Access to energy in the form of electricity and fuels is a necessary requirement for sustainable development. However, despite the abundance of renewable energy resources in Africa, its potential is still underexploited. The CSIR is investigating the potential for renewable energy technologies in southern Africa development community (SADC) countries by emphasising the energy geography in Africa, financial aspects thereof, and limitations to adoption.
A direct link exists between buildings, carbon emissions and the ability of the natural environment to absorb carbon dioxide. Globally, the built environment is responsible for 40% of energy use, 17% of fresh water use, 25% of wood harvested and 40% of material use.
The future of South African energy still largely depends on coal. Even with the possibility of alternative energy such as solar power and nuclear power, the playing field is not level as coal will remain a major energy source for years to come.
As most quantum dots are semiconductors, their use in energy sources to enhance efficiency is of particular interest to scientists. At the CSIR's national centre for nano-structured materials (NCNSM), quantum dots, as they pertain to energy, feature largely in two specific projects.