Power On Expo 2015 to showcase innovative energy alternatives

AUGUST 3, 2015

In order to address South Africa's power issues, many leading alternative energy companies will join some of its most innovative to showcase energy saving or generating alternatives at the Power On Expo at Walmer Park, basement parkade in Port Elizabeth on Aug 8 and 9.

One of the most innovative displays at the show will the world's first motorised off-road bicycle that its Port Elizabeth creators will demonstrate at a public show for the first time.

The Bushpig bike has a customised weed eater engine developed over 25 prototypes to its current commercially viable form.

Achieving a positive first for South Africa. It is the only rack mounted (behind the saddle) bicycle engine system in the world that incorporates a luggage rack as a functional part of its design.

Super Cycles, the local company that builds the Bushpig, is currently demoing the off road version, with the initial roadbike version, already on the market, to a number of security and agricultural interests and the reception so far has been fantastic says co-founder Simon Clark.

"We are also already busy with the development of a new model which like the Bushpig will also be a world first.''

The Bushpig is robust and well suited for rural and off-road use which may address mobility issues in rural areas in an economic and sustainable way.

"We recently rode several of the bikes from Port Elizabeth to Port Alfred where a couple were donated to SAPS for community work, and finished the 180km ride in just over 5 hours using about five litres of petrol on each bike,'' says Clark.

"Most of our enquiries after the ride were for off road use and I further tested its ability by doing the Grahamstown to Sea mountain bike race.  Being over 100kg and unfit, this seemed the perfect opportunity to test the new bike. So starting from the back of the pack, I took part in what has to be the most fun and definitely most educational mountain bike ride I have ever done. "

"We finished in about two hours fifteen minutes which gives an average speed of just under 30km/h. If you allow for pit stops, stopping to tighten the crank and the fact that I started from the back of the field and stopped to pose for photographs then I really think that this is a pretty special performance."

Super Cycles consists of two businessmen, three retired engineers and three practising engineers almost all of whom have some motor racing or a motorcycle background so the end result was always going to be a little bit special.

"The development started by looking at what was available elsewhere. It soon became apparent that the weed-eater engine was the way to go. However the two leading designs from the USA where both too expensive and too complicated to support in South Africa while the Chinese alternatives all presented serious reliability issues. The brief was simple: build a mounting system that was simple, easy to make, cheap to make, easy to maintain and better than anything else available.''

Brands like Rubicon, the largest "balance of system'' distribution company in South Africa, Schutten, the sole SA distributor of  PV solar modules manufactured by Schutten Solar Energy Company, Schultz Power Systems and the largest electrical wholesaler in South Africa - Voltex, among others will also exhibit energy saving and generating devices.

One of the major drawcards for visitors is an attendance lucky draw prize of a complete “grid connected solution’’ valued at R100 000 sponsored by MicrocareSolar Components, QDM Solar and Rubicon SA which includes photo voltaic panels, batteries and inverter in addition to the installation.

The show will be open from 9am to 5pm. 

Visitors pay R20 for access.  Children under 12 enter free.

See our Facebook page Power On Expo (www.facebook.com/poweronexpo) for more details.

Nelson Mandela Bay Energy task team member Gareth Burley said consumers need to secure their own energy future and play a more proactive role in managing South Africa’s power shortage.

“Why is it that every time the power goes off most consumers express horror, as if we  didn’t know loadshedding is a long term reality we face in South Africa.  With the threat of more loadshedding now is the time to get educated on what options exist!”

“Even more bizarre is the number of businesses that do not have an energy generating solution and simply close shop at great expense when loadshedding takes place.’’

“Energy consumers need to start generating their own power. How they do that and at what cost can be a complex decision, which is why the Power On initiative is so crucial, Burley said.

Image: Simon Clark, makes adjustments to South Africa's innovative new off-road version of the motorised bicycle, the Bushpig which reaches speeds of 34km/h while consuming less than 1 litre of petrol every 30kms.