Pupils turn cow dung into power

Circa June 2016. HOME-GROWN EXCELLENCE: Acting principal Mercy Madanda celebrates with pupils at Thengwe Secondary School in Thohoyandou on winning the Students for the Advancement for Global Entrepreneurship. Pic: FRANK MAPONYA. © Sowetan.
Circa June 2016. HOME-GROWN EXCELLENCE: Acting principal Mercy Madanda celebrates with pupils at Thengwe Secondary School in Thohoyandou on winning the Students for the Advancement for Global Entrepreneurship. Pic: FRANK MAPONYA. © Sowetan.

Enterprising pupils at a Limpopo school have turned cow dung into power that could activate stoves to cook food and ease Eskom's load-shedding blues.

A group of five pupils at Thengwe Secondary School in Tshandama village, Thohoyandou, have come up with a project that will see households preparing food without harming the environment.

They beat their contemporaries by winning the national Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship competition in Bloemfontein and qualified to represent South Africa in the global competition in Manila, Philippines, from August 10 to 16.

Yesterday, the pupils demonstrated how cow dung could be put to good use.

The Green Stove, as the project is known, now has the potential to take the world by storm.

Project leader Thendo Mudau said the idea came to him after his granny sent him to fetch dry cow dung to give the fire at home more "power" last year.

"It then dawned on me that if dry cow dung could give fire more strength then it could be used to do something more," the 18-year-old Grade 12 pupil said.

He researched potential uses for cow dung, roping in fellow pupils.

Now Mudau, Masana Mabaso, 15, Livhuwani Mudau, 17, Enelo Maringa, 14, and Olugaho Mateka, 16, are set for glory as they hope to make the project big business.

"We stored the cow dung in a tank that does not allow oxygen in. The main factor behind it is bacteria because it's active in the reaction," Mudau explained.

He said by putting the cow dung into a tank they ensure that it decomposes, thereby producing methane gas.

"After a maximum of 14 days the gas can be used for domestic cooking," he said.

According to the teenager, wet or dry cow dung can be used but it takes a bit longer to achieve the required results with wet cow dung.

"I'm happy that we were able to use cow dung that was useless in the village to make electricity.

"And I have no doubt that we'll go and win in the global competition in Manila," a confident Mudau said.

Mabaso said the project was amazing.

"Science is fun. With it you can do anything. And we never thought cow dung could take us places," she said excitedly.

Solly Kgophong, head of the provincial department of economic development, environment and tourism, said they would support the pupils in their bid to conquer the world.

frankm@sowetan.co.za

X