Biogas research attracts attention


The biogas production research conducted at the SAENSE Platform (Biotechnology Department, University of the Free State) has caught a lot of attention. The research has been widely featured on various media platforms including SABC 2’s Living Land TV programme. The Living Land crew visited our labs early this year, with the aim to showcase the innovation and young talent in the labs.

Reitumetse Molaoa, who is currently doing a master's degree on this project, was profiled on the programme to show other young people (along with the rest of South Africa) the opportunities that lie within the exploration of renewable energy sources.

Biogas production is a growing technology that uses the principle of anaerobic digestion to produce energy.  It is a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like methane and carbon dioxide, and to reduce the reliance on fossil fuel-derived energy. Follow this link to see the show

Creating environmental solutions for environmental problems at Exxaro Mining

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Three years ago, Exxaro Resources approached the university to initiate a research project on their water quality, as mining coal leads to various environmental challenges that need to be addressed. The SAENSE Group from the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Free State developed a new treatment for Exxaro’s mine drainage by conducting various experiments.

The first experiments were conducted in the laboratory with very small volumes to prove the treatment concept. After excellent results, Exxaro decided to build a pilot plant on one of their mining sites to treat the water of that area. The pilot plant was built with JoJo tanks, wood chips, PLC systems, probes, and our patented Barium Carbonate (B-DAS) technology.

The pilot plant treated over 2,5 million litres of coal mine drainage from the site with our system. The system effectively removed salts, nitrates, sulphate, iron, and various other contaminants commonly found in mine drainage. The water quality was within the South African National Standards (SANS) regulation for drinking water, an excellent result for the project. Now that the pilot phase of testing has ended, we are looking forward to move to the next research step – to build commercial scale reactors.


Faculty Manager: Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199

Marketing Manager: Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531

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