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SU collaborating with Fraunhofer on water research
Author: Media & Communication, Faculty of Science
Published: 09/03/2016

The first collaborative workshop between Stellenbosch University and the Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance (SysWasser) was attended by 31 delegates and included representatives from the Water Research Commission (WRC), ERWAT, and the City of Cape Town.

The workshop, which took place from 14 to 17 February 2016 in Stellenbosch, included site visits to demonstrate strategies to treat wastewater at informal settlements and winery effluents and various experimental facilities at SU, as well as 30 presentations.

Prof. Gideon Wolfaardt, Director of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI), says the workshop is the first step to give body to the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between SU and Frauenhofer in 2015. The vision for the collaboration is to establish a Fraunhofer Centre in Sustainable Water Technologies at SU.

In 2015 the Fraunhofer Gezellschaft was among the Top 100 Global Innovators identified by Thomson Reuters

SU and Fraunhofer are already collaborating on two water-related Horizon 2020 projects. The SafeWaterAfrica project, which focuses on the development and demonstration of an autonomous water purification system for rural areas and small settlements, is based on Fraunhofer CabECO technology. The MinWaterCSP project focuses on minimising water use in CSP (concentrated solar power) solar energy plants.

Prof. Wolfaardt says the workshop clearly demonstrated that SU and the Fraunhofer Alliance SysWasser have complementary know-how and technologies which are an excellent basis for the sustainable management of water in Southern Africa and other countries: "The cooperation between SU and SysWasser also fits well with the proposed SU Flagship research program, Complex Systems in Transition, as well as research areas such as the Water-Energy-Food Nexus."

The research-based foresight intelligence that will be gained in the Flagship program on the complex challenges related to water supply and management in the context of global change and societal transitions will provide strategies for transitions to sustainable development pathways to link water with food and energy systems. The cooperation with Fraunhofer will contribute to the applied solutions-orientated research in the Flagship program," he said.

Prof. Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, says the proposed partnership with Fraunhofer is being viewed as a valuable opportunity and will enjoy the University's full support.

SU and Fraunhofer will co-present during the Süd-Afrika Special session at IFAT 2016, the world's leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management, which will take place from 30 May to 3 June 2016 in Munich, Germany.


On the photo, in front (from left to right): Dr Marelize Botes (SU), Dieter Bryiok (FH – Fraunhofer SysWasser Alliance), Prof. Eugene Cloete (SU), Dr. Siegfried Egner (FH), Dr Stanley Liphadzi (WRC), MS Mercia Volschenk (City of Cape Town).

In the middle (from left to right), Dr. Willem de Clercq (SU), Prof. Gideon Wolfaardt (SU), Prof. Oliver Damm  (FH), Dr Jo Barnes (SU), Dr. Joachim Koschikowski (FH), Dr. Harald Hiessl (FH).

At the back, from left to right): Dr. Andre Wufka (FH), Prof. Dimitrov (SU), Lothar Schäfer (FH), Edward Archer (SU), Dr. Felix Tettenborn (FH), Prof. Gunnar Sigge (SU) and Prof. Erich Rohwer (SU).

Other participants not on this photo: James Topkin (ERWAT), Prof. Oliver Ruppel, Dr. Tobie Louw, Dr. Robbie Pott, Prof. Johan van der Spuy (SU), Prof. Pieter Swart (SU), MS Oby Ume, Dr. Margreth Tadie, Dr Wesaal Khan (SU), Prof. Andre Burger (SU), Andrei Rozanov (SU), MS Isobel Brink.