Ms Alice Ikuzwe, AIMS South Africa alumni 2012

Using mathematical sciences to develop solar energy solutions for Africa

Alice is a brilliant young Rwandan woman breaking barriers in renewable energy. Since graduating from AIMS South Africa in 2012, Alice went on to obtain a Research Master’s in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronic) from Stellenbosch University where her thesis in “Modelling, Design, Construction and Installation of a Daylighting System for Classroom in Rural South Africa” served to lay the foundation for her PhD. Alice is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering specialising in solar energy systems and renewable energy at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

I am using my skills and knowledge in mathematical sciences to develop energy efficient lighting solutions and help increase access to energy among the poor and disadvantaged in Africa.”

Her research interests are in solar energy and how it can be harnessed for lighting systems. As a result of her research in this field, Alice has secured a patent in solar light reflectors. Together with Prof. A.B Sebitosi at Stellenbosch University, Alice has developed an innovative light collimator designed to enhance the amount of light captured and transported through tubular skylights. This improved light tube design offers more illuminance in buildings for substantial energy savings while increasing occupants’ productivity and comfort. The innovation is currently installed in one classroom at the Sustainability Institute in Lynedoch, South Africa. The International Energy Agency estimates that 585 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, with the electrification rate as low as 14% in rural areas. This is despite an abundance of solar energy in the continent, which has huge potential as a valuable source of untapped energy.

Alice is currently a founding member and the legal representative of Rwanda Women in Science, an initiative that promotes female participation in STEM. She is also a patent holder in The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World Secretariat. She is with no doubt a role model and inspiration to many.