The Who’s Who of tomorrow demonstrate that success starts today

You don’t need to wait for the day you land your first job to start working your way to the top. You also don’t need to be a genius to be successful. By setting goals for yourself and working hard to achieve them, you too can achieve success – just as these 11 South African students have demonstrated.

They form part of 1 700 students from around the world were awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for approximately $4 million in prizes. These South African students chose to tackle issues of energy and food security currently faced in South Africa.

Meet the Who’s Whos of tomorrow, and their innovations:

An innovative alerting mechanism for mobility-assistive devices

Nishka-Ramkhelawan-from-Ladysmith-High-SchoolNishka Ramkhelawan, 16, from Ladysmith High School designed and built a portable and user-friendly alarm targeted at the elderly and physically disabled individuals. When a user falls or is in distress, the device sounds a siren, alerting the individual’s caretaker or people around him/her.

An easy way to measure a Sidereal day

Iselle-Van-Den-Heever-from-Jim-Fousche-High-SchoolIselle Van Den Heever, 16, from Jim Fousché High School developed an apparatus that measures the time it takes for a star to reach the same position in the sky from one night to the next – also known as a sidereal day.

Utilising organic chemical dyes to produce dye-sensitised solar cells

Tyrique-Byroo-from-Star-College-Boys-HighTyrique Byroo, 15, from Star College Boys High discovered that a dye-sensitised solar cell that uses blackberry dye generates the highest millivolt of current. He also found that this solar cell can be manufactured for less than half the cost of a standard solar panel.

Generating electricity from mud

Siyabonga-Nkosi-from-Kiriyatswane-High-SchoolUsing loamy mud, 18 year old Siyabonga Nkosi from Kiriyatswane High School, built a basic fuel cell. He found that microbes contained in the mud consume organic matter which produces electrodes. These electrodes can be collected through copper and zinc terminals. This solution will be highly effective in rural areas where loamy soil is in abundance.

Investigation of Platinum substitutes as an effective catalyst for Hydrogen fuel cells

Roland-Dubb-from-Herzlia-High-SchoolIn an aim to make fuel cells cheaper, Roland Dubb, 16, from Herzlia High School compared costly platinum to copper and palladium as catalysts. He discovered that by using palladium as an anode together with platinum as a cathode, a similar output voltage can be produced at a lower cost.

A portable sun tracking solar power kit

Fritz-Keyzer-and-Josiah-Senior-from-Pinelands-Boys-High-SchoolPinelands High School’s Fritz Keyzer and Josiah Senior, both 17, developed a portable power source to be used in developing communities, the military and for camping.

By following the sun, the power source collects energy through solar panels. This improves their efficiency by 45% compared to immobile solar panels.

Generating electricity with magnetised bacteria

Bernard-Smit-from-Hoerskool-WaterkloofBernard Smit, 18, from Hoerskool Waterkloof developed a method that generates eco-friendly and sustainable energy with Magnetotactic bacteria. By making use of Faraday’s Law of electromagnetic induction, the magnetised bacteria are moved through an induction tube to generate electricity.

Optimising energy consumption from your tablet

Armand-Duvenage-from-Hoerskool-GarsfonteinArmand Duvenage, 17, from Hoerskool Garsfontein, created a mobile energy management system that allows the monitoring of energy usage in a home or small business. This system is able to monitor the voltage, frequency and current consumption of each circuit that is linked to it.

Using worm tea as a substitute for artificial fertilisers

Avuyile-Mbangatha-from-Stirling-High-SchoolAs a way to increase food security and reduce poverty, Avuyile Mbangatha, 17, from Stirling High School applied worm tea to crops in developing communities.

Made from worm castings, the worm tea triggers the growth of plants, while also providing an environmentally-friendly alternative to artificial fertilisers.

High protein Fynbos nuts – a New Superfood

Anna-Midgley-from-Herschel-Girls-High-SchoolAnna Midgley, 16, from Herschel Girl’s high school has identified  the environmentally-friendly fynbos plants as an alternative to the typical starchy diets present in rural areas. These plants are high in protein and have the potential to be a crop that will grow in low-nutrient soil and at a cheaper cost.