Thinus Booysen, NWU alumnus, designed the Dropula device. He says Potchefstroom shaped him and helped him to grow. “The place is very dear to me. I believe that to a great extent I am the man that I am because of the way I was formed at university.”
Geysers are his latest challenge
Thinus is currently taking a sabbatical in New Zealand with his family. “I just had to get away after the past two years’ intensive work around this project in order to be able to proceed with my research,” he says.
“I am working with the University of Waykato to analyse user profiles of geysers. We are looking at heat control, water consumption profiles and the optimum usage of geysers to reduce the electrical burden on Eskom.”
Some of the algorisms that the team is developing could be utilised by machine intelligence to adapt the scheduling of geysers to the times that people need hot water.
Dropula is watching your water consumption
Thinus Booysen’s research on saving energy and water is very dear to him and has come in handy during the water crisis in the Western Cape.
Guests at the launch of the Dropula device are from the left Thinus Booysen, expert in electrical and electronic engineering, Pieter Engelbrecht, chief executive officer of Shoprite, Kieno Kammes, broadcaster from Cape Talk, and Mike Mavumana, principal of one of the first schools that started using this system.
Thinus, an alumnus of the NWU and currently a professor in electrical and electronic engineering at Stellenbosch University, has designed a special device that monitors water consumption.
The device is currently installed at 385 schools in the Western Cape. Dropula, named after Count Dracula, monitors the water consumption of schools and the flow of water to these schools.
“Dropula is a clever device that is connected to municipal water meters and sends information to the school principal, teachers and children via SMS or email when and where there is excessive water usage so that they can watch their consumption. The device can also provide water users with the detailed water usage statistics and estimated costs.”
More than 90 corporate enterprises have already bought into this idea and Shoprite is currently the biggest investor in the system.
Close to home
Thinus was born and raised in Klerksdorp and matriculated at the Klerksdorp High School. He obtained his degree in electrical and electronic engineering at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in 2000 and then completed his master’s degree at the NWU on a part-time basis.
“In 2006 I went abroad for a few years and came back to Stellenbosch, where I completed my PhD.”
Thinus has about 10 years’ international experience with organisations such as SunSpace, Rolls Royce, BMW, Boeing and Jaguar Land Rover.
Thinus is married to Ronel Burger, herself a researcher in economic development at Stellenbosch University. The couple has two little girls, Hanna (9) and Kara (5), who are currently at school in New Zealand.
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