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Senior Researcher/Engineer position at CSIR: Energy System Modeller

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is a leading scientific and technology research organisation that researches, develops, localises and diffuses technologies to accelerate socio-economic prosperity in South Africa. The organisation’s work contributes to industrial development and supports a capable state.

Senior Researcher/Engineer: Energy System Modeller

About the job:

The CSIR has a vacancy for a Senior Researcher/Engineer in the Energy Centre within the Smart Places cluster. The incumbent will be responsible for growing and expanding the Centre’s capabilities in energy-systems planning, analysis and related modelling in the increasingly important area of complex energy systems to derive recommendations for the expansion and transformation of South African and Southern African energy systems.  Simultaneously, the candidate should research and establish recommendations for the Centre’s energy-technology research priorities.  This position is based in Pretoria, South Africa.

Key responsibilities:

  • Manage projects, research and investigations on energy modelling/planning and related topics;
  • Contribute to the formulating research questions and developing study assumptions and the provision of research direction to project teams/task teams/ workgroups on energy modelling and analysis in line with strategic direction of the Energy Centre;
  • Generate technical reports, articles, conference papers, journal articles and presentations aimed at energy sector clients, collaborators and partners locally and internationally focussed on technological developments;
  • Develop and implement processes, systems, tools and technologies to further the strategic direction of the CSIR Energy Centre;
  • Provide training and mentorship  on energy systems related topics to CSIR employees;
  • Contribute to the formulating of research proposals and developing relationships with potential clients and collaborators in the R&D around energy modelling related research locally and internationally.

Qualifications, skills and experience:

  • An Honours degree in engineering, science, mathematics, economics or any other related field with at least six years’ working experience in energy planning or modelling. A Masters or Doctorate degree will be advantageous;
  • Experience in working with a team of energy modellers and specifying energy models is essential;
  • The following experience and knowledge is essential:
  • Financial/economic modelling;
  • Knowledge of various energy systems modelling approaches including differentiation between optimisation and simulation approaches;
  • Modelling experience in PLEXOS;
  • Knowledge of other full-sector energy modelling frameworks;
  • Modelling experience and skills in energy planning tools/software;
  • Experience in scenario-based analysis as well as other planning approaches e.g. monte-carlo, scenario-wise decomposition.
  • Knowledge of the South African and Southern African energy systems (not just power sector);
  • Detailed knowledge of existing and planned energy policies, legislation, regulations, codes and standards in the power sector (knowledge of other energy sector policies, regulations, codes and standards is advantageous)
  • Ability to draft proposals, attract funding and lead project teams.

Closing date: 17 January 2020


To apply follow the link: https://www.csir.co.za/vacancies

Trainee or Intern engineer needed for Kathu Solar Park, Northern Cape

Kathu Solar Park project Company

ENGIE BU Africa is present in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Nairobi (Kenya), Rabat (Marroco) and Johannesburg (South Africa). The South African assets in operation are Avon and Dedisa are two thermal peaking power plant operated with a total capacity of 1 005MW, Aurora Wind farm 94 MW, Aurora and Vredendal PV plants of 21 MW.

ENGIE has a presence in South Africa since 1994, specifically in energy efficiency services, and is the country’s number 1 independent power producer. The Group aims to support the government in defining a balanced energy mix based on renewable energies (solar energy, wind power) and natural gas.

Kathu 100MW CSP Station is the first CSP project within ENGIE and as such is a high profile project for BU Africa and also for the group. The plant uses parabolic trough mirrors, providing energy to the heat transfer fluid that is used to raise steam for use in a conventional steam turbine and also provide energy to the molten salt thermal storage system. Commercial Operation Date was achieved 31 January 2019 and the electricity is sold to ESKOM.

Kathu is located in the Northern Cape of South Africa and is the CSP site is approximately 10km from the pleasant town. Kathu is 600km for Johannesburg and there are daily flights to the town. Historically Kathu has been a centre of iron ore mining, though the solar radiation, makes this location a world class site for CSP.

Purpose of the Job
The main goal of the intern/trainee engineer will be to be involved in some aspects of the following projects or activities under the supervision of the Lead Project Engineer :
• Prepare and manage Owner projects (new wells and borehole pumps, deluge system, panel replacement…),
• Follow up of the EPC obligations during the final acceptance testing period (punch list, guarantees..) until Final Acceptance Date, mirror black spot monitoring
• Follow up of the O&M Obligations and check reporting and documentation during the final acceptance testing period,
• Follow up of the Owner commitments during the final acceptance testing period regarding ESKOM, EPC, O&M,. Reply to CCTV request
• Manage contracts relating to Owner supply utilities (Nitrogen, water, electricity..),
• Follow the performance of the plant via the performance model and EPC/O&MCo obligations
• Contribute to the risks and opportunities identification,
• Participate to register for REC and CER follow up and by doing so improve the plant performance, protect our Project’s interests and sustainability in the respect of our contractual commitments, ethics rules, corporate policies, and environmental and societal responsibility.

The intern/trainee engineer will report to the Lead project engineer and will also closely interact with the O&M Co and the main Contractor.

Health; Safety and Environment (HSE)
The intern/trainee engineer will act and promote the Health and Safety culture at the construction site

• Degree Civil/Mechanical/Electrical Engineering or university degree.

• Preferable internship in OCGT, CCGT, coal, renewable, solar CSP or PV, biomass, wind

Specific Knowledge / skills
• Strong interpersonal skills, excellent communication, negotiation, coordination skills.
• Work in a multicultural environment and multidisciplinary teams.
• Resolve complex technical/ commercial issues.
• Work with IT systems like MS office, Document management software, etc…
• English language, Afrikaans and Spanish would be advantageous
• Valid Driver’s License
• Valid student visa

• South Africa/Kathu
• Accommodation will be provided and transportation to siteField: Operation
Duration : 4 to 6 months from Jan 2020
Schedule: Full-time

To apply please contact Cedric Faye at Cedric.Faye@kathusolarpark.co.za

Master fellowship at UKZN: Solar dryer

Master fellowship at the Pollution Research Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa), about the development of a pilot-scale solar dryer

Onsite sanitation is employed in places of the planet that are not connected to the sewage system and it could contribute to solve the lack of sanitation in developing countries that affects 2.4 billion of people worldwide, as well as it could offer a more water sensitive alternative for the cities of the future. Faecal sludge, the resulting waste from onsite sanitation facilities, needs to be treated and disposed in a safe way. Thermal drying is an effective method that can ensure to obtain a dry and pasteurised bio-solid, which can be safely reused as agricultural product or biofuel. Nonetheless, it requires of the input of high amount of heat for the evaporation of the moisture, leading to high operating costs. The use of solar thermal energy could be a cost-effective to provide heat to the drying process through a renewable and environmental friendly source of energy.

The Pollution Research Group at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) has received funding from the Water Research Commission in order to develop a pilot-scale solar dryer. The developed prototype is intended to offer to sanitation practitioners a cost-effective, decentralized and mobile technological solution for the treatment of faecal sludge. The functionality and performance of the pilot solar dryer will be evaluated through field testing in one of the waste treatment facilities from the eThekwini municipality using locally available faecal sludge.

The Pollution Research Group is searching for a Master student under the context of this project. The Master student will participate in the design, conception and evaluation phases of the solar dryer. The position is to start from February 2020. A bursary of R150,000 will be offered in a period of 15 months, with the payment done in different parts following set deliverables. The candidate should fulfil the following requirements:
– Academic background in mechanical engineering;
– Knowledge about how to use drawing and CFD simulations software;
– Knowledge about how to conduct thermal analysis;
– Discipline, rigor and organization.

To apply for the position, please send an electronic copy of your transcripts, diplomas and CV to Dr. Santiago Septien Stringel Septiens@ukzn.ac.za.

Maintenance Supervisor Intern needed for Kathu Solar Park, Northern Cape

Job Description

Maintenance Supervisor Intern – Kathu Solar Park – Northern Cape, South Africa

EPC – Liciastar (Pty) Ltd
Liciastar, a Joint Venture between engineering and construction group SENER and the infrastructure, renewable energy and services corporation ACCIONA, is the Principal Contractor that developed the turnkey project of the Kathu solar thermal plant.
Kathu Solar Park is a 100 MW greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with parabolic trough technology and equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage and thus limits the intermittent nature of solar energy. The solar field employs the SENER patented parabolic trough structure, the SENERTrough-2 (SNT-2).
Kathu Solar Park is located approximately 10km from the pleasant town of Kathu in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

Purpose of the Job
Currently in the warranty period of commercial operation of the project, Liciastar as the EPC Contractor’s, main responsibility is to supervise the works of the Operator.
The main goal of the Maintenance Supervisor Intern will be to be involved in the following projects or activities under the supervision of the Maintenance Manager and Technical Engineer:
• Assist the Maintenance Manager with supervising and tracking of plant maintenance
• Perform direct supervision of maintenance activities on-site, as well as familiarity with all O&M requirements to oversee adherence thereof
• Attend weekly meetings between EPC, Operator and Client, on the current status of maintenance, maintenance plan, scheduling, etc.  All to be performed by Operator
• Aid in any other technical and/or commercial activities

• Degree Mechanical/Electrical Engineering or university degree

• Preferable experience during studies (including internships) in the OCGT/CCGT and/or CSP disciplines

Specific Knowledge /skills
• Strong interpersonal skills, excellent communication, negotiation, coordination skills.
• Work in a multicultural environment and multidisciplinary teams
• Work with IT systems like MS office, Document management software, etc.
• English language, Afrikaans and Spanish would be advantageous
• Valid Driver’s License

• Kathu, Northern Cape, South Africa

Field: Operation/Maintenance
Employee Status: Contract 6 months January – June 2020
Schedule: Full-time

To apply please contact Robert Laurie at robert.laurie@sener.co.za

ASME ES 2020 Call for Abstracts

ES 2020, the ASME 14th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, will be in Denver, USA from June 8 – 10, 2020.

The Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) track chairs for ES 2020, invite you to submit your technical paper abstracts by November 7, 2019. For those wishing to submit a presentation-only abstract, these are due by March 1, 2020. We would like to encourage participation from the broader CSP R&D community, including academia, national labs & industry.

Conference tracks that relate to CSP:

Nexus: Energy, Water and Climate

Energy Storage

Concentrating Solar Power

Solar Chemistry

Solar Desalination and Industrial Process Heat

Emerging Technologies

Conference Keynotes, Plenaries and Panels

Conference Posters

Within the CSP track, we encourage a wide range of topics, including:

Gen3 CSP

SunShot 2030 and meeting $0.05/kWh for baseload power

Thermal Energy Storage

Long Duration Storage

Hybrid Concepts including Pumped Thermal Energy Storage with CSP

High Temperature Thermochemistry and Process Heat

Solar Collectors and Optics


Power Cycles including sCO2

Distributed CSP Concepts

Autonomy, Machine Learning and AI

Materials and Manufacturing for CSP

System Integration

System Demonstration

Plant Operations and Maintenance

Visit https://event.asme.org/ES to submit your abstract.

STERG represented at SolarPACES 2019

The SolarPACES 2019 (Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems) conference was held in the beautiful city of Daegu, South Korea where three master’s students from STERG attended the four-day conference and presented their work to the top researchers in the field. The goal of attending such a conference is to share research, build relationships with industry leaders and learn more about the current trends in CSP.

Several exciting concepts and studies were presented, with significant interest given to falling particle receivers, PV & CSP hybrid concepts as well as optimisation of central receiver systems.

Energy storage systems were also a hot topic and often highlighted as CSP’s most important asset. It was repeatedly demonstrated that thermal storage is the most cost-effective solution for capacities greater than 3 hours, while electrochemical batteries were better suited for quick-response and mobile storage applications. Furthermore, the DLR outlined a plan to retrofit Germany’s existing coal stations into “Carnot batteries” which would store excess energy generated by renewable energy in the form of thermal energy (steam or molten salt) using high-temperature heat pumps. This energy could be used directly to supply heating or drive a thermal power process to generate electricity on demand.

On the trend of storage, several studies investigated solar fuels or other power-to-gas applications that make use of high-temperature reactions facilitated by CSP. These fuels are generally synthesised from H2 and CO2 extracted from the air, making them a carbon neutral fuel source.

A highlight of the conference, the technology innovation award, was presented to Vast Solar from Australia for their work on a modular central receiver tower system using liquid sodium as a working fluid which enables greater reliability and higher working temperatures. Their concept allows for faster construction with smaller teams and enables higher optical efficiency by using polar heliostat field layouts.

Vast Solar’s modular tower design that won SolarPACES 2019 technology innovation award

Sandia demonstrated plans for its third generation CSP particle pilot plant (G3P3) using particle-receivers to heat a super-critical CO2 working fluid to > 700°C with molten salt thermal storage.

As with any conference, you’re bound to run into a couple of familiar faces and this year we met SU alumni, Paul Gauché and Willem Landman, who were both actively involved with STERG in the past. Paul is the founder of STERG and currently the manager of the CSP Department and the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Labs.  Willem is currently working at the CSP division of Schlaich Bergermann Partner (SBP) where he is reimagining heliostat field optimisation and design. His work pushes the idea that unconventional methods can be used to improve existing concepts/ideas.

The conference was a success and we would highly recommend students make the most of this opportunity if given the chance. The next conference, SolarPACES 2020, will be held at Sandia national labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A special thanks to STERG, CRSES and our supervisors for funding this opportunity, without which it would not have been possible.

Familiar faces at SolarPACES 2019 with STERG founder, Paul Gauché, pictured at the poster session

STERG Bursary applications open

The Solar Thermal Energy Research Group is now accepting bursary applications for 2020.

The bursary is intended to support research aligned with the interests of the research group, concentrating solar power and solar thermal applications.

For more information click HERE.

STERG Technical Tour 2019

From the 8th to 12th of July 2019, STERG embarked on its first technical tour since 2017.  The tour is aimed at giving students unique access to renewable energy generation plants in South Africa, with a focus on concentrating solar power (CSP).  In collaboration with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), a group of 22 Master’s and PhD students, accompanied by professors and academic staff, travelled from Stellenbosch to the Northern Cape.

STERG delegation at Bokpoort CSP plant – a 50 MW parabolic trough plant

The plants visited include CSP parabolic trough (Xina solar one, Bokpoort CSP), CSP power tower (Khi solar one), photovoltaic (Scatec solar) and a concentrated solar power plant (Touws River CPV).  Some of the plants were still in construction and others have been in operation for some time, presenting students with different perspectives of the industry.  The tour allows students to see these power stations first-hand and engage in discussions with operators and engineers, which is something that the general public does not have access to.

The tour was an overall success, and it continues to promote a good relationship with the renewable energy industry.

We would like to thank our hosts at each power plant for making the time to accommodate such a large group and answering all our eager questions.  Thank you to the CRSES for sponsoring part of the costs of the tour.

We look forward to the next tour in 2020!