Energy from a toxic shrub

Young scientist Phemelo Motloba (17) has found a way of generating electricity from a local plant commonly known as Mokura (the castor-oil plant or ricinus communis) by extracting oil from it. The plant is extremely poisonous, is prevalent in all provinces in South Africa and a problem because it competes with indigenous pioneering species, especially in watercourses. Motloba developed the idea after noticing how local community members regularly cut and burnt it down. He entered his project into the Bojanala Regional Eskom Expo for Young Scientists and titled it “Alternative energy from the toxic shrub”.

The Grade 11 learner from Sedibelo Secondary School in Moruleng in the North West province and has been competing in the Eskom Expo since 2014 and this is the first time he has been awarded gold medals both at district and regional level. Regional Eskom Expos are being held around the country between July and September, where learners are competing for the chance to win prizes and to represent their regions at the International Science Fair (ISF) held in Johannesburg recently.

Contact Eskom, Tel 011 800-3304,

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Source: EE plublishers

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