The research group was formed in 2010 to formalize and stimulate the various RE research activities being conducted in the Engineering school at Nelson Mandela University.  

The goals of the group are primarily based on applied, practical research in the fields of;

  • Small wind turbines (vertical axis (VAWT), horizontal axis (HAWT) and other novel designs)
  • Optimal use of photovoltaics (PV) in the domestic environment – tracking, max power point systems, reflectors etc
  • Solar thermal devices in the domestic environment – solar geyser optimization, concentrated solar power (CSP) and thermal storage
  • Heat engines – development of a practical solar heat engine to produce electricity from solar derived heat (incorporating thermal storage)
  • Solar cookers
  • Electric bicycles

The group is led by Prof Russell Phillips and assisted by staff members Karl du Preez, Gideon Gouws, Theo Van Niekerk, Jan de Jongh and Damian Mooney. Currently the group consists of two full-time PHD students, five masters students and four undergraduate interns. 

The WERG/RERG has close ties with the Centre for Energy research (CER) which also conducts RE research at the Nelson Mandela University.

Some of the activities of the group can be seen at:

and an informal blog at:



Contact information
Prof Russell Phillips
Tel: 27 41 504 3609