The South African government plans to finally implement the long-awaited carbon tax in June 2019 in an attempt to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

While transitioning, 60% of emissions will be tax-exempt up to 2022 to lessen the impact on industry. Over and above the basic 60% tax-free threshold for all sectors, additional allowances apply to various sectors and businesses.

South Africa’s logistics costs, as a percentage of its GDP, currently stand at around 13%, 7% of which is derived from land transport. “That figure is going to be hit quite hard by the carbon tax,” says Mike Schüssler of “It is going to make transport even more expensive and less competitive.”

He says the transport industry is going to have to think laterally if it is to limit the impact of the coming carbon tax.

The owners of Ducere Holdings, a South African green-energy start-up, is doing exactly that. They believe that their technology is the answer to the looming carbon tax.

The revolutionary MISER® hydraulic hybrid propulsion technology is a new approach to kinetic energy recovery and storage, resulting in engine optimisation – and the technology allows for reapplication for any form of vehicle. The company’s current project, the MISER® Hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System (MISER-HKS) is a retrofit hydraulic hybrid propulsion unit specific for heavy-duty vehicles. The system complements various other technologies aimed at dramatically improving fuel consumption, vehicle performance and total cost of ownership – while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions. And this will make the difference – to the environment as well as to the fleet owner’s finances. It has been shown to save up to 40% in fuel costs in certain drive cycles. The authoritative Gerotek proving facilities confirmed these claims in recent tests. A fuel saving of 40% will also mean a 37% reduction in carbon emissions.

MISER® achieves this with a hydraulic solution using a combination of braking energy recovery, engine optimisation and various modes such as torque summing, regenerative braking and launch assist. This provides an efficient medium for the fast storing and release of energy, while at the same time optimising engine performance by keeping the engine on the ideal brake-specific fuel consumption line.

The MISER® system can be installed in one of two ways. The first option (recently made available to the marketplace) is the MISER-HKS. It involves the fitment of the energy-recovery components only. Benefits are both regenerative braking and engine optimisation.

The second installation involves the replacement of the vehicle’s original gearbox as well as the fitment of the MISER-HKS. This is called the Hybrid Transmission System (HTS). Several additional advantages include savings specifically advantageous in highway-type driving cycles.

Unlike electrical systems that cannot scale due to technology constraints, MISER® can comfortably be fitted to a range of vehicles – from a small car up to a large excavator. This gives an advantage as we can participate in a wide range of sectors.

Schüssler says carbon tax will not necessarily benefit the broader transport industry.

“A lot of money in the general state coffers goes to salaries. It doesn’t go to help the environment; it’s not going to build us better roads to get rid of traffic jams so that we can have fewer emissions in the transport sector. It’s not going to fix robots. If we want the low hanging fruit, in our sector, we have to think differently.”

And that is what Ducere wants to offer with their new technology – a way to think differently, while at the same time save money and the planet.

About carbon tax

According to the Carbon Report, a carbon tax penalises companies and individuals that emit more carbon. Emissions can occur from various sources although the most common is fuel combustion in transportation and electricity generation. To put this into perspective, 1kg of carbon dioxide is emitted for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated in South Africa. The net result is that becoming energy efficient and lowering energy consumption becomes increasingly important.

Using pricing signals a carbon tax is designed to create incentives for companies, businesses and individuals to change their behaviors, consumption patterns and products from being carbon intensive to low carbon alternatives. This transition to low carbon options reduces our reliance on polluting fossil fuels and ultimately reduces emissions.