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The University Research Office is based at the Govan Mbeki building on Westville campus

The University of KwaZulu-Natal currently has more than 250 post-doctoral fellows

Funds requests must be directed through the Colleges at the office of the College Dean of Research

You can upload your own publications on IRMA and ResearchSpace

ResearchSpace is the institutional repository of UKZN. It is a collection of full text theses and also includes research publications produced by UKZN academics.
Energy and Technology for Sustainable Development

The Energy and Technology for Sustainable Development focus area is providing leading research for the needs of South Africa and is in keeping with the mission of UKZN as the Premier University of African Scholarship. The energy sector is by far the largest contributor to global GDP and is the engine that drives the world’s economy. Humankind’s insatiable appetite for energy has meant that this sector influences all aspects of the economy and has direct and indirect bearing on the socio-economic development of a country and its people.

In the National System of Innovation, energy security has been identified as one of the “grand challenges”. Research in the energy sector is not limited to production and distribution of electricity, but also to the minimisation of energy usage, as well as the limitation of the negative environmental effects which are caused by the production and use of energy sources. In this regard there has been a rapidly-growing research interest in improving and developing new technologies for the reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse, and flue gases emitted from coal power plants and fuel burning plants.

There are a number of definitions of sustainable development, but one of the simplest argues that it is development which uses resources available to meet human needs while still preserving the environment so as not to compromise the needs of future generations. Research that is currently undertaken at UKZN in the area of technologies for sustainable development is finely woven into the research being undertaken in the energy sector. The development of technologies for renewable energy, which include fuel production from renewable sources, is a perfect example of this. Research in sustainable technologies also includes environmental sustainability studies which aim to ensure that current industrial processes lead to minimal damage to the environment.

At UKZN there are a number of Units and Centres in this focus area which are conducting research in various aspects of energy production and utilisation as well as technology application for sustainable development. Some of the Units have been established through close research collaborations with major industries such as ESKOM and SASOL. The partnership with ESKOM has resulted in massive investment in research and the establishment of state-of-the-art facilities such as the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Centre and the Vibrational Research and Test Centre (VRTC). The facilities are for research on improved equipment and system performance of electricity transmission and distribution networks. Sustainable manufacturing and chemical production is an area of strength in the Faculty of Engineering with large research groupings in the Schools of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering respectively. The Thermodynamics Research Unit which resides in the School of Chemical Engineering is a SASOL Centre of Excellence in Chemical Thermodynamics and undertakes research into the improvement and optimisation of chemical and separation processes for SASOL. Partnerships also exist with major players in the telecommunications industry with a centre of excellence in this area in partnership with Telkom and Alcatel in the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering.

Research work on renewable and alternative energy systems and technologies such as solar and wind as well as biofuels and conversion of municipal waste to natural gas for electricity production is being conducted by multi-disciplinary teams in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. One of the pillars of this initiative is the Integrated Renewal Energy Advancement Programme (IREAP) which is a partnership between UKZN, engineering company Karebo Systems, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP), and other relevant partners for the development of a strategy for fundamental research into renewal energy.

This research focus area is also the home base for two South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) – Chairs which are technology based, namely, the Quantum Information Processing and Communication Chair, which is at the frontier of applying quantum mechanics to develop new technologies in the areas of quantum cryptography and quantum computing, and the Fluorine Process Engineering and Separation Technology Chair, which supports the South African Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative (FEI) and will aid in the development of a substantial fluorochemical industry in the country.

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