The research aims to convert the resources into new solar materials using thin films technologies, which could capture light particles and convert them into electricity.
Unam outgoing vice-chancellor, Professor Lazarus Hangula, revealed this new development on Tuesday during a N$300,000 donation handover by Ambassador Zhang Yiming of the People’s Republic of China to Namibia towards research at Unam. Hangula said that with the availability of resources the research has the great potential to produce an output that would improve the lives of many Namibians in rural and urban areas.
Further, he noted, it would contribute to the reduction of carbon emission in the quest to reduce global warming.
Hangula said that research on renewable energy, especially photovoltaics, would enable Namibia to tap energy from the sun.
“This is key for electricity generation to all corners of Namibia,” he added. Hangula said the donation does not only enhance the targeted area of research, but also strengthens the existing strong ties and collaborations between Namibia and China as development partners.
From its establishment in 1992, Unam has grown into a comprehensive academic and research institution offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well undertaking research, innovation and development. Among the research areas identified by the National Commission of Research, Science and Technology (NCRST), renewable energy is one of the top priorities on the research agenda list.
Zhang said Namibia’s science and technology development need to catch up with the times, serve industry revitalisation, support livelihood improvements and help the country to achieve prosperity.
This is not the first science-related Chinese donation to Unam. Unam has profited from equipment from China in the fields of science and engineering before.
Chinese lecturers have also been teaching in the Faculty of Science and recently also at Confucius Institute where students study basic Mandarin.
He said that with its political stability, sound rule of law and robust regulations, Namibia has set an example for other African countries in many aspects.
He said Unam is Namibia’s top academic institution with a distinct mission and responsibility, both in scientific research and production-learning integration. As an all-weather partner of Namibia, Zhang said, China is willing to actively support the research work of Unam and the establishment of a multi-functional science, research and development centre.
Further, he said, China is ready to provide help and assistance to national science and technology rejuvenation and economic development.
“We hope to work together with Unam to promote the development of scientific research and people-to-people exchange between the two countries and jointly create a bright future for our bilateral relations,” he noted.
In recent years, he said, China has made remarkable achievements in numerous fields such as high-speed trains, large commercial aircraft, aircraft carriers, quantum computers and deep-sea observation, adding that it has not only promoted economic development but also changed people’s lives and boosted national progress and rejuvenation.
Hangula, who accepted the donation, which is in addition to the upcoming generous donation of a Chinese-funded Confucius building, said it will go a long way in assisting researchers to meet some of their primary objectives, as far as research outputs are concerned.
“Investing resources in developing the research aspect of our academic offerings will allow our academics and researchers to undertake teaching and research of international standard. Thus, at this juncture, the University of Namibia is very grateful to the Chinese government through His Excellency, Ambassador Zhang Yiming, for facilitating and securing the donation of the sum of N$300,000, towards research activities at Unam,” Hangula said.