Solar Thermal Energy for Maluti Mountain Brewery: A bursary recipient perspective


Submitted by Malillane Lillane
Published 1 year, 11 months ago

My name is Malillane Lillane, a Mosotho woman pursuing a Masters in Sustainable Energy at the National University of Lesotho and the following is my account of my experience of SOLTRAIN Student Project Support Scheme in pursuit of my MSc. in Sustainable Energy final year dissertation.

SOLTRAIN assisted in providing me with articles to use when researching my project on the use of solar thermal energy for Maluti Mountain Brewery, a beer brewing company in Lesotho, and specifically with regard to how different breweries have integrated solar energy into their processes. 

I was honoured to be able to compete for the bursary on an international level and to be chosen as a recipient, one of the two young women in the 2020 call for applicants. Academic success is very important to me and I have always worked hard to achieve good grades. The bursary helped me focus the majority of my time on studies and my project and less time worrying about my finances. This made the progress of my project a lot easier than it otherwise would have been.

My project gave me the chance to experience energy use at an industrial level, and I saw opportunities for how renewable energy can be integrated at Maluti Mountain Brewery in order to reduce their long-term production costs while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. I also managed to sensitise Maluti Mountain Brewery to substituting conventional energy with renewable energy, and was able to develop an MS Excel program that designs the most cost-effective solar thermal systems for breweries by performing simulations. Maluti Mountain Brewery was used as a case study but different data for different breweries can be input into the program to do simulations and design for different contexts.

The program sizes solar thermal systems for breweries and is serviced by information on the energy demand, meteorological data of the location and local economic factors. The program then provides the user with a series of outputs depending on the system design that they require and is aimed at designing the most economical solar thermal system for a specific context.

I learned many skills during my project, including public speaking through presentations of the different stages of my projects to colleagues and educators. I also learned team-work and time management due to having to work with the brewery and its strict time schedule.

I would encourage students doing a project relating to what SOLTRAIN is affiliated with should take a chance into applying for the bursary and explore the world of opportunities within the renewable energy industry. There are a lot of ways in which solar energy can be used to improve livelihoods, the health sector and the industry.