If Clement Mokoenene has his way, the next time you drive your truck over a section of road you will be generating electricity via a system fitted below the road with your truck creating the pressure needed to power a turbine. A two kilometre stretch of highway fitted with the system could potentially power an entire city.
Sounds far-fetched. Not so. It’s all very real. From developing an idea after watching a plane land to now catching a plane to take that idea to the world is the path Clement Mokoenene, founder of civil engineering and project management service provider, Epitome Consulting, has walked.
This follows Mokoenene winning the 2018 South African Chivas Venture SA title which qualified him for the global final of the Chivas Venture being held in Amsterdam in May. And what’s his idea? To generate electricity from roads as trucks and cars drive over them. Read on…
The Chivas Venture is a global initiative that provides a $1-million fund (R11,9-million) for social entrepreneurs that are tackling the world’s biggest problems. A total of 27 regional finalists are selected by country based on their entries. The requirements are stringent and all innovations need to be commercially viable in the market.
Mokoenene’s Vehicle Energy Harvesting System (VEHS) is what he will be presenting and it all revolves around changing the way energy is approached – from a scientific and sustainability point of view. His concept is simple – harness the missing link in the transfer of energy and convert it to create a new source of electricity.
His idea was inspired by the pressure exerted onto the tarmac by the weight of a plane through its wheels when landing. He sought to find a way to harness the energy generated by that pressure in the same way that coal is burned to create pressure to the power turbines that provide us with electricity.
The VEHS takes this principle and applies it to trucks and cars. The system is fitted below the road surface with the vehicles driving over it creating the pressure that powers a turbine. A two kilometre stretch of highway fitted with the system could potentially power an entire city.
Clement has spent several years developing and testing the system and believes it is now ready to be rolled out and used in the real world. This rollout could happen rapidly because unlike more traditional energy infrastructure that takes years to construct, the VEHS infrastructure can be fully installed and operational within six months.
“Everyone at Epitome has put their full support behind Clement,” says Epitome CEO, Joey Mokoenene. “His entering a competition such as the Chivas Venture makes perfect sense as Epitome has always held our people, the people around us and the world we live in as our number one priority. Our motto is ‘development through innovation’ and Clement’s VEHS is the embodiment of this philosophy.”
As a husband and wife team, Joey and Clement Mokoenene have grown Epitome Consulting into a highly successful firm, offering extensive civil engineering and water delivery services in both the public and private sectors. Epitome’s primary offering is in six key service areas which include; water and sanitation engineering, water conservation and demand management, roads and storm water management, civil and structural engineering solutions, project and programme management and developing emerging SMME’s.
The secret to their success, Joey says, is in their approach. “What makes us different is the fact that we strive for more than just having a profitable business. We want to make our world a better place to live in, and we believe in using technology to do that,” she explains.
“It’s an honour to be recognized by The Chivas Venture awards and its accomplished panel of judges,” says Clement. “When I first started my career, ‘innovation’ was just a word we used to describe technology. The Chivas Venture has changed this into a way of describing a complete shift of entire industries. It’s humbling to be a part of something of this magnitude that is making a real change to the world around us. It’s also inspiring to see the inventions being put forward by my fellow competition entrants.”
“What I want people to take away from my entry and success so far in this competition is that it is a testament to Epitome Consulting’s on-going commitment to rethinking efficiency, sustainability, humanity and the transformation of business practices in South Africa,” Clement concludes.
South Africans can do their part and join the Epitome Consulting team in supporting Clement. Social media voting for the competition is now open and you can vote for Clement and the VEHS system! The more votes Clement receives, the more funding he will receive from the #ChivasVentureSA competition!
C’mon everyone. Let’s support Clement in this as he heads off to wave the South Africa flag high in all the right ways. You can show your support at https://www.chivas.com/the-venture/finalists/people/za-clement-mokoenene