By: Tebogo Mokwena
Mpho Moloko’s dream to help South Africa deal with its energy crisis has led him to invent a renewable energy generator using 3D printing. The generator will be able to cater to small and large businesses, as well as residents and public facilities like hospitals, clinics and police stations. Moloko also aims to be an Independent Power Producer so that he can provide affordable electricity to the less privileged.
Moloko designed the generator and built it in 2021, even though the idea for the generator can be traced back to his days in high school. He attended a technical high school where he did mechanical as well as technical subjects. This enabled him to study mechanical and electrical engineering at Taletso TVET College. After he completed his studies, he started informally trading as an electrical installer and maintainer over a decade ago in Mahikeng.
He approached the Mafikeng Digital Innovation Hub last year with the designs and it was there that the generator was built. Moloko also said that he studied 3D printing at ALISON, an Irish online education platform where he acquired the skills needed to do 3D printing. His company still provides electrical installation and maintenance services, although his plan is to expand it to include more 3D printing services. Moloko told Vutivi News that the generator did not use fossil fuels. “It is not a perpetual energy generator, but it uses an input and out,” he said. “However, the output is far greater than the input, and it has an efficiency of over 150%.”
It is still in its prototype stage because Moloko is looking for an investor to help him mass-produce the generator. He told Vutivi News that before he approached the hub, he struggled for many years to get any form of assistance. He believes that his generator will not only provide energy for businesses, people and public facilities, but it will also be able to be used by electrical locomotives like cars and bikes. “It is difficult to convince people that we can have renewable energy and it is worth investing in,” he said. “The hub was kind enough to help us where they could, and this includes using their equipment and facilities to manufacture the prototype. “We also won a competition from Imvelesi Just Hack where we won a cash prize of R25,000.”
Moloko also believes that the generator has the capacity to contribute significantly to the energy crisis within 10 years by effectively lessening the impact of load-shedding. “I see the company being able to produce enough electricity to supply many provinces in the country, especially those that other power producers cannot assist,” he said. “Being Independent Power Producers will enable us to supply power in such a way that the economy does not cripple because of a lack of power.”