The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science, and Innovation from South Africa spent five days in Switzerland. Following meetings with the federal government, the delegation visited the Universities of Bern and Zurich, the ETH, the EPFL Innovation Park, and CERN, among others. The OST was also on the program: the parliamentary representatives visited the UMTEC Institute for Environmental and Process Engineering and the SPF Institute for Solar Technology. The focus was on OST's experience and expertise in solar drinking water treatment, as well as the learning environment for OST students.
Michael Burkhardt and Andreas Reber welcomed the delegation and gave them a tour of the two institutes and the laboratories and lecture rooms on campus. The guests were impressed by the order, safety, and close interaction between teaching staff and students. Students also shared their experiences of everyday student life and teaching with the group.
UMTEC and SPF are carrying out several drinking water projects in African countries. In South Africa, a project is being implemented in which water is fed into a simple membrane filtration system (GDM) using a solar-powered pump. The system will supply an entire community with hygienically safe drinking water. The concept was developed by students in the Renewable Energy and Environmental Engineering (EEU) degree program. Next month, two OST employees will set up and commission the plant with local partners.