Engineering open day 2020

In February Stellenbosch University hosted the annual Engineering Department open day. Prospective students and their families visited the faculty to learn about the various degree options. All the research groups from the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering Department present some of their work to showcase the various careers and research fields graduates can enter.

Each year STERG teams up with CRSES to provide information of the renewable energy studies available at the department.

Every year STERG brings out the parabolic dish to braai some snacks. This never fails to attract interested and hungry parties. There’s nothing better than learning about clean energy over a braai.

Thanks to all the post-grad students for helping out and informing prospective students about their options in the renewable energy field at the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering Department.

11th Renewable Energy Postgraduate Symposium: Call for Abstracts

North-West University
21 September 2020

The Centre of Excellence in Carbon-based Fuels together with the SARChI Research Chair in Coal Research and the SARChI Research Chair in Biofuels are co-hosting the annual national renewable energy postgraduate symposiums (REPS) to provide masters’ and doctoral students the opportunity to present their research. In 2020 the focus of the symposium will be on wind, bio-energy, solar thermal, PV and CSP, renewable energy finance and renewable energy policy as well as clean coal and emissions abatement technologies. The programme will be communicated in due course.

All academics and students with an interest in renewable and sustainable energy are welcome to attend. Limitedsponsorships will be made available to students from outside the North West Province who require assistance
with travel and accommodation provided that they present a paper in one of the focus areas. All students receiving NRF bursaries are especially encouraged to submit an abstract.

Students that will present their work will be required to submit abstracts that will be published in a book of abstracts.

21 September 2020
Seminar Rooms G01, G02 and G03, Building N1
(Engineering Complex), North-West University –
Potchefstroom Campus, Potchefstroom
Important Dates
Extended Abstracts Date: 30 June 2020
Notification of authors: 10 July 2020
Full Papers Due: 24 August 2020
Final Papers Due: 21 Sept. 2020

Students who are interested to participate are requested to e-mail their abstracts and contact information to
Prof Sanette Marx by 25 May 2020 at sanette.marx@nwu.ac.za or contact her on 018 299 1995.

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!

SASEC 2018 2nd Call for Abstracts

The 5TH Southern African Solar Energy Conference (SASEC 2018) will be held from 25 to 27 June 2018 at the Blue Waters Hotel in Durban, South Africa. The conference will focus on both Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Thermal Energy technology systems and applications. The conference provides the opportunity for researchers, engineers, technologists and individuals to share and discuss recent developments in the field. It is a particularly good opportunity for postgraduate students to showcase their research progress, network and develop knowledge of solar energy technologies.

Abstracts are due on the 22nd January 2018.

See further details here

STERG Technical Tour 2017

The STERG Technical Tour Group at the Khi Solar Plant (Photo Courtesy of Frank Duvenhage)

The 3rd STERG Technical Tour took place from the 3rd to 7th July 2017 and gave students the opportunity to visit renewable energy generation plants. Students from Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of Pretoria (UP) joined the tour this year, extending STERG’s collaboration with other universities in South Africa. The group of 28 Master’s and PhD students, as well as professors and academic staff, visited several power plants in operation or under construction around Upington in the Northern Cape. The visited plants include concentrated solar power plants (Khi Solar One, Bokpoort, Kathu Solar Park and Ilanga), a photovoltaic plant (Sishen PV) and a concentrated photovoltaic plant (Touws River CPV). The students had the unique opportunity to see large-scale power plants in person and to learn more about the various technologies as well as to engage in discussions with the developers and operators of the plants. The tour has been a great success in past years and continued its objective in maintaining good relations with the renewable energy industry.

A big thank you goes to the various companies and individuals at the power plants who helped in making the tour a reality by accommodating the group on site and taking the time out of their daily operations to show them around as well as answering numerous questions from the students. Thanks to the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) which generously sponsored part of the costs.


We look forward to the next tour!



The 5th Annual STERG SOLARPACES Symposium 2017 was held on the 13th and 14th July 2017 at Stellenbosch University. We would like to thank all our sponsors, speakers and attendees! This year the symposium featured a record breaking 38 presentations. STERG’s research presentations were accompanied by presentations by our colleagues from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), the University of Pretoria (UP) as well as the University of Cape Town (UCT). Our guests from industry succeeded in motivating students and provided insight into their challenges and successes in project development, finance, construction and operation.

Presentations are available for download here.