DONATION OF ENGINE AND COMPONENTS TO STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY ASSISTS WITH RESEARCH ON BIOFUELS AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
Port Elizabeth – 6 September 2010 – The Ford Engine Plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, is playing its part in advancing the research on biofuels and sustainable energy sources by donating a RoCam engine and components to Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape.
The donation of a complete 1,6-litre RoCam engine assembly, along with three cylinder head assemblies with a combined value of approximately R24 000, will assist the university in establishing an infrastructure where students can learn more about the mechanics, metallurgy and thermodynamics of engines, as well as the combustion and heat release properties of biofuels.
“There is keen interest amongst our students to learn about engines and fuels,” explains Richard Haines, senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. “We really appreciate that the Ford Engine Plant has come on board with the donation of the RoCam engine and components, as this will create opportunities for students to undertake post-graduate biofuels research.”
This, Haines indicates, will take place in conjunction with the Stellenbosch University Process Engineering Department, along with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, which forms part of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.
The university has proven to be a pioneer in biofuel research, having been awarded the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) Senior Chair of Energy Research for Biofuels and other alternative clean fuels. This chair is based in the Department of Microbiology, thus creating many opportunities for students to become involved in all aspects of biofuel research.
Haines points out that the biofuels produced during research have to be tested under controlled conditions, and the RoCam engine will be used for this purpose. Additionally, the cylinder heads will be machined to fit pressure transducers for in-cylinder pressure measurement and heat release analysis.
“As a leader in engine technology and development, it is important for Ford to be involved in the search for new-generation fuels that are renewable, sustainable and more environmentally friendly,” states Wallace Yearwood, plant manager of the Ford Engine Plant.
“By donating the locally produced RoCam engine and components to Stellenbosch University, we’re able to promote South African research in this crucial field, and play our part in developing the engineers and scientists that will define our future.”
The Ford Struandale Engine Plant is also working towards establishing a partnership with the School of Engineering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. This will further assist in creating the platform for broader research and the development of new technology, while enhancing the skills sets of students and post-graduates in the engineering fields.