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Three clever climate friendly startups from South Africa have just been announced the winners of the 2015 South African Climate Solver Awards by WWF SA (World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa).
Eco-friendly public transport vehicle startup MellowCabs, public transport app Findmyway by Where Is My Transport (WIMT), and Leaper Innovate‘s hydraulic energy storage system called Eco MC2 are recognised for their efforts to reduce carbon emissions or boost access to energy.
WWF International senior adviser on climate innovation Stefan Henningsson explains that while South Africa shows a history of strong innovation and entrepreneurship, it shows little support for clean-tech innovators compared to many other countries.
“There is however an increase in the number of creative South African entrepreneurs who will have many of the solutions we need to see growing on the global market in order to simultaneously combat climate change and energy poverty in the years ahead,” Henningsson explains in a press statement.
According to MellowCabs founder Neil du Preez, transport is behind about 23% of global carbon emissions from fuel combustion.
“One of the major impediments to widespread use of public transport in South Africa is the challenge of first and last mile transport,” says du Preez.
“In other words, how does one reach the train station or bus stop from one’s home or workplace? Mellowcabs aims to bridge this gap.”
Du Preez also reveals that the solution will be launching within the next two months.
Also geared for the public transport sector, WIMT has been awarded for its Findmyway app which essentially helps commuters get from A to B using public transport.
The startup launched its public transport app in Tshwane a few weeks ago, giving users various routes and modes they can take, arranged by cost or travel time. An added feature, commuters can also communicate directly with government about delays, accidents, and so on.
“We wanted to give commuters real choice, and cities real insight into commuter needs,” said co-founder of WIMT Devin de Vries in a media statement at launch.
“The solution has to start with access for commuters, access to information, to movement, and to their cities.”
Leaper Innovate has developed a hydraulic energy storage system called the Eco MC2 which can store energy generated from renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic panels.
The founder of Leaper Innovate, Warwick Leaper, argues that battery storage has always been a major issue for renewable energy solutions.
“[Batteries] offer limited storage, contain heavy metals and may contain substances which are limited resources. The Eco MC2 has a thirty-year lifespan and far longer storage capacity.”