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The Engineer: Aftrak off-grid energy project wins Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy

A Loughborough University led initiative aiming to bring affordable green energy and food security to communities across Africa has won the Milken Motsepe Prize in Green Energy.

Named Aftrak, the project was among four other finalists vying for the $1m prize that was announced at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles on May 6, 2024.

Aftrak is a self-sustaining system made up of a solar microgrid, a micro electric tractor – both invented and built at the University – and Deep Bed Farming (DBF), a practise that disrupts compacted soil, inhibits soil erosion, and captures rainwater close to where crops are grown. Once established, DBF more than doubles crop yield and gives smallholders additional income that can be used to purchase electricity from the microgrid, thereby creating a self-sustaining model for decentralised energy access.

 

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Engineering News: Award-winning Omnivat to roll out pilots of containerised electricity generation and storage system

Renewable energy technology company Omnivat Tech, the creator of an award-winning containerised electricity generation and storage system, aims to deploy three in-field pilot plants in the coming months. The company intends to trial different use cases, including health facility support, backup power and community-owned models. “We are a pan-African team with a pan-African vision. We will deploy our initial systems in South Africa and will be developing a pipeline across sub-Saharan Africa. We are open to public- and private-sector customers and intend to collaborate with both to meet the needs of communities, facilities and businesses,” says Omnivat.   Read the full article here

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The Kenya Times: Two African Entrepreneurs Win Ksh261 million Green Energy Global Award

The Milken Institute and the Motsepe Foundation announced the winners of the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy at the global conference held by the institute in Los Angeles. The $2 million (Ksh 261,500,000) innovation competition seeks to recognize entrepreneurs striving to enhance access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable offgrid electricity in Africa. One of the winners is Aftrak, an initiative based in both the United Kingdom (UK) and Malawi. Aftrak received a Grand Prize of $1 million for its solar microgrid which is easily assembled, and custom-designed tractors.   Read the full article here.

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Best Mag: Solar and battery powered tractor for Africa gets award

Aftrak, an initiative based out of the UK and Tiyeni of Malawi, a Malawian non-government organisation has won the Milken-Motsepe prize for green energy. Modern farming is energy consuming as most machines are powered with fossil fuels. However, the last decade has seen a strong trend towards a more sustainable agricultural infrastructure. The outcome is an easy-assembled revolutionary solar and lead-battery-powered tractor, supporting sustainable farming in Africa that has won a major international environmental prize, the Milken-Motsepe prize for green energy. The project has been co-founded by the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) and the global lead battery manufacturer Clarios, based in Wisconsin, and owner of battery brands like Varta and Optima. The team is led by Loughborough University in the UK.   Read the full article here.

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