Power: Sahara ‘Light Up Nigeria’ Project unveils alternative energy sources

Today, we live in a world keen on powering nations, industries and homes with alternative sources of energy. Some nations have since recorded a significant shift in this quest, leading to milestone achievements in wind, solar, nuclear energy generation.

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Nigeria also has huge aspirations in this regard, as ongoing public and private sector driven partnerships in alternative power generation continue to gain ground across the nation.

On July 17,2014 at the Eko Hotel and Suites,five teams representing universities from around Nigeria came together to proffer sustainable solutions to the challenge of power supply in Nigeria using the Enactus Nigeria National Competition 2014 as the platform.

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“The Sahara Light Up Nigeria Power Challenge,”one of the headline events of the programme was sponsored by Sahara Group. Coming on the heels of its acquisition of Egbin Power Plant and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, the Sahara Group provided support for the programme to inspire accelerated and sustainable success for Nigeria in her quest for alternative energy sources.

The programme offered a platform for Nigerian undergraduates to task their intellect to create a better living experience for their localities through affordable and sustainable source of alternative energy.

“We have identified with and supported many sustainable interventions in the jurisdictions where we operate. The Sahara Light Up Nigeria Challenge represents another significant project for us as it seeks to provide sustainable solutions to our power challenges using Nigerian youths and components that can be sourced and replicated locally. We are overwhelmed by the ingenuity of some in the presentation and this further reinforces our faith in a brighter future for Power in Nigeria,” said Tonye Cole, Executive Director, Sahara Group.

The event featured representatives from the Kaduna Polytechnic, Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Kogi State, University Of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, University Of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State and University Of Science And Technology, Enugu.The five teams presented to judges practical inventions that have enabled far reaching positive impacts on the socio-economic well-being of the respective communities where the institutions are located.

The projects highlighted include:

Kaduna Polytechnic – Wind Turbine

This project leverages on windmill technology to provide electricity for a community that has never experienced power supply. Power generated from the wind mill is stored in a dry cell battery and converted through an inverter for use. It has the capacity to power 50 light bulbs (2 bulbs per household) and can last over a 12 hour period. It does not portend any safety issue unlike the conventional electricity ie cannot cause electrocution. The team also planned to train five community members on the key functions of the systems for sustainability. The items used in creating the technology are environmental friendly and bio-degradable.

Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Kogi State – Solar Incubator For Agriculture

The project is meant to address the challenges of power in a poultry farm. This incubator is a semi-automatic incubator. It does not use fuel or a diesel engine, it uses solar panels and of which it has a 100 AMP battery for storing energy from sunlight along with charger controller. When fully charged, it can provide stored energy that will last three days, securing uninterrupted power supply. This incubator is noiseless, eliminating air pollution.

University Of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State – Wind Turbine (Green Wine)

Still leveraging on windmill technology to provide electricity to the community’s health centre which has no access to public power supply. The items used in creating the technology are environmental friendly and bio-degradable. It requires only wind to generate power that will be converted into electricity.

University Of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State – Fuel less Generator

The project is targeted at small business owners facing the challenges of electricity supply which affects businesses on a daily basis and individuals facing the problem of powering basic household appliances. This project employs the principle of an inverter to generate power, making use of a battery as the primary source of energy. The generating sets require no fuel to generate power and they are also noiseless.

Enugu State University Of Science And Technology, Enugu – Fuel less Generator (Energy Of Empowerment)

The generator is made up of a battery, alternator and an inverter. The project is targeted at small business owners facing the challenges of electricity supply. The generator is eco-friendly as it emits a reduced amount of gas because it is does not use fuel, thereby protecting the environment and providing electricity.

Following a keenly contested competition, Kaduna Polytechnic emerged winners of the 2014 Sahara Light up Nigeria challenge. Their wind turbine invention, inspired by the need of the people,  is one that holds huge promises for the institution’s host community, and indeed, the entire nation. The team who felt very excited about their win and the fact that their vision to create a sustainable and affordable source of electricity was actualized, said:

“Sahara has created a captivating challenge for the youth. We are starting early and hope to create a path for the generation coming, to ensure greater works by them and a rapid development in our nation”- Daniel Onovoh (student of Kaduna Polytechnic).

Sahara Group remains committed to supporting the initiative as well as other sustainable alternative energy sources that will position Nigeria for accelerated socio-economic growth and development.

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