In a series of site visits, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) visited the University of Venda (UNIVEN) to inspect the research work they have supported since 2023. Together with three other universities, the University of Venda is supported by the Department of Science and Innovation’s Technology Innovation Agency (DSI/TIA) for research work towards production of efficient biogas. The Biogas Consortium was initiated by Professor Tonderayi Matambo from University of South Africa who then collaborated with University of Fort Hare, University of Zululand, and the University of Venda. The consortium culminated into a Center of Competence in Environmental Biotechnology (CoCEB) between the four Universities headed by UNISA.

Ms Pamella Ntshakaza from TIA manages industrial biotechnology initiatives. She recently visited UNIVEN to inspect the progress of the biogas initiative towards production meant for use in rural areas where there is greater need. Before holding a discussion with staff and students involved in the project, Ms Ntshakaza visited Dzwerani village where one of the functional biodigester producing biogas is situated. She was impressed by the progress and feedback from the community. Dr Vhutshilo Nekhubvi from Department of Physics who manages the technicalities of the biogas production explained to Ms Ntshakaza the need for further support to the community working closely with UNIVEN for the greater good of the same community of Dzwerani and the surrounding areas. The discussion has led to the point where she has suggested that UNIVEN should consider having a house at Dzwerani to be one of the green sustainable households to showcase the work which is done by the UNIVEN on renewable energy and energy efficiency.In further discussion with staff and students, Ms Ntshakaza mentioned that it is important to ensure that both staff and students are performing their tasks towards the same goal.Dr Lutendo Mathomu from Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology gave a breakdown of the progress since inception in 2023. The project already graduated two Honours students and aims to further graduate a PhD, three Masters, and a few more Honours students by 2026. Research papers and prototypes are also on the cards before the end of the project.Prof Eric Maluta from Center of Excellence in Renewable Energy Research (UNIVEN CoERER) gave a word of appreciation to DSI/TIA before thanking everyone involved in the project.
“We would like to appreciate the support we get from the Executive Dean Faculty of Science Engineering and Agriculture and the Deputy Dean Research and Teaching and Learning. Our strength on the project is driven by the three students, Ms Takalani Nethavhanani, Ms Edna Phaphana and Ms Tendani Matamela who have enrolled for PhD and MSc respectively, in this project,” said Prof Maluta.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 15 March 2024

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