Erik Kiderlen: education is key

By Ilana Koegelenberg

For more than four decades, Erik Kiderlen has worked as researcher, contractor, consultant, plant engineer, and special systems design engineer in the local HVAC field — dedicating his life to enable the training and development of engineers.

EK001 web

Erik Kiderlen, the ‘professional pensioner’, who dedicates his time to training in the HVAC&R industry.

Although Kiderlen describes his job title as “Pr Pens” (professional pensioner), he is still involved in the industry as a mechanical engineering consultant and engineering mentor. He is also a training co-ordinator on the South African Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (SAIRAC)’s Cape Town committee. “My aim is to inject logical queries and practical questions into any and all engineering challenges,” he explains. “I am responsible for asking the ‘to which standard?’ question in any engineering work, especially relating to HVAC&R’s effects on energy efficiency.” He has a set of edited energy-efficiency handbooks that were published by a Cape Town specialist publisher.

Life’s a journey

Kiderlen was born in Amersfoort (the Netherlands) and grew up in Indonesia, before moving to South Africa where he completed his secondary and tertiary education. He currently resides in Cape Town with his family, where he spends his free time as an honorary South African National Parks ranger and riding his Kawasaki motorcycle.

He holds various degrees, including a BSc and BSc Honours in Mechanical Engineering (University of Pretoria); a master’s degree in Industry Admin (University of Cape Town); and a long list of other industry qualifications.

He started his engineering career at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), working on projects that involved heat mechanics, such as wind tunnel tests for finned coil thermal performance; biltong drying rates for commercial drying tunnels; and heat stress tests in high-humidity acclimatisation chambers for miners who would work underground.

Whilst doing this, he worked on developing the first set of class notes for refrigeration and AC courses, at N4 to N6 level. He was also a part-time lecturer at Pretoria Technicon for the evening classes covering this topic. He then spent some time at the Department of Higher and Technical Education, developing class notes, setting examinations, and acting as tutor and examiner for direct classroom courses. After this, he moved to Damelin (now Intec), fulfilling the same role, but for distance learning students.

Currently, Kiderlen is involved with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)’s revised evaluation process and as such, has mentored about five candidate technologists and engineers to obtain their professional registration. He is also directly involved in organising the Industrial and Commercial Use of Energy (ICUE) conferences for the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Why this industry?

Kiderlen is motivated by the wide scope of the HVAC&R field — from human temperature physiology to condenser water fouling factors. For Kiderlen, this industry is his life. “HVAC&R is all that I ever do, because daily it enables me to be amazed at and respectful of our God-given environment.”

Future plans

Kiderlen’s plans include a variety of training-orientated goals, including ensuring that SAIRAC’s enrichment courses are up to scratch and relevant to our local industry, with course content based on local practical limitations.

RACA Readers promo 01


IMD logo Whitesmall

Interact Media Defined (IMD), is one of South Africa’s leading multi-media magazine publishers READ MORE


Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy policy

Talk to us

JHB T : +27 (0) 11 579 4940
CPT T : 0861 727 663
E :

13A Riley Road, Bedfordview,
South Africa 2007

© Interact Media Defined