Researchers at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi state, have designed and constructed an automated 500w solar energy generator to help electricity supply to rural communities in Nigeria.
Prof Abel Ezeoha, Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC Administration) of the University, told the News Agency of Nigeria at the ongoing 2022 STI expo in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ezeoha said the 500w solar energy generator was designed and constructed to extend electricity supply to rural areas in Nigeria.
“This is a project that does not depend on conventional energy supply to be powered and the research idea was drawn from the need to contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he said.
The DVC Administration said that the university profiled about five projects at the expo, all anchored around SDGs seven and eleven.
He said they were advancing these projects, which were all at prototype stages, after making significant improvements in getting them to the national level.
Prof Onuegbu Ugwu, Director, Research and Development at the university, who also spoke about the 500w solar energy generator, noted that it was to help mitigate epileptic power supply, especially in rural areas.
He said energy was one of the most critical challenges the country faced and that the automated 500w solar energy generator was designed for affordability, clean, and easily distributable.
Ugwu explained that the generator worked by tapping abundant energy directly from the sunlight, via its solar panel, where it would be harnessed and converted into electricity.
Dr Uche Onochie, the lead researcher of the solar energy generator, also explained that it was sustainable and eco-friendly to rural communities.
“AutoCAD software was used for the engineering design and specifications while Andruno was used for the automation of the system.
“The novelty of this project is that the lighting system is powered by automatic switching, which was achieved through the aid of a Light-Dependent Resistor (LDR),’’ Onochie said.
Onochie further said that the lighting system automatically switches on when the sun sets and switches off as the sun rises, thereby maintaining minimum loss of available energy.
Other projects exhibited by the university at the expo were, a 3D mobile solar-rechargeable refrigerator for the conveyance of COVID-19 vaccines to rural areas in Nigeria.
According to Ugwu, Director of Research and Development, the project offered a sustainable, affordable and efficient means of transporting COVID-19 and other vaccines to rural areas and capable of maintaining the cold chain of the vaccines.
Another project was the development of a novel strategy to tackle multi-drug resistant pathogens such as pseudomonas aeruginosis by Azorella atacamensis.
Dr Azuama Onyedikachi , a lecturer in the Microbiology department of the university, gave a brief outline of the innovative aspect of the research output.
“The research successfully established the efficacy of a novel therapeutic action mechanism termed `anti-virulence strategy.’
She highlighted the vital aspects of the research as well as the beneficiaries.
“Finally, it may be as a source of employment for agriculturists who would be engaged in planting activities that would add to the growth of the economy,’’ she said.
Prof Ezeoha, DVC Administration, and Prof Ugwu, Director of Research, called for university-industry partnership in order to mass produce and commercialise these research outputs for the benefit of Nigerians.
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