Chevening climate hero… Solar Silas: sun power to the people

Meet Silas, a Chevening Alumnus from Zimbabwe. After beginning his career working in the fossil fuel industry at a coal-fired power plant, Silas had a bright idea and decided to change course.


Silas studied an MSc in Advanced Chemical and Processing Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland with a Chevening Scholarship in 2020/2021. Here’s Silas’s story in his own words:

“I had been working at a coal-fired power plant as a plant operation engineer. As you know, coal-fired power plants are one of the biggest contributors to climate change. I then decided to work differently within the energy sector through the promotion of cost-effective renewable energy solutions for developing countries.

Solar mini-grids will most likely help developing countries to achieve energy access targets and also contribute to net zero emissions. However due to the intermittency of the solar resource there is a need for cost-effective batteries to work with these systems.

My MSc thesis was about finding the most cost-effective battery technology for mini-grids in Sub-Saharan Africa. The success of this project will make energy from mini-grids much more affordable and reliably available.

I also studied a course in clean combustion during my master’s degree. As part of this I look at turning waste to energy and the use of municipal and agro-processing waste to produce electricity. I also studied biomass and coal gasification. This means that instead of combusting coal and polluting our environment, we can use biomass and coal gasification to get hydrogen which is a clean energy source.”