Prof Peter Freere

Associate Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering
041 504 3577 (office), 041 504 3361 (lab)
North Campus, Building 203 (also known as building B), Room B02

Biography / Background

Prof. Freere has a Ph.D. in power electronic control of motors from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK and a research master's degree on the control of wind turbines from the University of New South Wales, Australia.  Although currently at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, he has worked in several universities around the world, such as Monash University, Kathmandu University, the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and short stints in Germany, Korea, and Cape Town.
He enjoys multidisciplinary research such as the role of solar energy in food production in the Himalayas, wind turbine control, timber fatigue, semiconductor fatigue, optical fibre sensing, as well as the more purely electrical areas such as electric vehicles, photovoltaic and wind turbine system control.

Ph.D. (electrical), M.E. (electrical, research), B.E. (electrical), B.Sc., (physics, maths).

Professional Activities

IEEE member.  Professional Engineer,ECSA

Teaching Interests

It is my aim that each student should achieve their potential. This means that I aim to challenge them to understand and apply their understanding.  My particular interest concerns the control of power, both conventionally using electric motors and generators, power electronics, and also renewable energy.  So when I am with the students, I would like them to be able to think about the field and apply it to build something that works. So they design and build their own voltage converters, and will be soon designing and building a simple electric motor. But as electronics and electrical devices often interact with mechanical items, then I want to introduce the  'how to think about the mechanical aspect' as well, so it all works well together.

Research Interests

I do enjoy working with renewable energy.  It is often challenging, not only intellectually, but physically in the field with wind and rain, or scorching days.  In one case, I was investigating the effects of climate change and food security over a period of 50 years in one area of the Himalayan mountains.  We had to walk for 8 hours a day for 7 days to get to the particular area.  Yet, the residents were not perturbed by the climate and food challenges, as they had various options, and they came from somewhere even more remote and inhospitable.  In these areas, I support the technology behind small hydroelectric schemes and have had a patent application for one of the novel controllers that we developed.  Now we are working on a the design and control of wind turbines so that they can operate at the normal wind speeds and also in storms.

Like those areas I have just described, my research is often driven by problems I experience in the field.  Every now and then, a major transistor fails and causes havoc, and so we have been investigating measuring the failing of the transistor so that we can have advance notice of its impending failure.  Such a situation can be found in an electric car.  If an inverter transistor fails, then the car may be immovable.  This is just the type of situation we want to be able to avoid by using our work.

Representative Publications 


2020 M. Tsosane, P. Freere, A. Roberts, "Impact Of Grid Connected Inverter Filters On Network Impedance And Harmonics", accepted to IEEE CEET conference, Melbourne, December 2020.
2020 R. Beyer, P. Freere, T. van Niekerk, "Design of a Universal Charger for a Light Electric Vehicle with Effect of an RCD Snubber on Peak Current Control", accepted to IEEE CEET conference, Melbourne, December 2020.
2019 E. Ribisi, E., P. Freere, "Reduced Starting Current For Single Phase Capacitor Induction Motors While Maintaining Starting Torque", IEEE conference Africon 2019, Ghana, 2019.
2019 S.Mtakati, P. Freere, A. Roberts, "Design and Comparison of Four Branch Passive Harmonic Filters in the Three Phase Four Wire Systems",  IEEE conference Africon 2019, Ghana, 2019.
2019 S. Bugingo, P. Freere, R. Schultz, "Imaging Techniques for IGBT Manufacturing Defects",  IEEE conference Africon 2019, Ghana, 2019.
2019 M. Ngugi, S. Wassin, P. Freere, T. Gibbon, "Design of a Polarisation Based Optical Fibre Sensor for Vibration Monitoring of a Wind Turbine Tower, SATNAC Conference 2019, Ballito, South Africa, 2019.
2017 E. Ribisi, P. Freere, “Stabilising photovoltaic dc rail voltage using an active filter”, Africon 2017, Capetown, South Africa.
2017 T. Tshabeni, P. Freere, “Comparison of informal settlement electrification”, Africon 2017, Capetown, South Africa.
2017 E. Chekure, K. Naude, P. Freere, “The effective use of the exhaustive search block matching algorithm in railway line tracking”, Africon 2017, Capetown, South Africa.
2016 P.Ghimire, P. Freere, R. Sinha, L. Mishnaevsky Jr., K. Silwal, M. Freere, “Evaluation of Hand Carved Timber Blade Performance for a Rutland 910 Wind Turbine”, SAUPEC 2016, Vereeniging, South Africa.
2012 Candy, S., Moore, G., Freere, P., "Design and modelling of a greenhouse for a remote region in Nepal", Evolving Energy-IEF International Energy Congress (IEF-IEC), Sydney, September 18, 2012
2009 Mishnaevsky Jr., L., Freere, P., Sharma, R., Bronsted, P., Qing, H., Bech, J, Sinha, R., Acharya, P., Evans, R., “Strength and Reliability of Wood for the Components of Low Cost Turbines; Computational and Experimental Analysis and Applications”, Journal of Wind Engineering vol. 33, no. 2, 2009, pp183-196
2008 Riahy, G.; Freere, P., “Practical Implementation of Hysteresis Control for Maximum Power Point Tracking of a Permanent Magnet Generator Wind Turbine” pp. 205-221(17), Journal of Wind Engineering, Volume 32, Number 3, May 2008
2005 Oh, T., Freere, P., “Comparison of Single Phase Self Excited Induction Generator Excitation Configurations using the Main and Auxiliary Windings”, IJGEI, journal on small hydro power systems, 2005.