CraftEngine PowerPacks sold in South Africa

Viking Heat Engines has teamed up with Viking Energy Development Africa (VEDA), an expert on the energy market in South Africa, to sell and install the CraftEngine in the country and beyond.

The same week the agreement was signed, four units were sold to a local sawmill, and more sales are in the pipeline.

South Africa is in dire need of electric power. The country currently produces only 32,00mMW of electricity, which is 7,000MW short of what is needed to keep the economy going, resulting in negative growth and a sky-high unemployment rate.

The distribution contract between the two partners stipulates that VEDA shall have sold 300 CraftEngine units by 2018, a figure that Director at VEDA Jasper Cloete and his team believe they will easily exceed based on the enormous demand for electricity in the country and surrounding region.

"By 2020, we’ve estimated that we’ll have sold units for EUR 24 million, but I believe that’s a conservative figure,” Cloete says. "We are already seeing a huge interest in the CraftEngine from companies in and around South Africa, and everyone I’ve spoken to is extremely anxious to see the engine installed on their sites.”

The first company to install the CraftEngine is a sawmill in Howick, South Africa. Four CraftEngine PowerPacks will provide the sawmill with an excess of 150kW, which will provide it with much-needed heat and electricity to expand its business further. As well as reducing the sawmill’s environmental footprint by making use of its biomass waste, the most important factor for introducing the CraftEngine is the opportunity to establish an uninterrupted power supply 24/7. The CraftEngine is one of the first renewable energy sources that can provide electricity around the clock, seven days a week. 

"The electricity they receive is very erratic,” says Cloete. "The power goes on and off at unexpected times, causing computer shut downs and damage to electrical equipment, and is generally hurting production. Companies everywhere in South Africa are losing machines and production time based on the poor power supply and that’s costing them a lot of money. So if we can provide them with a 24/7 electricity supply, people are more than willing to install the necessary units.”

Cloete is very excited about being part of the Viking Heat Engines team that he says is doing South Africa a huge favour in introducing the CraftEngine. "The socio-economic situation in the country will change as more companies install the CraftEngine as this will create more employment opportunities,” he says. "South Africa’s unemployment rate is currently at 25 percent, a figure we drastically need to reduce, and to do that we need new industries to establish themselves in the country. But that requires a well-functioning power supply and the CraftEngine can make a huge contribution in this regard.”

Tor Hodne, Managing Director of Viking Heat Engines, says he is very pleased to have finally signed an agreement with Cloete who he has been in contact with since 2012 to discuss the possibility of selling the CraftEngine in Africa.

"Thanks to Cloete and his team of experts, we now have a very competent partner in place in South Africa that is able to handle every step of a sales cycle – from incoming enquiries to local engineering and installations,” he says. "With this solid structure in place, we foresee Africa becoming one of our most important markets in the near future.”

Hodne praises Cloete for getting the first contract in place and says the company is set to learn a lot from this particular installation.

"This will be our first 100 percent off-grid installation and we hope to apply our learning from this project to other similar initiatives worldwide, giving more rural areas the power supply they so desperately need,” he says.

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