Popular Mechanics writer Sean Woods has taken top prize in the Siemens Profile Awards, a prestigious competition open to technology journalists across Africa. He beat more than 300 other entrants from 10 countries with an article describing the operation and benefits of biogas digesters.
In fact, it was a hat trick: aside from the top award, which includes a cash prize and an overseas trip, Sean won the competition’s Energy category and was named runner-up in the Industry category, which was captured by Popular Mechanics colleague Anthony Doman (a previous overall winner).
Sean’s winning article “Life’s a gas” relates the story of a couple in Noordhoek near Cape Town, Caryl and Peter Richmond, who decided to live the green life in style. Integral to their strategy was the installation of a biogas digester that produced gas from human waste for cooking – a process that resulted in a memorable paragraph:
“In fact, the system’s demand for certain, um, essential ingredients has introduced a new twist on post-prandial exchanges with guests, says Caryl. Rather than say, ‘It’s been fun… we must do this again’, she’ll end off the evening with an invitation: ‘If you enjoyed your meal, please express your gratitude by visiting our toilet.’”