WSU postdoctoral researcher Dr Frank Unuoufin touched down in East London with his head held high following a successful showing at the second Innovation Bridge Showcase and Matchmaking Event held in Johannesburg recently.

The exhibition, held at Gallagher Estate on 15 September, saw over 100 innovators from different sectors, including tertiary institutions, hubs, institutes, business, government and investors, congregate under one roof to deliberate and share ideas about their latest technological and innovative developments.

“It was my first time attending the event and it was a great learning experience that will undoubtedly help to motivate me to pursue my research and development of my product with a renewed enthusiasm,” said Dr Unuoufin.

The product he so proudly waxes lyrical about is a biogas stove that is currently at an advanced stage of development. It’s premised on the principle of converting waste material that is stored in a drum to ferment, into methane gas which is then stored in a cylinder before being released into the stove for igniting.

Dr Unuoufin’s concept mesmerized and left many a visitors and officials impressed at the event.

“The sentiments I received from most of the people who visited my exhibition was positive. Some of the people who came to view my product actually made some very critical inputs in terms of advising how I can improve. Some of the suggestions tabled will definitely help me in refining my product,” he said.

Unuoufin said the concept was inspired by a desire to help the poor and marginalised gain access to a more affordable and sustainable way of cooking.

He said the product was currently going through numerous tests and monitoring to come up with a way to make the fermentation process, which currently takes three weeks, a little bit shorter.

“If I’m to prove effective in commercialisation, then I need to come up with a way to ensure the whole process is shortened because three weeks for the waste material to ferment is too long,” said Unuoufin.

He said the product, which includes a drum, cylinder and stove, would retail for R3, 500 with labour included, and only R3 000 without labour.

“We are looking at going commercial and entering the formal market within the next six months,” concluded Unuoufin.

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