Nnditshedzeni Eric Maluta was born in the Mafukani village in the rural Mutale region of Limpopo, South Africa. He attended the University of Limpopo (Turfloop Campus) where he graduated with honors with a degree in physics, and completed a master’s degree through the renewable energy (physics) program at the University of Venda. In 2007, Eric was awarded a sponsorship to further his studies at University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and completed a PhD within three years. His research topic was ‘simulation of dye sensitised solar cells.’
Since joining U-Venda full-time, he has volunteered to support projects that improve the physical sciences curricula in rural, South African secondary schools. He also participated in the Kagiso Trust teachers upgrading projects, South Africa National Science Week, and regional & national science fairs.
I am interested in solar energy research (theoretical studies of materials for solar energy conversion), and data analysis to predict the effects of climate change on agricultural outcomes. Apart from the computational studies of dye solar cells, my current research involves the analysis of solar radiation and renewable energy hybrid systems that will provide a sustained supply of energy to rural regions that aren’t on the electrical grid. By supplementing the supply in rural communities, it will no longer be necessary to practice load-shedding in South African cities.”
In the past, it was necessary for U-Venda researchers to conduct computational studies at the Center for HPC in Cape Town (1,800 + kilometers, or 1,100 + miles/Austin to Chicago). The Ranger installation adds value to the institution, provides educational opportunities for U-Venda staff and students, and allows researchers to work closer to home (especially helpful in light of regional power fluctuations).
Editor’s note: Load-shedding is the practice of administratively shutting down power in scheduled, rolling intervals. You must plan for the power to be out at a certain time, and hope your UPS keeps the plates spinning in the meantime. In South Africa, it allows the energy company to spread limited resources further; demand is growing, but the infrastructure is failing and the supply is inadequate. The power demands of the Square Kilometer Array will drive innovation toward off-grid battery storage and other new energy solutions. It’s a good thing there’s an abundance of sun and wind in the Karoo region!