Presentation topic: Addressing food security and generating sustainable building materials through mushroom cultivation.

Meet the presenter: Ms. Kristine Haukongo

Kristine Haukongo is a senior mushroom cultivator at MycoHAB Namibia, with a passion for mushroom cultivation, youth and women empowerment. Kristine recently defended her MSc thesis titled: Comparative Study on the Quality of Namibian Commercial Oyster Mushrooms cultivated on Encroacher Bushes as Substrates. With years of experience working in the field, she has made a significant contribution to the industry and has been instrumental in the development of MycoHAB Namibia. Kristine’s dedication to her craft is evident in her numerous published papers and conference presentations, where she shares her expertise and insights on the subject. Her commitment to the community is equally impressive, as she has offered various training programs on mushroom cultivation to empower youth and women in different villages. Through her efforts, Kristine has not only helped to develop a thriving mushroom cultivation industry in Namibia but has also made a significant impact on the lives of many individuals in the community.

Presentation topic: Nanocarbons from Biomass Waste: 21 Century Advanced Materials Manufacturing

Meet the presenter: Mr Chad Goodwin

Chad Goodwin is an activated carbon expert, cross-sector innovator, and serial entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience in developing energy storage materials. He is a holder of 10 patents on the development and production of energy storage materials. Mr. Goodwin’s current research focuses on developing activated biochar for low pressure hydrogen and methane storage, as well as direct air capture of CO2 from the atmosphere. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and private sector, Mr. Goodwin’s is investigating the conversion of farm waste into high value activated carbons.

Prior to his current biomass conversion work, Mr. Goodwin developed activated carbon structures from nanoengineered aerogels. This experience has enabled him to intimately understand how carbon structures affect performance and led to the creation of Group14 Technologies a US based lithium-ion battery anode materials company that is currently commercializing silicon-carbon composites. Mr. Goodwin also played a large role in the purchase of EnerG2 Technologies by BASF in 2016. Chad is now forward-focused and very excited to support Namibian leadership by using encroachment bush in the development of advanced materials for water filtration, advanced farming, and clean-energy transition that will create new industries and job opportunities.

Presentation topic: Export competitiveness of Namibia’s timber Sector: Implication for forestry sector

Meet the presenter: Mr Salomo Mbai

Salomo Mbai is a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Sciences and Agribusiness. Mbai has worked for NUST since April of 1998. He oversaw the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources at NUST from September 2009 to December 2021. He assumed leadership of NUST’s Agricultural Trade Policy Institute (ATPI) in June 2022. More than 26 papers were presented by him at conferences. He authored more than 15 technical industry reports while working as a consultant. Mbai is the authored/co-authored of more than 10 peer-reviewed journal articles that have undergone technical review.

Presentation topic: Controlled shrub harvest in southern Africa’s savannah changes the content but not the quality of their natural soil organic matter.

Meet the presenter: Prof. Heike Knicker

Prof. Dr. Heike Knicker studied biology with specialization in physical biochemistry at the Universität Regensburg, Germany and received her master (Dipl.-Biol.) in 1990 and her PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in 1993, Regensburg, applying solid-state NMR spectroscopy to study soil biochemistry. This work was expended to sediments and coals during her post-Doc at the Fuel Science Centre of the Pennsylvania State University, USA (1993-1996). Working first as Senior Researcher and later as Assistant Professor at the Technische Universität München, Germany, 1996 -2008 she finished her habilitation (Dr. rer. nat. habil.) in the field of soil science. Since 2008, she is working as Research Professor at the Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla which is part of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain. Beginning of June 2023, she changed to the Insituto de la Grasa of the CSIC. Most of her research is dedicated to issues related to soil biochemistry. The spectrum of projects ranges from the investigation of the interactions and stabilization of organic carbon and nitrogen in soils and sediments to the impact of changing soil managing practices on quantity and quality of soil organic matter. In addition, she is interested in the effect of vegetation fires on soil organic matter stability, which led me to the study of biochars and its impact on soil systems. Finally, the latter became a major topic of her present scientific activity. As a biochemist, she is highly interested in advancing analytical tools – in particular solid-state NMR spectroscopy – for an improved understanding not only of the structure and function of soil organic matter, biochars and related samples but also the interactions between the first and the latter. In 2016, she was awarded the Philippe Duchaufour Medal of the European Geosciences Union for outstanding research in the field of soil organic matter, in particular on the impact of fire on humic materials, and for furthering the knowledge of the origin and properties of pyrogenic soil organic carbon and nitrogen.

At present she is the coordinator of the project “Innovative Large-Scale Production of Affordable Clean Burning Solid Biofuel and Water in Southern Africa: transforming bush encroachment from a problem into a secure and sustainable energy source (SteamBioAfrica) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036401. Her presentation will contain results of this project focusing on the impact of bush harvesting on soil organic matter in Savannah Soils.

Presentation topic: Assessment of the Impact of Bush Encroachment and Bush Control on Soil Organic Carbon in Namibia

Meet the presenter: Prof Ben Strohbach

My interests lie in vegetation- and landscape ecology, ranging from baseline studies to applied management options. I am leading the Vegetation Survey of Namibia project, specifically aiming at providing a baseline description of the natural vegetation of Namibia. This project covers a large variety of climatic zones, landscapes and ecosystems in Namibia. Vegetation description and mapping is done at large (regional or landscape) scale, as well as at local small-scale studies on particular farm and/or conservancies. For management purposes, the vegetation is also described i.t.o. its suitability for livestock farming as well as it’s sensitivity to (potential) disturbance. Vegetation is not a stable feature of the landscape, but responds to anthropogenic pressure as well as climatic drivers. Changing climate has been experienced over the past years in Namibia, and future trends are uncertain. More extreme climatic conditions are predicted for the subcontinent – bigger rainstorms, more heat extremes, but also more severe dry spells. To monitor the effect of such changing climate, we are engaged with long-term monitoring of vegetation throughout the country, in collaboration with the University of Hamburg and the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. For the purpose of long-term monitoring, we have 21 biodiversity observatories throughout the country on which we regularly resurvey the plant biodiversity. These biodiversity observatories are supplemented by a number of auxiliary observatories, in which we can monitor for very specific purposes like erosion, specific plant species and -stands or lichen cover. With the annual monitoring, large emphasis is placed on monitoring using repeat aerial photography using state-of-the-art UAV technology. This technology is also used for specific applications like mapping and monitoring alien invasive species stands, stands of endemic species, as well as monitoring erosion features, and the success rate of the rehabilitation of these erosion features. A special mention is to be made of an application in the mining industry, where we are monitoring the health and success of rehabilitation work at mines with UAV technology. With the UAV technology I am combining the interesting fields of botany, vegetation ecology, remote sensing, and GIS into one. I am also a keen photographer of plants and landscapes and have contributed extensively to online plant identification guides as well as for field identification guides in the past.

Presentation topic: The present and future outlook of the Namibian encroacher bush-based biomass thermal processing industry

Meet the presenter: Dr Charles Rashama

Dr Charles Rashama is a renowned Biomass processing Practitioner. He has more than 15 years combined experience in industrial processing, applied and academic research that was accrued from 6 different African countries and projects. Dr Rashama’s expertise is in the biomass and/or organic waste to energy space. He has published more than 20 articles as either journal papers or book chapters related to biomass processing. Currently, Dr Rashama is currently affiliated to the SteamBioAfrica project as the process optimisation champion.

Presentation topic: Preliminary estimate of emissions for small and large-scale charcoal production in Namibia

Meet the presenter: Dr Paulus Shigwedha

Dr. Paulus Shigwedha is a Physicist by profession, currently serving as a post-doctoral researcher at NUST. He is an experienced researcher, having his work published in international scientific journals. Applying his research and data analysis expertise, this current study presents the work done to estimate emissions from different scales of charcoal production in Namibia.

Presentation topic: Encroacher Bush, Moringa and Jatropha caucus as Potential Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Complementary Feedstocks: A Namibian Perspective of Green Circular Bioeconomy and the Food-Energy-Water-Environment Nexus

Meet the presenter: Prof Habauka Kwaambwa

Prof Habauka Kwaambwa is Professor of Chemistry at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and from 2014 – 2022, he was the inaugural Head of the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Physics previously called the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences Department in the Faculty of Health, Natural Resources and Applied Sciences. He now heads the School of Natural and Applied Sciences as Associate Dean. He has previously worked at the University of Zambia, Bristol University, University of Namibia (UNAM) and University of Botswana. He holds BSc (Chemistry major and Mathematics minor) from the University of Zambia, and MSc (Surface Chemistry and Colloids) and PhD (Physical Chemistry) both from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. Prof Kwaambwa has also been a Visiting Fellow to then then University of Swaziland Now University of Eswatini) and Uppsala University, Sweden.

Since 2004, his emphasis has mainly been in studying the use of seed proteins of Moringa tree species for water treatment and is now also involved in the studies of the applications of different parts of the tree. For studies of Moringa include antimicrobial activities using different parts of the plant, animal feed and food formulation, plant-growth enhancing concentrates, nanoparticles preparation for antimicrobial activities, precious metals recovery, bacterial drug resistance, agroforestry, etc. Financial support from GIZ has in the last 3-4 years enabled him to also focus his research on various aspects biomass research in a green and circular biobased economy such as biorefineries, and production of wood plastic composites, activated charcoal, etc.

Prof Kwaambwa has published widely in international refereed journals, presented invited conference papers, received several external research funding grants and supervised successfully a number of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.

Presentation topic: Analysis of the state of Biomass procession and trading in Namibia’s growing recycling economy Improving charcoal production for the future.

Meet the presenter: Mr Shepherd Nyambe

At the age of 8, Shepherd started writing and performing poems at the primary school he was attending to bring about awareness on recycling, HIV/AIDS and other sustainability and social issues. When he was 13 (2014), he started conducting research on electrical energy trying to find solution to the energy sector that has contributed hugely to climate change. With many experiments at home and school, his research saw him inventing The Shepherd Energy Saver at 16 (2017).

As a green energy and research enthusiast, he has been recognized as a young African scientist, innovator, poet, and author passionate about African science advancement and climate action. In 2020 he started a non-profit organization (ShepThyGuru Initiative) to help bridge the gap between innovators and partners. Won the UNDP Covid-19 Creativity Challenge in 2020, the Global Startup Awards at National Level in 2021, and Total Energies Top 90 Startup Ideas in 2022.

He has conducted research in health sciences on Covid-19, common cold and flu; in energy sciences on Green Hydrogen, and on biomass and in sustainable development on human behaviours and habits on sustainability. He Was nominated for an honorary PhD in science at YBU and served as Campus Director for Hultz Prize Foundation while studying HIM at Botho University in 2021. Now a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community- Windhoek hub while advocating for Youth leadership and climate action and serving as President for Future Africa International Namibia at the University of Namibia, where he is studying for a degree in science. In April 2023 he was selected as a Future Energy Leader by the World Energy Council for 2024 World Energy Congress.

Presentation topic: The effect silage additives and ensiling duration on fermentation and nutrient composition of Senegalia mellifera bush silage.

Meet the presenter: Ms Magdalena Kamati

Ms. Magdalena Kamati is a PhD student in Agriculture (Animal Science) based at Neudamm campus of the University of Namibia. She is researching about ensiling of encroacher bush (Senegalia mellifera) and evaluation of the effects of feeding Senegalia mellifera– silage-based feed on milk yield, milk composition of lactating cows.

The research is funded by UNAM-RUFORUM Project RU/MCF/CARP+/2019/.