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Boost for African green-tech company

South Africa is the largest coal burner in Africa, and fifth in the world. An investment from Sweden may help change this.

Today, South Africa is the largest coal burner in Africa, and fifth in the world. One contributor to the problem is that almost all hot water in South African homes is produced using grid electricity – 87% of which is produced by coal-fired power stations. 

This is both expensive and bad for the environment. For this reason, says “green-tech” company PowerOptima, it developed Elon Smart Water, a green Internet of Things (IoT) solution that transforms coal-fired electric geysers into smart, solar green appliances that use photovoltaic (PV) technology. 

Founded in 2014, PowerOptimal is a leader in sustainable, smart, simple energy solutions, specialising in hot water. Elon Smart Water is designed to reduce carbon footprint, risk and cost through a scalable, connected IoT platform.

Now, it has attracted investment from the Swedish research and technology company Qamcom, which will use its competence in Industrial IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to advance the product. This will include the creation of a cloud back-end solution, an improved connectivity solution, and web portals for added customer functionality and leak detection, using AI.

“The smartness and simplicity of their solution were spot-on,” says Ann Louise Johansson, general manager of Qamcom Stockholm. “PowerOptimal has developed a smart and sustainable solution that is not only good for the environment, but also reduces risk and cost for the users.” 

Besides the negative impact of burning coal, South Africa has experienced dramatically increased electricity prices over recent years – which makes the Elon Smart Water solution more relevant than ever. This smart IoT-solution, powered by solar energy, will not only be good for the environment but will also improve both the user’s economy and control over their hot water system. South Africa will initially be the primary market, but the need and relevance apply to the whole continent. 

Richard Fearon, CEO of PowerOptimal, says: “Qamcom’s high-level expertise and long experience within technology development provide a perfect match for us – both as an investor and development partner. A great bonus is that they share our aim to work towards a more green, sustainable and fair world using technology as the primary tool.

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