Nelson Mandela University will host the now called
Southern African Sustainable Energy Conference (SASEC),
which will take place from 15 – 17 November 2023, at The Boardwalk Hotel, Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
We look forward to hosting you in our beautiful province.
Come and join us.

The conference specifically focuses on research, development and deployment of methodologies, technologies and systems within the Southern African context related to sustainable energy (i.e. energy that can be replenished in the short-term, with no long-term environmental damage).

The conference provides the opportunity for researchers, engineers, technologists and individuals to share and discuss recent developments in the field. It is a particularly good opportunity for postgraduate students to showcase their research progress, and to develop knowledge and networks in the field.

Presentations at SASEC will be subject to the acceptance of an abstract and full paper.  The review process will consist of an initial review of one-page abstracts followed by a rigorous review of the complete papers.


  • Solar Thermal energy systems
  • Solar PV energy systems
  • Wind energy systems
  • Hydrogen, Hydro and Ocean Energy
  • Renewable energy resource assessment
  • Demand side and energy storage applications
  • Power systems planning and operations
  • Bioenergy (Thermochemical, biological, chemical and physical conversion systems)


Mahandra Rooplall

Talk Title: Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy for South Africa

Mahandra Rooplall is an industry strategist and industry planner. Mahandra Rooplall previously worked as a Project Investment Specialist focusing on energy economics, project development, risk management, project management and business development. In his career, Mahandra has advised State Owned Entity Clients, Lenders to Power Projects and Independent Power Producers in an Owner Engineering, Lenders Technical Advisory, Programme Management and Risk Management capacity. Mahandra also worked in the petrochemical and energy for 11 years undertaking investment analysis and risk management on major investments, business development on green field projects, project management on multidisciplinary projects and design of plant optimization systems. Mahandra has a degree in Electronic Engineering and an MBA. Mahandra is registered as a professional engineer (PrEng) and as a project management professional (PMP).

Abstract: The Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy (GHCS) was developed by the Green Hydrogen Panel and approved by Cabinet and is now in the public domain. This GHCS shows strong policy support from government in providing a conducive environment for investment in developing this new GH industry for South Africa. A roadmap and action plans are clearly presented in this GHCS. This presentation will summarise the GHCS, showing the key elements, enablers, action plan and next steps.

Claudia Buerhop-Lutz

Talk Title: Impact of polymers on the operation of PV modules

Dr.-Ing. Claudia Buerhop-Lutz is a Principal Scientist at Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy, HI ERN (Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH) since 2018. She recieved her PhD. in Material Science (1994) from Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuernberg in Germany. Before HI ERN, she was a group leader for infrared -IR-imaging at the Department of Renewable Energies at the Bavarian Centre for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern, 2008-2018). She has a stron g reaserach interest in installing more renewable energy for a successful energy transition, as well as ensuring high quality, efficiency and long lifetime of the PV installations. Dr. Claudia Buerhop-Lutz is the author of more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed Journals; she organized several topic-specific workshops and participates in standardization committees.

Abstract: The experience of recent years shows that polymers are of great importance for the trouble-free operation and a long service life of PV power stations. We studied thousands of PV modules in PV power stations in different climates. At that, we observed different degradation mechanisms. We will show that modules from the same manufacturer can degrade differently in one location depending on the polymer materials (backsheet and encapsulant). The degradation patterns range from well-performing to corrosion to potential induced degradation -PID- to insulation defects resulting in inverter tripping (and income losses), among others. The paper will provide an overview of known polymer-driven degradation processes; it is intended to raise awareness for the quality of polymers in PV modules for future installations, which are expected to last 20 years or more at environmental conditions in PV power stations.


Conference 1st Announcement 22 November 2022
Conference 2nd Announcement 1 February 2023
1st Call for Abstracts 6 March 2023
2nd Call for Abstracts 3 April 2023
Abstracts due 15 May 2023
Notification of Acceptance of Abstract 6 June 2023
Registration opens 30 May 2023
Early Bird registrations close 25 September 2023
Full Manuscript due 14 August 2023
Acceptance Notification of Manuscript 18 September 2023
Revised Final Paper due 9 October 2023
Registration closes 31 October 2023
Conference 15 – 17 November 2023


Registration for this event is currently open.


Workshop A

Machine Learning Applications in Renewable Energy

Date: 14 November 2023
Time: 9h30 – 15h30
Venue: Nelson Mandela University
Cost: R250 (add to your registration)

Dr Chantelle Clohessy and Dr Warren Brettenny

This workshop will cover machine learning methods in R and Python specifically as they relate to real world applications in renewable energy. Machine Learning methods have become popular in this space owing to their ability to solve problems and model practical phenomena and be implemented at a large scale. Attendees of this workshop will receive hands on instruction in these methods to develop an understanding of the benefits and limitations of these methods, and to discover how these methods can be implemented in their own field. The methods covered in this workshop include neural networks, support vector machines, random forests, k-nearest neighbours and others. No prior knowledge of these methods is required to attend this workshop.

DR Chantelle May Clohessy is a senior lecturer at the Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), South Africa. She obtained her PhD at the Nelson Mandela University in April 2017 in Statistics where her project title was “Statistical Viability Assessment of a Photovoltaic System in the Presence of Data Uncertainty”. She also completed her undergraduate and postgraduate training in both Physics and Statistics at the Nelson Mandela University. Her research focus is on renewable energy applications and statistical techniques used to assess these applications. She has knowledge in the fields of wind turbine noise, faults detection of solar panels using thermal an optical imagery (machine learning), fault detection and energy yield output estimation using tolerance intervals, solar resource forecasting, uncertainty assessments and statistical viability assessments of photovoltaic systems. Dr Clohessy has supervised various projects in the field of renewable energy.

Warren Brettenny, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Statistics at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa and is served as president of the South African Statistical Association (SASA) from 2021-2022. Dr Brettenny received his PhD in Mathematical Statistics from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2017 and has supervised postgraduate students and published papers in statistical modelling and machine learning applications in a range of areas including sports, finance, econometrics, and renewable energy. Of late, his research focus has been the use of machine learning techniques in the renewable energy sector, as well as on stochastic efficiency analysis applications.

SASEC 2023 Registration Fees

Early Registration
(Up to 18 September 2023)
Late Registration
(From 19 September 2023)
Standard Fee R7700 R9900
Student Fee R4850 R5500


Prof Ernest van Dyk (Chair, Sponsorship) 
Dr Jacqui Crozier McCleland (Finance) 
Chanie Neveling (CO, Secretariat, Sponsorship) 
Dr Chantelle Clohessy (Plenary Speaker Liaison) 
Dr Freddie Vorster (Review Committee Chair) 
Bailey Muir 
Inge-Rae Scholtz
Fhatuwani Mulaudzi


Located in the Eastern Cape, The Boardwalk Hotel, Convention Centre & Spa offers a luxurious retreat with a spa and a gym. The beachfront property boasts indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and air-conditioned rooms overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Fitted with carpeted flooring and fine bedding, each room enjoys much natural light from its floor-to-ceiling windows. Some rooms feature a balcony offering ocean views. A flat-screen TV is standard across all rooms, which also include an en suite bathroom with a complete set of toiletries.

The hotel has a restaurant and a bar on site, and limited room service is also available. Alternative dining options can be found in many restaurants nearby.

Guests can unwind with a soothing massage, play mini golf or relax in the sauna. Other on-site conveniences include currency exchange service, ATM machine and water sports facilities. Car rental and shuttle services are available for guests’ travel needs. Free WiFi is accessible in all areas

The Boardwalk Hotel, Convention Centre & Spa is situated 1 km away from the beach.  Airport shuttle services are available at a charge, while free on-site parking is provided.


Sponsors 2023


General Enquiries

Chanie Neveling
Physics Department: Nelson Mandela University