Young Namibian Entrepreneur Gets Us Attention

A young Namibian entrepreneur, Immanuel Hango, has received the attention of the scientists in the USA with his concept solution that uses solar energy to produce chlorine for water purification. The solution was designed as one of the means to stop the spread of cholera.

The solution earned Hango a place among the semi-finalists in the Technology Idea (Tech-I) 2015 competition by the American Association for the Aancement of Science (AAAS) and the US Department of State.

The competition is offered as part of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative.

The 31-year-old Hango designed the solution through his company Profile Namibia Chemicals, a chemical and industrial minerals start-up based in Walvis Bay. They produce chlorine for water purification by electrolysing salt using abundant solar energy. The use of solar energy in this application contributes to sustainable development of Namibian resources in the most environmentally friendly manner.

Hango said he began to study the spread of cholera while exploring applications of chlorine in areas such as the construction industry, food processing, water treatment, and plastics. “I found the need to study the outbreak of cholera after cases of the disease were recorded last year in different regions of the country,” said Hango. “Last year, more fatal cases were reported in Otjozondjupa, Oshana and Khomas [regions],” he explained.

Cholera is caused by the vibrio cholera bacteria found in dirty or sewerage water. Hango said cholera could be prevented simply by purifying water with diluted chlorine. However, the product chlorine is not easily accessible to those living in rural areas.

“A spoonful of chlorine can dilute up to 20 litres of dirty water, but currently, all chlorine products are imported into Namibia which makes it expensive for an ordinary Namibian to afford,” he said.

“Immanuel embodies the spirit of applying innovative solutions to the world’s toughest challenges. His project has the opportunity to galvanise global attention for Namibia at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya in July,” the US Ambassador to Namibia Thomas Daughton said of Hango.

As a semi-finalist in the GIST competition, Hango needs votes to aance to the finals and potentially attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 (GES), which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, in July. The public can vote for him by logging into the GIST website and following simple voting steps at http:www.gistnetwork.orgtech-ivote. Voting is open through June 11, 2015.

Tech-I finalists will have the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama, who will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit as part of his fourth presidential trip to sub-Saharan Africa bringing together business owners, educators, policymakers and investors to support the growth of new enterprises in developing regions.

“I would like the public to vote as I am the only Namibian in the semi-finals. This will not only benefit me, but it will help bring Namibia on the map in the science industry,” said Hango.

Source : New Era