Surveillance Technology: Nigerian Airforce Engineers designed, build drone – target pipeline monitoring

By Luka Binniyat | Report Published in Vanguard of Nigeria

Drones - as military use expands, civil use being developed
Drones – as military use expands, civil use being developed

KADUNA — Young officers from Nigerian Air Force School of Engineers, Aircraft Design Centre, Kaduna, yesterday, dazzled the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey-Ewa when they displayed to him an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, UAV, referred to as drone, which could fly non-stop for about four hours at 3000 feet.

The drone was conceptualised, designed and built by them in Kaduna under the direct supervision of the Provost of the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, Institute of Technology, Prof. Emmanuel Ezugwu.

According to officials of the institute, the drone’s empenage was about three metres while the wing span was about half a metre.

The four officers, all Flight Lieutenants, said it was a three-year effort in collaboration with Cranfield University of United Kingdom with funds from the Federal Government.

The officers who asked that all the credit for break through be given to the Commandant of the school and Chief of Air Staff pleaded that their names be not mentioned in the press.

The school had earlier displayed a conceptualised model of an ab-initio training fighter aircraft known as Farawa (meaning “the beginning” in Hausa) for the Air Force just as it was trying to design a Nigerian-made Air Beattle, AB-18, for the Air Force.

The four officers had bagged Masters degrees in various fields related to avionics from Cranfield University, after their first degrees from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.

They told Vanguard: “We designed and built this UAV based on the pressing needs of our country today. The vehicle can be used in pipeline monitoring, border patrol, mapping and disaster monitoring. Other areas of use include  maritime patrol, aerial surveillance and pest monitoring.

“The vehicle can fly at 3000 feet, and remain airborne for four hours using petrol for now. The first one we built is called Amebo 1. The second one is Amebo 2 and is an improvement over the first.
“If we keep getting the right support as we are getting now, we will accomplish our mission for the country.”

In fact in the next five years, we may start building our own light aircraft for training new pilots”, the officers said.

The Minister who was obviously amazed at the development was in Kaduna attending the National Stakeholders’ Workshop/Exhibition on National System of Innovation, NSI, during which several inventions by Nigerians were exhibited.

Earlier in his opening remarks at ceremony the Minister had said, “as demonstration of the drive towards promoting innovations the Ministry is calling for entries for the maiden, ‘’Best

Innovation/Invention Award.’’

The award which was open to individuals, institutions and corporate bodies  has a grand prize of N1 million.

Technology Trend: New Tech Harvests Electricity From Train Track Vibrations, Implications for Africa

By Tunji Ariyomo

Credit: Inhabitat

NDi, 2012 – Science on the leap! Engineers at the Stony Brook University in the United States have won a national award for an innovative technology that will harvest energy from railroad train vibrations.

There is no doubt that success at this will change the economy of rail transportation. As a game changer, it could help provide critical answers to some of the key challenges to rail transportation in third world countries. Electric power has been one of such core issues that have prevented many developing economies from catching up with the rest of the world in terms of efficient modern rail transportation. This has restricted investment, especially in Africa, to diesel powered locomotive engines with the attendant  challenges to the environment.

This innovation by a team led by Professor Lei Zuo should therefore encourage leaders in Africa to sponsor research along a similar corridor, particularly how to optimise such energy generation that would make it substantial enough to power light rail transportation.

Tunji is the Energy Policy Chair of the NDi


The press statement by the host university, Stony Brook University is reproduced below.

Press Release (Visit HERE)

STONY BROOK, NY, November 15, 2012 – Stony Brook University engineers have won a national award for an innovative energy harvester that has the potential to save millions of dollars in energy costs for railroads while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The team’s work, “Mechanical Motion Rectifier (MMR) based Railroad Energy Harvester,” was awarded “Best Application of Energy Harvesting” at the Energy Harvesting and Storage USA 2012 conference, held in Washington, DC on November 7-8, 2012.

The Stony Brook team, led by Professor Lei Zuo and two graduate students Teng Lin and John Wang from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, developed a new type of energy harvester that converts the irregular, oscillatory motion of train-induced rail track vibrations into regular, unidirectional motion, in the same way that an electric voltage rectifier converts AC voltage into DC.

Professor Zuo estimates that the invention could save more than $10 million in trackside power supply costs for railroads in New York State alone, along with a reduction of 3000 tons per year of CO2 and a half million dollars of electricity savings.

Stony Brook University Professor, Lei Zuo, PhD
Stony Brook University Professor, Lei Zuo, PhD

“The U.S. has the longest rail tracks in the world, approximately 140,700 miles; that are often in remote areas. It is very important but also very costly to power the track-side electrical infrastructure, such as the signal lights, cross gates, track switches and monitoring sensors,” Professor Zuo said. “Our invention, the ‘Mechanical Motion Rectifier (MMR) based Railroad Energy Harvester,’ can harness 200 watts of electric energy from train-induced track deflections to power the track-side electrical devices. By using two one-way clutches, the innovative mechanical motion rectifier converts the irregular up-and-down vibration motion into unidirectional rotation of the generator, thus breaking the fundamental challenge of vibration energy harvesting and offering significant advantages of high efficiency and high reliability.”

The technology of the MMR based Railroad Energy Harvester has been licensed to Electric Truck, LLC/Harvest NRG, Inc., who initially supported this project. It is also supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Research Center (UTRC-II), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), SUNY Research Foundation and private industry.

In addition to the economic, environmental and energy benefits of the device, Professor Zuo said the most important technical innovations in this harvester are the unique mechanical motion rectifier that changes the irregular up-and-down vibration into regular unidirectional rotation of the electrical generator, and synergistically integrating the fly wheel into the energy harvesting system to further increase energy conversion efficiency and stable power output. Another important feature is the creative implementation of MMR in one shaft design, which proves to increase the energy converting efficiency to over 70 percent.

“With the MMR design, the technology advances the traditional energy harvesting, including directly generating high-quality DC power without an electrical rectifier in the vibration environment; enabling an electrical generator to rotate in one direction with relative steady speed in a more efficient speed region; and changing the negative influence of motion inertia into positive, thus reducing the mechanical stress and increasing system reliability,” he said. “Such a design not only avoids the challenges of friction and impact induced by oscillation motion, but also enables us to make full use of the pulse-like features of track vibration to harvest more energy.”

Professor Zuo and his team have been working on vibration and thermoelectric energy harvesting in the past several years to harness power from different sources, including trains, cars, tall buildings and ocean waves. In 2011, the team won a prestigious R&D 100 Award – dubbed the “Oscar of Invention” – for the development of retrofit energy-harvesting shock absorbers that convert vibration, bumps, and motion experienced by the suspension of a vehicle or train into electric power. The regenerative shock absorber for cars can harvest 100-400 watts from the vehicle vibrations under normal driving conditions. The shock absorbers also won the Energy Harvesting and Storage USA 2010 award for Best Technology Development of Energy Harvesting.

Source and Credit: Stony Brook University (2012, November 15). Technology harvests energy from railroad train vibrations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 2012.

Giant strides by the pee-girls

By Tolulope Ariyomo

No doubt, you have read the news. The four girls. Four inventors aged 14 (one is 15) from Africa (Nigeria) and their invention – a generator that produces electricity for six hours using a single litre of urine as fuel.

Eric Pfeiffer provides the details:

“The generator was unveiled at last week’s Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, by the four teens Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all age 14, and Bello Eniola, 15.”

“How the urine-powered generator works:

    • Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.
    • The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
    • The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
    • This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.”

READ Eric Pfeiffer’s here.

This was the star attraction at the last The Maker Faire, a popular event across Africa.

Three of the four inventors of the urine-powered generator (Photo Credit: Eric Hersman)
Three of the four inventors of the urine-powered generator (Photo Credit: Eric Hersman)

So, what is the story?

Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola are young teenage high school girls in Lagos, Nigeria. Their invention is further proof that the African continent must expose the girl child to proper education and grant equal rights to female kids as they would their male counterparts. With the right environment and motivation, girls will work hard side by side with their male counterparts in the onerous task of finding sustainable and lasting solutions to the various challenges being faced by Africa.

Tolulope is the editor of the women-in-science blog of the NDi

Technology Stride: A camera that can see around corners – By Ramesh Raskar

Report Credit: CNN and Ted

Editor’s note: Ramesh Raskar is Associate Professor at MIT Media Lab and head of the Camera Culture research group. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2009), a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty award, the co-author of “Spatial Augmented Reality”, and the holder of more than 50 US patents. He spoke at the TEDGlobal conference in June. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website.

(CNN) — A camera that can see around a corner?

I know this sounds like something in a sci-fi movie or a superhero comic, but this is a real-world technology we’ve made possible with a camera that is aware of the travel time of light, an imaging technique that can create movies of light in motion with an effective rate approaching a trillion frames per second: the speed of light.

Before I joined the MIT faculty in 2008, I had done deep research in “computational photography,” a field of new imaging techniques dramatically improving the capture and synthesis of photos. But, I knew there was more to photography than just depicting what the eye can see. I wanted to create a camera that could see beyond the line of sight. The speed of light isn’t infinite: light travels about a foot per billionth of a second.
Photography could make X-rays obsolete

If I could build a camera fast enough to analyze light at high speeds in room-sized environments, I knew we could then create cameras to solve major problems in scientific and consumer imaging, and enable completely new functionality.

I spoke to top researchers in ultrafast lasers and photonics to understand what was currently possible. When I did, most of them asked some version of: “Why? Why spend years building a camera to look around corners when no commercial application is screaming for it and no funding agency has a call for it?” In addition, it’s rare to shoot light pulses and analyze at such high speeds in large environments. Ultra-fast imaging experiments are usually limited to centimeter- or smaller-size samples.

I continued the work and in the spring of 2008, with James Davis from UC Santa Cruz, wrote a proposal that laid out the mathematical foundation and various experimental solutions for exploration.

I also began working with Media Lab graduate student Matthew Hirsch to build a prototype, hoping that we would have something to demonstrate within a few months. The grant proposal was rejected for administrative reasons (I made a paperwork error!), which meant we had to wait nearly a year to apply again. But those two years didn’t yield any meaningful results, as our lab components weren’t designed to be used the way we wanted.

After nearly three years of experimental work, the team — especially postdoctoral associate Andreas Velten and MIT professor Moungi Bawendi, many students, and several collaborators — cobbled together pieces of the puzzle and built a software program to create a first demonstration of looking around corners. Very soon afterward, we could also start creating surreal movies of light in motion.

We call this new imaging technology femto photography because we capture a segment of the image with a flashlight (in this case, a laser pulse) on for a few millionths of a billionth of a second (or a few femtoseconds) and an exposure time approaching a trillionth of a second.

Just how fast is femto photography? Think of it this way: if we took one-thousandth of a second of footage from the femto camera video output and slowed it down to the speed of 30 seconds per frame — the approximate speed of a standard TV broadcast — it would take us a lifetime to watch.

Photographers know that at very short exposures and even at the most sensitive setting for dark scenes, we will record barely any light. So what about in a trillionth of a second? We actually record and average millions of photos to get enough light, each photo made to look the same via carefully timed synchronization with the light pulse. So even if our exposure time is indeed nearly a trillionth of a second, to get sufficient light we must take an average. Thus, as of now, we can only record repeatable events, but this is not a fundamental limitation.

Unlike conventional cameras, our femto camera captures an image as one thin slice at a time of one-dimensional space using a “streak tube,” a laboratory instrument that is commonly used by chemists to study light passing through chemical samples. We then take hundreds of these narrow videos (each shot at a slightly different angle) and create a carefully synchronized, slow-motion composite of the light pulses. It takes about an hour to collect and aggregate the data (view a demonstration of a light pulse as it travels through an ordinary Coca-Cola bottle).

To see around the corner, we use femto photography to analyze scattered light. We bounce light off of visible parts into hidden parts and then measure the time and direction of returned light.

Usually the scattering of energy is considered a nuisance — whether driving in fog or poor reception from a cell phone tower — and most techniques either try to avoid it (by turning on fog lights) or reduce the impact of scattering (by selecting energy for the phone only from direct paths).

In contrast, we exploit the scattering. For the camera, a laser pulse is fired at a wall, and the impact of hitting the wall causes the particles of light to scatter. Some of the scattering particles return to the camera at different times. This is repeated about 60 times per image as the camera measures how long it takes for the light to travel back and where the particles land. An algorithm then crunches the data to reconstruct the hidden image. This technique even allows us to see a three-dimensional object such as a mock-up of running person.

As exciting as this work is, don’t look for this technology to be in practice tomorrow — we’re still years away from bringing this to market. But, we can already imagine multiple ways that it could have a significant, positive impact on our everyday lives.

By allowing us to “see” around a corner, for example, this technology added to our cars could let us know if there’s another vehicle approaching around a blind curve. It also could give us a new way to look deep inside our bodies without X-rays, or to look through a window into a burning building from a distance to see if anyone is left inside –without risking a firefighter’s life.

When I gave a TEDGlobal talk on femto photography in June, I began with a reference to Doc Edgerton, a very popular MIT professor of electrical engineering who, in 1964, wowed the world with an image of a bullet in midair, having just passed through an apple. He accomplished this by using a strobe light to freeze the action of the bullet at a millionth of a second.

What we’re talking about here — the speed of light –is a million times faster, and is opening the door to a complete rethinking of what we mean by, and can do with, photography. It is a first step toward a new world of imaging that far exceeds human ability, resynthesizing data and depicting it in ways that are within human comprehensibility.

Energy Development in Nigeria: Call for Paper


The professionals have equal obligation to contribute to national development through their respective vocation as the government. Their technical expertise and vast experiences cannot be ignored by any serious policy makers. In your heads, lie the solutions to the varying problems ravaging the nation. Come, let us put head together and chart a way out of our energy crisis. To serious professionals in energy sector, investors, policy makers and general public:  between 17th and 19th of October 2012, Enugu is the place to be!


The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NimechE), a division of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), announces its International conference ad Annual General meetings coming up in Enugu, Nigeria between 17th and 19th October 2012. This event will also mark the Silver jubilee anniversary of the institution.

The theme of this year conference is “APPROPRIATE ENERGY MIX FOR SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT”. This choice of this year theme is in response to the many challenges facing the country and especially the energy sector which has been having far reaching effect on the national economic as some industrial concerns and small and medium enterprises groan silently under the yoke of crippling and inadequate energy infrastructure, which often lead to high cost of production. Small and medium enterprises and some industrial concerns have had one disappointing story or the other over our energy challenges.

NimechE is determined to contribute into finding solution to the sector and is therefore calling on all professionals, technocrats, technologists and policy makers to participate. The event is Tagged “Coal City 2012…”

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa is aspiring to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by year 2020. This aspiration is anchored upon many parameters affecting the nations. In energy sector, the challenges are more profound as the government and policy makers recognize the important of energy in industrial and technological development of the country. This in turn, will naturally have far reaching effect on the nation’s economy. The task ahead calls for the participation of every stakeholder in both private and public sector.

In achieving this goal, the national policy makers yearn earnestly to explore all available opportunities toward meeting the target goals of providing sustainable energy for the use of both individuals and industrial concerns.  It is upon this basis that NimechE is inviting the general public, investors, professionals and stakeholders to come forward and participate in this year International conference in Enugu. The conference aims at bringing everyone together to brainstorm, explore new opportunities and provides the way forward while also providing opportunities for them to network.

Intending contributors from academic institutions (both polytechnics and universities) are invited to submit technical papers for the event.

The sub-themes of the conference are as follow

  1.       Power Plant generation maintenance, safety and reliability issues
  2.       Bio-energy
  3.       Renewable energy sources
  4.       Energy investment and entrepreneurship
  5.       Energy planning, policy optimality and security issues
  6.       Energy issues in manufacturing industries
  7.       Energy and social issues

Intending author(s) is/are required to submit paper(s) to meet the following deadline

15 July 2012                                        submission of full papers

15 August 2012`                                submission of provisional acceptance

30 August 2012                                  submission of final corrected papers

30 September 2012                         publication of abstract and proceeding


Papers should be emailed to:,,,,


  1. Language- English
  2. Length – 8 t0 12 pages
  3. Manuscript should be typed in 12 points, Times New Roman font on A4 paper leaving an inch margin on each side and at the top of all but the first page. The title and author information is to be centered across the first page and then a two column format is to be followed for the balance of the paper.
  4. Manuscript should be 1.5 lines spaced, with 2. 0 lie between paragraph indentations.
  5. The paper should include
    1. Title (10 words maximum)
    2. Author(s) name(s) and present address(es)
    3. Abstract (maximum 300 o words)
    4. A maximum of six key words
    5. A clearly written introduction to explain the nature of the problems, previous works, purpose and contribution of the paper
    6. An appropriate conclusion section must be included
    7. Diagram and photograph must be of high quality. Diagram and lettering must be either computer designed or digital. Photograph for diagram is acceptable but photocopies are not.
    8. References should be quoted in text with a number in sequence bracket. For example [1] and should be numbered according to the order cited in the manuscript.


Author(s) are requested to prepare multimedia projection format in MS-PowerPoint for all accepted papers for 10 minutes duration Maximum. A soft copy should be sent through email attachment using MS word office 2007 while final presentation should be in PDF format (preferably).

For those who are attending and not delivering papers, below is the registration fee details:

Registration                       on or before 30/08/2012                                               after 30/08/2012

Fellows                                                                20, 000                                                                  25, 000

Members,                                           15, 000                                                                  20, 000

Associates                                          10, 000                                                                  15, 000

Graduates,                                         5, 000,                                                                   5, 000

Students,                                            2, 000,                                                                   2, 000

Spouses                                               5, 000                                                                    5, 000

Non-member                                    20, 000,                                                                 25, 000

The professionals have equal obligation to contribute to national development through their respective vocation as the government. Their technical expertise and vast experiences cannot be ignored by any serious policy makers. In your heads, lie the solutions to the varying problems ravaging the nation. Come, let us put head together and chart a way out of our energy crisis. To serious professionals in energy sector, investors, policy makers and general public:  between 17th and 19th of October 2012, Enugu is the place to be!

For further enquiry contact +2348037260134, +2348033291642, +2348022059818 ………….. Or email,

Looking forward to hosting you.


Isqil Najim

Mosquitoes Bred to Be Incapable of Transmitting Malaria

ScienceDaily (June 12, 2012) — Mosquitoes bred to be unable to infect people with the malaria parasite are an attractive approach to helping curb one of the world’s most pressing public health issues, according to UC Irvine scientists.

Anthony James and colleagues from UCI and the Pasteur Institute in Paris have produced a model of theAnopheles stephensi mosquito — a major source of malaria in India and the Middle East — that impairs the development of the malaria parasite. These mosquitoes, in turn, cannot transmit the disease through their bites.

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito is a major vector of malaria in India and the Middle East. (Credit: Jim Gathany / Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)

“Our group has made significant advances with the creation of transgenic mosquitoes,” said James, a UCI Distinguished Professor of microbiology & molecular genetics and molecular biology & biochemistry. “But this is the first model of a malaria vector with a genetic modification that can potentially exist in wild populations and be transferred through generations without affecting their fitness.”

More than 40 percent of the world’s population lives in areas where there is a risk of contracting malaria. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 300 million to 500 million cases of malaria occur each year, and nearly 1 million people die of the disease annually — largely infants, young children and pregnant women, most of them in Africa.

James said one advantage of his group’s method is that it can be applied to the dozens of different mosquito types that harbor and transmit the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, including those in Africa. Study results appear this week in the early online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers conceived their approach through mouse studies. Mice infected with the human form of malaria create antibodies that kill the parasite. James’ team exploited the molecular components of this mouse immune-system response and engineered genes that could produce the same response in mosquitoes. In their model, antibodies are released in genetically modified mosquitoes that render the parasite harmless to others.

“We see a complete deletion of the infectious version of the malaria parasite,” said James, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “This blocking process within the insect that carries malaria can help significantly reduce human sickness and death.”

He and his colleagues have pioneered the creation of genetically altered mosquitoes that limit the transmission of dengue fever, malaria and other vector-borne illnesses.

Alison Isaacs, Nijole Jasinskiene and Mikhail Tretiakov of UCI and Isabelle Thiery, Agnes Zettor and Catherine Bourgouin of the Pasteur Institute contributed to the study, which received support from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases — a National Institutes of Health entity — through grant number R37 AI029746.

Story Source:

The above story is reproduced by NDi based upon a reprint by Science Daily from materials provided byUniversity of California – Irvine.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. A. T. Isaacs, N. Jasinskiene, M. Tretiakov, I. Thiery, A. Zettor, C. Bourgouin, A. A. James. PNAS Plus: Transgenic Anopheles stephensi coexpressing single-chain antibodies resist Plasmodium falciparum developmentProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207738109
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA: University of California – Irvine (2012, June 12). Mosquitoes bred to be incapable of transmitting malaria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 14, 2012, from­/releases/2012/06/120612115949.htm  MLA: University of California – Irvine. “Mosquitoes bred to be incapable of transmitting malaria.”ScienceDaily, 12 Jun. 2012. Web. 14 Jun. 2012.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff

RESEARCH & DEVT: Nigeria makes electric car, power bike

By Ebele Orakpo

As the issue of environmental pollution rages and nations are seeking alternative energy sources devoid of carbon emission, Nigeria, as a major oil-exporter, will be hard hit if nothing is done. To this end, Professor James Omoleye of the Department of Chemical Engineering and former Director, Centre for Research, Covenant University, Ota Ogun State, began a series of researches with his team which culminated in the making of an electric automobile and a power bike. In this chat with Vanguard Learning, Omoleye says Nigeria is far ahead of some nations in this area. Excerpts:

Electric car made in Nigeria

For Professor James Omoleye: “Nigeria is an oil-exporting country and today, the green revolution which is trying to promote mobility without atmospheric pollution, is driving the whole world to look for alternative way of transportation and that has led to some research on electric automobile.

“Electric automobile is not a new thing. In fact, somebody said it was there before fuel combustion engine came but was not efficient at that time. The use of petrol engine took over because it was more efficient. Now, because of pollution and electronic advancement which has made electric automobiles very efficient, there is a kind of shift. People want to look into electric automobile as a means of mobility.”

Reducing pollution by 80 per cent:
If you can reduce the amount of pollution in the air coming through automobiles, then you would have reduced pollution by almost 80 per cent and life on earth will be safer. So there is now a tendency to move towards electric mobility, not only automobiles, even boats and trains. In advanced countries, the number of electric automobiles in use is on the increase.

Of course, many are now using what we call hybrid which is electric engine and fuel combustion engine together. This reduces the amount of fuel you burn. But the ultimate is electric automobile so that we can do away with pollution of the atmosphere. That is already gaining ground now in countries like the US and China. In China, electric bikes are common and a number of their taxis are electric. So very soon, electric mobility will take over from fuel combustion.

Electric car and power bike
“I started in 2005 to research into electric automobiles. Our electric automobile came on the road on July 1, 2010 and I have been using it but not continuously being the only one we have made, we don’t just use it any how. What we did was to buy a fuel combustion engine car, removed the engine and designed and assembled the electric engine inside it.

Electric Power bike made in Nigeria

We have also advanced in the sense that the first one we did, we brought in the parts but between then and now, we have worked on two of the three major components which are the speed regulator and the charging system because after running about 70km, you charge for six hours continuously.

Today, we have successcfully designed and assembled our own speed controller. We have tested it by mounting it on a four-wheel cycle and it is moving very well. We have almost perfected the charging system. Of course, since September 2007, we have been able to come up with a charging system but it was not as efficient as what we have now. We are replacing the one we did in 2010 with the one we have now which is a lot faster and more reliable.

The only component we have not started to do here is the electric motor itself. But that is not a big deal because there is no vehicle company that manufactures all the parts. You get some parts from one company and then you design some,” said the professor of chemical engineering.

Ahead of many nations
“We have gone very far and I think we are ahead of many other nations. We are ahead of Australia because they are not yet making those things and they are the ones in the forefront of electric automobile. An Indian man that came for business in Abuja saw my programme on television and came all the way to look for us here.

He said he came because they also have interest in electric automobile and that his company was given approval by the Indian Government to start introducing electric mobility into their taxi system. By the time we talked, I found out that we are ahead of them. They don’t make any parts and yet, they have got to the point of changing their taxi system to electric automobiles but we have gone to the point of producing the controller and the charger,” he said.

What Nigeria must do

Prof Omoleye - maker of electric car
Prof Omoleye - maker of electric car

“Even as an oil-exporting country, we cannot help encouraging something that will not consume fuel for two reasons: One, we are not making even the fuel combustion vehicles, we are importing them so if in the next five or six years the whole world is changing into electric automobile, you say ‘oh we are not going to go into that,’ you will be forced to import the electric automobiles they are making and good enough, petroleum is not only used for fuel combustion by automobiles, there are hundreds of products today that are made from petroleum just that Nigeria is only focusing on exporting crude.

Our clothes are from petroleum. When you talk of petrochemicals, the basic raw material is petroleum. So all we need to do is for us to try to focus on petrochemicals and start to divert the crude we cannot export to produce other things that can be exported.

Of course we will still be selling our crude but not as much as before. This is one reason why we should not say we are not going to encourage electric automobile production. Two, for now, we are only importing vehicles, when you join the race of electric automobiles manufacturing; you become one of the countries that will be earning revenue from exporting your own electric automobiles.

So while the fuel is not used for fuelling cars again, generators for the charging the automobiles will still be using fuel . You will now join them in also exporting vehicles and so you can increase your revenue base more than what it was before. We have gone very far and I think we are among the top five countries,” he noted.

First published in the Nigerian Vanguard May 10 2012.