chip solution to their problem, but rarely get very close to achieving it… (more)

Record earnings for Bharti Airtel
MTN Ghana commissions sub-marine cable system
Safaricom’s revenue rise allays price-war fears
Malawi regulator grants fourth mobile operating licence
Nigeria’s Starcomms invests US$9-million in network expansion
Rwanda government set to roll out third ICT plan
Major public-private venture to extend Tanzania’s ICT backbone
Ethiopia building US412-million oil data repository
Angolan mobile internet users approach 2-million… (more)

Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) now appear in a host of commercial electronics applications, most commonly in car radio displays in high-end cars, tablet PCs, mobile phones and other consumer gadgets. The author discusses how OLEDs are evolving as complementary sources of indoor lighting… (more)

The exploitation of renewable energy from solar and wind has been likened to the new gold rush. SA has probably the biggest unexploited goldfield in the form of solar energy in the world, and there is a rush to benefit from this new bonanza…. (more)

Eskom Integrated Demand Management (IDM) has added a rebate programme on heat pumps to its hot water solutions initiative. The programme, which focuses on residential water heating, aims to facilitate the installation of at least 65 000 systems by March 2013 at a cost of R250-million, saving an estimated 54 MW of capacity… ( more)

The debate around hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo is an issue of national and public interest. Shale gas extraction has the potential, some say, to change the face of the country’s power industry and improve the lives of millions of South Africans. Public opinion, however, is a powerful force well-known to have hampered the nuclear industry in the past…

I read with great interest the other day that the eminent American consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan had proclaimed that South Africa was sitting on a PV solar power goldmine. PV solar power in particular, Messrs F&S trumpeted, was clearly the winner in the revised edition of IRP2010, which foresees no less than 8400 MW of PV capacity by 2030, equivalent to 300 MW per year. Quite a comeback for a technology that was reported as the big loser in the previous version of the IRP. But one cannot help wondering if F&S, being from foreign shores, took all the realities of the modern South Africa into account in making these bold claims… (more)

The increasing pressure on the energy and specifically power industries around the world to go “green” is a double edged sword for developing nations such as South Africa. On the one hand existing generating capacity needs to be replaced and new plant built to maintain and grow the economy, a pre-requisite for developing nations, while on the other hand, a “green” economy is significantly more expensive for all concerned, especially the poor… (more)

A new turbine generator is an important component in the use of “waste gas” to generate electricity. Many industrial processes release and waste surplus energy. The recovery of untapped energy potential is therefore a crucial part of the fight against global warming. An ambitious energy recovery research project, is soon to start production. In many industrial processes, process gas escapes unused into the atmosphere. The basic idea is to tap these gases for the further generation of energy… (more)

By 2030, researchers expect to build a fusion reactor demonstration plant that produces more energy than it consumes. If successful, fusion power will provide a nearly inexhaustible and CO2-free source of energy. Related developments in materials research are driving improvements in many Siemens technologies. Nuclear fusion is pure solar energy. Deep within a star, the atomic nuclei of light elements fuse, generating vast amounts of energy in the process… (more)

City Power and Singapore Power Global Solutions have entered into a strategic partnership that is now bearing fruit. Singapore Power has successfully implemented condition monitoring over the past 20 years. Condition monitoring is one of the key contributing factors for them becoming one of the most reliable utilities the world. Based on the latest performance indices a customer would experience a power failure only once in every 142 years (SAIFI) and the longest fault any customer would experience is roughly 30 seconds (SAIDI)… (more)

EDI Holdings has been participating since inception in a well recognised international benchmarking process. Over the past six years extensive discussions took place with amongst others the DoE, NERSA, the AMEU, Eskom, the metro’s and a number of other municipalities… (more)

Now that Eskom intends to increase the penalty for having a low power factor, the economics of installing power factor correction (PFC) equipment are improving. It is normally most cost effective to install PFC in the form of medium voltage (MV) capacitor banks. For the most economic MV PFC , a number of incorrectly held beliefs need to be dispelled… (more)

This paper outlines the progress in South Africa on using synchrophasor-based wide area monitoring systems (WAMS) as a means of improving system security and increasing the use of the transmission network. A pilot project was carried out to investigate the dynamic performance of the system, and the results of this project are summarised… (more)

Harmonic resonance is one of the main consequences of excessive distortion in power systems. Although the cause is well understood, tools available to analyse the phenomenon are very limited, and cannot tell which network components cause the resonance and where the best location is to mitigate the problem. This research investigates mapping as a visualisation tool for evaluating harmonic resonances across a large ring-main-network covering a geographical area… (more)

The purpose of this project was to investigate various methods that would allow accurate measurement of individual cell voltages that are all connected in series to make up a battery pack. Methods such as isolation amplifiers, opto-isolaters, DC-to-DC converters and a series of new chips designed specifically to do this task, were all evaluated in terms of complexity, performance, measurement range, accuracy, size and in  safe working site… (more)

All mine sites have grounded electrical systems. To ensure a reliable connection to earth, electrical codes, engineering standards, and local standards often specify a minimum resistance for the ground electrodes. This application note looks at how a mining and exploration company uses earth ground testers to maintain a safe working site… (more)

The South African building industry would be doing more than just the environment a favour by convincing its clients to install solar water heating systems. Switching to solar in existing developments could save as much as 50% on the average household’s monthly electricity bill by reducing the amount of electricity used by a geyser by as much as 70%… (more)

A 3,8 kW rooftop photovoltaic generator has been installed on an energy efficient house built at the University of Fort Hare, Alice campus, South Africa. The system, located on the north facing roof, started generating electrical power in February 2009… (more)

Biofuels are becoming increasingly important worldwide, not only to replace expensive imported crude oil, but also to create jobs and improve the security of food supplies. The government’s current strategy envisions 2% of national petrol and diesel usage coming from biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel by 2013, thereby creating an estimated 25 000 jobs.  While bioethanol can be produced most economically from large sugar cane plantations, there is considerable scope for producing biodiesel from small producers; if the quality can be assured… (more)

This article serves to address a technical nuance of solar panels: that of their high source impedance. The selection of protection components in photovoltaic installations is not trivial. There are both DC and AC circuits with very difference characteristics. The DC circuit is categorised by a high source impedance, small operating range and large temperature range. If traditional AC network design rules are employed for this DC network the resulting protection will be ineffective… (more)

Growing acceptance of the need for energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs has led to hotels and resorts focusing their attention on ensuring that their guests not only enjoy superior facilities and service, but also a “green” experience… (more)

RaDAR is not radar in the traditional sense of the word. Radar mainly refers to the detecting of distant or approaching objects. Rapid deployment amateur radio (RaDAR) refers to the flexibility to enable radio communication under difficult conditions, without external resources… (more)

Space walker
New science mission to an asteroid in 2016
First image of nearing asteroid
SumbandilaSat 2
Exploring asteroids under the sea
South Africa could launch its own satellite in five years 

When discussing applications and advantages of microcontrollers vs. FPGAs, the general perception was that microcontrollers and field-programmable gate arrays can do more or less the same thing. The internet provided similar information… (more)

The convergence of the worlds of voice and data as well as fixed-line and mobile solutions has finally started to become a reality in South Africa. Convergence is bringing a host of benefits to consumers and businesses alike, according to Andy Baker, CEO Nashua Mobile… (more)

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