In this report, ABDULLAHI OLESIN highlights the recent innovation and invention at the University of Ilorin
The University of Ilorin apart from its celebration of over two decades stable academic calendar has continued to wax stronger in the areas of innovation and research.
The latest of such innovations and research works are renewable wind energy solution and fabrication of pencil making machine.
The good news is that, experts in renewable wind energy solution from the United States of America have indicated interest to partner the institution which christened itself as “Better by Far” to enable the institution migrate from diesel/petroleum based generators, to Venturi wind based renewable energy solution.
Upon completion, the Venturi wind based renewable energy will provide 24-hour clean and green renewable energy for the university’s community.
Venturi Renewable Energy Solution is an electrical power plant driven by wind that designs, develops, and manufactures green energy producing system.
In separate presentations held on July 3, 2019 at the Unilorin Central Research Laboratory Conference Room, by Venturi Energy Ltd and Venturi Energy and Wind Sciences Ltd, both franchises of Venturi, a US-based company, the experts said the revolutionary technology produces clean electricity with a perfect sinewave which means the university would require less energy to power all the appliances in the institution with very low maintenance.
On the benefit of Venturi and a Public, Private Arrangement (PPA) agreement, their proposals say the university would be using less energy to power all the appliances in the university. Adding that, using less energy reduces the monthly expenses with over 40% or more savings.
According to the proposals, the clean green renewable energy will help to reduce pollution and eliminate the need for fossil fuels, the university would be protected against market variability, the university may also be able to sell power back to the grid.
Another major benefit to the university is that all operating costs, maintenance and servicing would be covered for the period of the PPA.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof B. F. Sule, said that the technology is cool and it’s a green energy.
Sule said that there was a commitment by the management to look for alternative energy solution, saying that the two teams came with a new concept of wind based renewable energy solution that could solve the immediate problem of the institution and which does not have so much hazard.
He said it would be nice to see the University of Ilorin as the first institution to use green energy in generating and serving the university’s community among the nation’s universities.
Also, the Director of Unilorin Renewable Energy Centre (UREC), Prof J.O. Olaoye, said that his team would see how the University can also have control over the technical use of the system.
He said the agreement must ensure that researchers and students of the university must also be part of the building process.
Olaoye pointed out that “the presentations from both parties was to help the University to eliminate dependence on diesel /fuel, and with time we could eventually connect with the national grid to the point where we can also have a way of selling out the energy generated for other users.
“We need to work with the details because we need some technical details that will work with the wind condition of our environment. We know the product is good but we must assess the wind condition of the university community before we could conclude on whether the proposals would be acceptable.
“We hope we can work with the technical team of this provider of the energy and find a way of providing an energy that will be suitable for our own economy ecology.
“Aside generating another source of energy for the university, we want to see how we can also have control over the technical use of the system. The agreement we must strike with this group is to ensure that our student must also be a part of the building up.
“We are not interested in a company bringing up a product, assemble them and make us just consumers, but we want to be a part of providing the solution right from the scratch so our students and researchers within the system could also benefit.”
The proposal of the Venturi Energy and Wind Sciences Ltd was presented by their Sales Representatives, Mr. S. K. Oluwatobi and Mr. A. Jiwa, while that of the Venturi Energy Limited team was presented by Mr. Olusola Oyinloye and Mr. I. B. Adewole.
The university has also recorded another research breakthrough as a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Habeeb Ajimotokan, has fabricated a machine that is capable of producing different shapes of pencils in commercial quantities.
Ajimotokan disclosed that the machine, whose fabrication from locally-sourced off-the-shelf materials he supervised, has been tested and found to be capable of producing 400 units of pencils in an hour.
The don, who is a specialist in Mechanical Process and Energy Engineering, said that he and his team were currently working on producing eraser-fitting and pencil-end-cutter, which would make the local production of pencils a resounding reality and for which a patent would be sought thereafter.
He said that the initial pencils produced through the machine could only be sharpened with razor blade, a situation that compelled him and his team to go back to the drawing board, which culminated in the production of a normal pencil comparable with the imported ones in every parameter.
Ajimotokan said that the raw materials for the pencil itself were gotten from waste papers and graphide that abound everywhere, saying that pencil-making was not only cheap but could provide job opportunities for many unemployed Nigerian youths.
He added that he was propelled to work on the domestication of the pencil-making machine in order to reduce the hard-earned hard currency being expended on the importation of that essential material for the nation’s education sector.
The don commended the enterprising dispositions of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, and his management team, which, he said, was encouraging productivity and ingenuity among staff members and students of the university.
He particularly hailed Abdulkareem for his personal encouragement, saying that he commenced the processes which led to the re-modification of the machine when the Vice-Chancellor was the Director of the university’s Laboratory to Products (LABTOP) unit based on the advice he was offered by the unit.
Ajimotokan, who lamented that paucity of funds impeded the speed with which he had intended that the machine would be produced, called on well-to-do entrepreneurs to partner the university in producing the machine in large quantity, adding that the amount needed to do so is not too much, as its economic value could not be over emphasised considering the number of end users of the product.
He also said that it was important for governments at various levels to encourage scientific and technological innovations through favourable public policies and adequate funding of research, saying that Nigerian scholars have the expertise to go places if given the enabling environment.
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