Durban, South Africa

Durban University of Technology
Durban, South Africa

The Durban University of Technology is a University of Technology in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was formed in 2002 by the merger of Technikon Natal and ML Sultan Technikon and was previously known as the Durban Institute of Technology. It has four campuses in Durban, and two in Pietermaritzburg. In 2005, around 20 000 students were enrolled. Wikipedia.

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News Article | October 19, 2016

Before long, Santiago could be a city full of electric vehicles charged by “smart” power grids, many of them driving on highways equipped with traffic-reducing automated variable toll pricing. Perhaps a new arrival to the Chilean capital would go for the chance to found a technology company, incentivised by programmes like the state-backed, foreigner-friendly Start-Up Chile, in “Chilecon Valley”. And perhaps they’ll stay for the capital’s reputation boasting the most advanced public transit system in Latin America. Or they might opt for Africa instead of South America, to take advantage of the assistance offered by organisations like SmartXchange in Durban. Not only does South Africa’s third largest city now have an increasingly tech-savvy middle class population, it has schools like the Durban University of Technology, whose Urban Futures Centre is even developing technological solutions to the common challenges of drug use, security and policing strategy. If these succeed, Durban, like Santiago, may count itself among the highest-tech cities sooner than the rest of the world could imagine. An urbanite cannot live by startup incubation alone – only implementing the latest technology within a sound built and social environment can make a city truly hi-tech. Indeed, I kept hearing the same answer from current and former San Franciscans asked to name the best such cities in the world right now: “Not San Francisco.” Yet last year Tech Insider’s ranked the “undeniable epicentre of all things tech, from its gigantic start-up culture to its venture capital scene to its population of designers and programmers,” at the top spot. If San Francisco doesn’t rank among the most hi-tech cities in the world, which city could? The epicentre of tech lies less in San Francisco proper than in Silicon Valley to the south (Tech Insider’s list conflates the two). It’s the birthplace of the personal computer, now home to Apple, Google, Facebook, Intel and Stanford University, and the cradle of thousands upon thousands of startups. Only in recent years have large numbers of technology companies and their workers based themselves in urban San Francisco instead of the suburban Silicon Valley, and the resulting conflicts between the long-term bohemian population and these wealthy new arrivals have exposed its real, underdeveloped technological state. “Planners in 1996 had no way of predicting the tech boom,” admitted Taylor Huckaby, a representative of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) agency in March in response to residents’ complaints about the unreliability of the city’s transport infrastructure. They’d grown especially fed up with its commuter rail network, designed and built at enormous expense in the 1960s and 70s, much of which, Huckaby tweeted through Bart’s official feed, “has reached the end of its useful life”. No matter how much app developing innovation San Francisco attracts – Twitter is headquartered there – the experience it provides San Franciscans remains, for the foreseeable future, decidedly low-tech. Other cities have tried to become startup hubs, offering an environment equally attractive to currently small but potentially huge tech companies. The very nature of a mature city like San Francisco, with its old buildings and layers of regulation, throws serious obstacles to 21st-century modernisation, but some city builders have addressed that problem by starting afresh and raising a state-of-the-art metropolis from the ground up. Masdar City – a walled, Norman Foster-designed development in Abu Dhabi – began construction in 2008 at the behest of renewable energy company Masdar. The original $22bn (£18bn) plan envisioned a community of 50,000, its energy and other resource use to be all centrally monitored and adjusted. But the global financial crisis deferred this urban dream, greatly slowing construction, curtailing ambitious plans for a personal rapid transit system, and rendering the stated goal of full carbon neutrality seemingly impossible. Only 5% of the planned smart city in the desert stands today. A more successful example has appeared eight miles from South Korea’s largest international airport: Songdo International Business District, built over 12 years on 600 hectares of reclaimed waterfront land at a cost of $40bn. It is both the world’s first smart city and largest private development in history. Computers embedded in the streets and structures form a citywide information network used for monitoring and maintenance. A pneumatic waste disposal system, obviating the need for garbage cans and trucks, directs all refuse to an automatic central processing facility underground. With all its built-in computational power, Songdo aims to go beyond the concept of the high technology smart city to become a technologically “ubiquitous city”. Data sensors continually collect information on the city’s flows of water, energy, and traffic for ongoing optimisation. A partnership between Songdo’s builders and Cisco Systems – the Silicon Valley maker of networking equipment – has so far led to the installation of a “telepresence” system, which enables instant audiovisual communication between residents. It also promises the citizenry of Songdo future domestic niceties such as appliances controllable by smartphones and systems to track the whereabouts of their children. On a private tour, representatives from developer and majority stakeholder Gale International described Songdo to me as not just a technological project but an “urbanistic” one. It synthesises, they said, the best elements of such classically great metropolises as Paris (wide boulevards), New York (Songdo’s own Central Park occupies nearly 10% of its land area), and Venice (visitors can boat down canals dug for the purpose). But not even they could deny that Songdo, with its often empty public spaces and – apart from a few deliberately traditional-looking restaurants – eerie historical uniformity, has yet to replicate the urban essence of those places. Yet urban essence abounds on the other side of the Sea of Japan. As host of the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo intends to use the occasion to build a model city of the future in the form of a completely hydrogen-powered Olympic Village. It will exist, of course, within a city the rest of the world has long seen as a tech spectacle perpetually on the cutting edge. But as any longtime resident knows, life in Tokyo, with, for instance, the in-person appointments at bureaucratic branch offices, can feel frustratingly low-tech as often as thrillingly hi-tech. High technology has permeated life far more deeply elsewhere in Asia, most notably in the city state of Singapore. Its lack of resources, small size and high population density have demanded innovative solutions to age-old logistical and environmental urban problems, and its wealth and top-down government control have made those solutions feasible. Singapore, which integrates technology and urban planning to a unique degree, pioneered the hi-tech solution to the complications of urban life. Its traffic congestion charging system – the first in the world when implemented in 1975 – now uses a network of cameras, sensors, and GPS devises that foresee and head off jams by adjusting the location and amount of the charge, bringing the government $50m in revenue per year. Street crossers also play a role in this web of technology: senior and disabled citizens, for instance, receive radio frequency identification cards that will keep the crossing lights on for them – along with the free high-speed internet every Singaporean gets. Though no one can deny Singapore’s technological acumen, its squeaky-clean image and paternalistic style of governance could be off-putting for some. But across the South China Sea over in Hong Kong, the faster-living region possesses equally fast internet. It has long been a part of life in Hong Kong, as has the Octopus, the contactless smart-card system used to pay transport fares when introduced in 1997 – but is now the payment system of choice for almost everything. The city’s increasingly ubiquitous fingerprint scanners allow its citizens easier and more secure passage to and fro. But even some of the less overtly futuristic cities in Europe also stand a chance of emerging as the most hi-tech cities of this century. Barcelona, which has perfected most of the traditional niceties of urban life, and continues to dramatically improve its streets, has more recently outfitted itself with energy-saving lights on the streets, touchscreen information stations, traffic and pollution sensors, and charging points for phones and vehicles alike. In collaboration with Barcelona-based universities, Spanish automaker Seat has got to work converting existing parking facilities into hi-tech, service intensive, transit oriented “microcities”. But perhaps the most technologically promising European capital is on the other end of the continent: Tallinn, Estonia, the birthplace of Skype. The country plowed all the resources it could into information technology after gaining its independence in 1991, and it shows: signs point to the nearest hotspot where one can tap into the high-speed data services available, well before they made it to the US and the UK. Over a decade ago, Tallinn became the first city to hold elections online, through the same system citizens use to pay their taxes and view all government data pertaining to them. Access to these features of Estonian technological life greatly widened when the country introduced a convenient system of e-Residency in 2014. For my part, I moved from California to Seoul. Home to such tech intensive conglomerates as Samsung and LG, the capital of South Korea has the most plausible claim to the title of the world’s most hi-tech city, despite the haphazardness of the unprecedented rapid development following its near-total destruction in the Korean War. “What a Londoner notices first is the ways in which the city is more advanced than his own,” historian Perry Anderson wrote 20 years ago, marvelling at this more-first-world-than-the-first-world metropolis that seemingly materialised from nowhere. “One is constantly struck by the intelligence brought to the inconspicuous details of living, as if the routines of urban existence were being freshly invented for the first time.” South Korea’s comprehensive internet infrastructure already sets speed records, and the government plans to widely implement 5G, the next generation of wireless connections, by the year 2020. And Seoulites can connect wherever they please – not only at the city’s more than 10,000 free Wi-Fi hot spots, but even underground, while riding one of the finest metro systems in the world. Real-time displays keep riders apprised of the location of the next train, and the same goes for buses. Commuters can also stop at one of the station’s “virtual stores” where, simply by snapping a picture of their desired product with their smartphone, they can arrange for its delivery to their home the very same day. Yet even in Seoul, the integration of the hi-tech into urban life occasionally gets stifled: a 1999 law meant to standardise internet payment systems has forced South Koreans to use increasingly outdated web browsers, and economic protectionism (often under the banner of national security) tends to render international e-commerce sites useless, as well as mapping and ride-share applications. However, the country has announced intentions of clearing up some of these issues by the time of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The fruits of humanity’s now seemingly constant technological revolutions and the living patterns of our urban population currently integrate nowhere better than they do in Seoul. Yet the title of the world’s most hi-tech city could go anywhere in the next decade: to a city about to emerge triumphantly from the developing world, to a historic capital that has turned to the future, to a slick development that has settled into its urban identity … or to some place as yet barely imagined. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook and join the discussion

Kumar A.,Durban University of Technology | Singh S.,Durban University of Technology
Critical Reviews in Biotechnology | Year: 2013

Current challenges and promises of white biotechnology encourage protein engineers to use a directed evolution approach to generate novel and useful biocatalysts for various sets of applications. Different methods of enzyme engineering have been used in the past in an attempt to produce enzymes with improved functions and properties. Recent advancement in the field of random mutagenesis, screening, selection and computational design increased the versatility and the rapid development of enzymes under strong selection pressure with directed evolution experiments. Techniques of directed evolution improve enzymes fitness without understanding them in great detail and clearly demonstrate its future role in adapting enzymes for use in industry. Despite significant advances to date regarding biocatalyst improvement, there still remains a need to improve mutagenesis strategies and development of easy screening and selection tools without significant human intervention. This review covers fundamental and major development of directed evolution techniques, and highlights the advances in mutagenesis, screening and selection methods with examples of enzymes developed by using these approaches. Several commonly used methods for creating molecular diversity with their advantages and disadvantages including some recently used strategies are also discussed. © 2013 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

Mohan T.P.,Durban University of Technology | Kanny K.,Durban University of Technology
Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing | Year: 2011

This paper deals with the water mass uptake of nanoclay and sisal fibre reinforced polymer composites. Nanoclays at 1 wt.%, 3 wt.% and 5 wt.% were filled in sisal fibre reinforced epoxy polymer and placed in a water medium. The result shows a dramatic decrease in water mass uptake of nanoclay filled composites. The water transmission rate (WTR) for 5 wt.% nanoclay filled composites reduced by three times when compared to unfilled composites. Hence the role of nanoclay on reducing water uptake is studied and results are compared with microclay filled composites. Tensile, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and wear studies were conducted for these composites before and after placing in the water medium. The properties decreased much for microclay filled and unfilled composites, however they improved significantly for nanoclay filled composites. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Rawat I.,Durban University of Technology | Ranjith Kumar R.,Durban University of Technology | Mutanda T.,Durban University of Technology | Bux F.,Durban University of Technology
Applied Energy | Year: 2011

Global threats of fuel shortages in the near future and climate change due to green-house gas emissions are posing serious challenges and hence and it is imperative to explore means for sustainable ways of averting the consequences. The dual application of microalgae for phycoremediation and biomass production for sustainable biofuels production is a feasible option. The use of high rate algal ponds (HRAPs) for nutrient removal has been in existence for some decades though the technology has not been fully harnessed for wastewater treatment. Therefore this paper discusses current knowledge regarding wastewater treatment using HRAPs and microalgal biomass production techniques using wastewater streams. The biomass harvesting methods and lipid extraction protocols are discussed in detail. Finally the paper discusses biodiesel production via transesterification of the lipids and other biofuels such as biomethane and bioethanol which are described using the biorefinery approach. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Singh S.,Durban University of Technology | Aznar M.,University of Campinas | Deenadayalu N.,Durban University of Technology
Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics | Year: 2013

Experimental densities, speeds of sound, and refractive indices of the binary mixtures {1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium methylsulphate ([BMIM] +[MeSO4]-) + methanol, or 1-propanol, or 2-propanol, or 1-butanol} were measured over the whole range of composition at T = (298.15, 303.15, 308.15, and 313.15) K. From the experimental data, excess molar volumes, excess isentropic compressibilities, deviation in refractive indices and molar refractions were calculated. The excess molar volumes, change in isentropic compressibilities, and deviation in refractive indices were fitted by the Redlich-Kister smoothing polynomial. The Lorentz-Lorenz equation was applied to correlate the volumetric properties and predict the density or the refractive index of the binary mixtures. Results for these quantities have been discussed in terms of intermolecular interactions between the components of the mixtures. For all the systems studied, the excess molar volume and excess isentropic compressibility are negative, while the change in refractive index on mixing is always positive over the entire composition range and at all temperatures. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Rawat I.,Durban University of Technology | Ranjith Kumar R.,Durban University of Technology | Mutanda T.,Durban University of Technology | Bux F.,Durban University of Technology
Applied Energy | Year: 2013

The economically significant production of carbon-neutral biodiesel from microalgae has been hailed as the ultimate alternative to depleting resources of petro-diesel due to its high cellular concentration of lipids, resources and economic sustainability and overall potential advantages over other sources of biofuels. Pertinent questions however need to be answered on the commercial viability of large scale production of biodiesel from microalgae. Vital steps need to be critically analysed at each stage. Isolation of microalgae should be based on the question of whether marine or freshwater microalgae, cultures from collections or indigenous wild types are best suited for large scale production. Furthermore, the determination of initial sampling points play a pivotal role in the determination of strain selection as well as strain viability. The screening process should identify, purify and select lipid producing strains. Are natural strains or stressed strains higher in lipid productivity? The synergistic interactions that occur naturally between algae and other microorganisms cannot be ignored. A lot of literature is available on the downstream processing of microalgae but a few reports are available on the upstream processing of microalgae for biomass and lipid production for biodiesel production. We present in this review an empirical and critical analysis on the potential of translating research findings from laboratory scale trials to full scale application. The move from laboratory to large scale microalgal cultivation requires careful planning. It is imperative to do extensive pre-pilot demonstration trials and formulate a suitable trajectory for possible data extrapolation for large scale experimental designs. The pros and cons of the two widely used methods for growing microalgae by photobioreactors or open raceway ponds are discussed in detail. In addition, current methods for biomass harvesting and lipid extraction are critically evaluated. This would be novel approach to economical biodiesel production from microalgae in the near future. Globally, microalgae are largest biomass producers having higher neutral lipid content outcompeting terrestrial plants for biofuel production. However, the viscosities of microalgal oils are usually higher than that of petroleum diesel. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Mohan T.P.,Durban University of Technology | Kanny K.,Durban University of Technology
Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing | Year: 2012

In this study the chemical treatment of sisal fiber using the combined alkali (NaOH) and clay is discussed. The purpose of this fiber treatment is to improve the fiber-matrix compatibility, interface strength, mechanical, thermal and water barrier properties. The phase change due to chemical treatment of raw sisal fiber was examined by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods. The result shows the presence of about 20 wt.% clays in NaOH-clay treated sisal fiber with 2.6× reduced water uptake and also with improved mechanical and thermal properties. Subsequently the treated and untreated fibers were reinforced in polypropylene (PP) matrix and the mechanical and thermal properties were examined. The result indicates that the fiber-matrix interface strength, adhesion, glass transition temperature and tensile properties of composites were improved in NaOH-clay treated fiber composites. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Singh B.,Durban University of Technology | Guldhe A.,Durban University of Technology | Rawat I.,Durban University of Technology | Bux F.,Durban University of Technology
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

The production of biodiesel can be accomplished using a variety of feedstock sources. Plant and microalgae based feedstocks are prominent and are studied extensively. Plant based feedstocks cultivated as monoculture on wastelands and trees in forests can cater towards partial fulfillment of feedstock requirements for biodiesel industry. Synthesis of biodiesel from microalgal oil has gathered immense interest and has potential to cater to the increasing feedstocks demands of the biodiesel industry. The major advantage offered by microalgal oil, as compared to plant based oils, is its potential for culture on non-arable land. Despite of the advantages of microalgal oil as a feedstock for biodiesel, there are constraints that have to be overcome in order to make it economical and sustainable. Sustainable approaches for both the plant and microalgae as feedstocks have been drawn. Despite there being several plant species, few have been found to be desirable as feedstocks for biodiesel production based on their lipid profiles. Among the microalgae, there are thousands of species and several of these have been cultured for extracting the oil to explore their feasibility in utilization as biodiesel feedstocks. Though, several of the microalgal species have shown potential for high biomass growth and lipid productivity, only a few have been found to provide a high biodiesel yield and conversion. Due to the several steps involved in the extraction of oil which are energy intensive, the cost of biodiesel from microalgal oil is high as compared with that obtained from the plant oils. A sustainable approach for utilizing plant and microalgal oils as feedstocks for biodiesel have been discussed. The emerging cost effective methods in production of biodiesel have been described. The energy return and greenhouse gas emissions from biodiesel have been outlined. Together, the plant oil and microalgal oil can offer potential source of feedstocks for the production of biodiesel. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Zloshchastiev K.G.,Durban University of Technology
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2016

Quantum-statistical effects occur during the propagation of electromagnetic (EM) waves inside the dielectric media or metamaterials, which include a large class of nanophotonic and plasmonic waveguides with dissipation and noise. Exploiting the formal analogy between the Schrödinger equation and the Maxwell equations for dielectric linear media, we rigorously derive the effective Hamiltonian operator which describes such propagation. This operator turns out to be essentially non-Hermitian in general, and pseudo-Hermitian in some special cases. Using the density operator approach for general non-Hermitian Hamiltonians, we derive a master equation that describes the statistical ensembles of EM wave modes. The method also describes the quantum dissipative and decoherence processes which happen during the wave's propagation, and, among other things, it reveals the conditions that are necessary to control the energy and information loss inside the above-mentioned materials. © 2016 American Physical Society.

Bhagwan R.,Durban University of Technology
Journal of Social Work Practice | Year: 2012

There is a paucity of scholarly work on Hindu spirituality in a social work context. For practitioners to be competent when working with Hindus, a deeper understanding of the beliefs and practices that underpin their faith and their use of ancient Indian healing practices when confronted with problems is critical. This paper journeys into Hindu sacred scriptures, prayer and worship rituals, astrology, ayurveda and meditation and explores their potential to create integrative synergies with conventional social work therapy. It also highlights the important role of the Guru in the fabric of Hindu healing and the importance of validating this together with the other realms of Hindu spirituality in practice. © 2012 Copyright GAPS.

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