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Kamogelo Rakgetse, a grade 11 pupil from Abraham Serote Secondary School in Tafelkop, Limpopo, displayed his science and engineering prowess when he presented his innovative idea for a power station at the Limpopo Regional Eskom Expo for Young Scientists on Saturday, 19 August 2017.
Rakgetse was one of 321 learners who converged at the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Hall in Seshego, outside Polokwane, to compete for medals and 18 spots to show their projects at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) in Johannesburg from 3 - 6 October 2017.
The young scientists presented their projects to the public as well as a panel of 34 judges, as they slugged it out for top honours. In total, 14 learners were awarded gold medals, while 28 received silver and 51 took bronze.
The learners from primary and secondary schools showed their passion for science and innovative talent as they exhibited their 286 scientific investigations. The Limpopo Regional Eskom Expo was one of 35 regional expos held annually between July and September, in all provinces in South Africa, where learners get an opportunity to demonstrate their science projects.
Rakgetse built a model of a power station that produces electric energy using free green potential energy. “The main focus is on solving the energy crisis by offering an alternative and eco-friendly power source,” he said.
Rakgetse said his design comes from an application exploiting the principle of magnetic induction between materials with different permeability. “The technology allows the drive shaft to levitate in a stable and safe way, without the need for external power and with a cost that is lower than fossil fuel based power stations.”
Rakgetse said his idea was sparked by the current over-reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and oil to produce our electricity and these are finite resources that will eventually run out and become too expensive and environmentally damaging to retrieve. He was awarded the Eskom Best Development Project prize for his creation and said he wants to study mega electronics. He also scored the highest marks and scooped a gold medal for his innovation.
In addition to the medals, the following Eskom awards were presented. The Eskom Best Energy Project went to Bosoga Maisela, a grade 10 learner from Sebitja High School for the– ‘New Machine water detector’. Musawenkosi Mupezeni, a Grade 10 learner from Flora Park Comprehensive High won the Eskom Best Energy Efficiency Project for his Green Power Station and Carli Malan, a Grade 11 Pietersburg High School learner won the Eskom Best Female Project for her project ‘Electricity out of water’.
The director of the Limpopo Regional Eskom Expo, Serofo Mpaneng, said it is inspiring to see that young people are thinking about solutions to current problems at this early stage in their lives. “I have been with the Eskom Expo for nearly 20 years and have seen, over the years, some solid careers being built in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Such competitions also help most of the schools that participate, to perform better and individual learners grow from the experience.”
The Eskom Expo not only exposes learners to the exciting world of science, it also exposes them to the many career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI). By actively encouraging the youth of South Africa to pursue STEMI careers, Eskom aims to address the country’s skills-shortage, particularly in the scientific field. Science and Technology, the Department of Basic Education and has also received recognition from the Presidency. It sees learners presenting their scientific research work to judges, professionals from the private sector, academics, scientists, educators, learners from other schools, parents as well as other interested members from the general community.