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Innovation As Panacea To Nigeria’s Electricity Challenges

That Nigeria, which prides itself as the giant of Africa is still struggling with less than 5,000MW of electricity is not only a national embarrassment but a  huge set back to its target of becoming an industralised nation.

The result of its comatose state of the power sector is evident in the country’s low per capital income, high unemployment rate which jumped by 30 per cent this year to 16 million with another two million expected by the end of the year.

The business environment could said to be worst hit as many companies have had to close shop, citing unstable electricity as a major reason thus throwing many more hands into the labour market.

Many companies have closed down in Nigeria and relocated to border towns from where their products are then freighted into the country. In the last few years, an estimated 19 enamelware firms wound up their operations just as 250,000 workers in the steel and enamelware value chain were on the verge of losing their jobs.

More worrisome is the fact that Nigeria has failed to explore solutions in other avenues to generate additional electricity, especially in solar and wind turbine technologies as against the concentration on grid solution. It was for this reason and many more that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI) recently held an interactive session on ‘‘Innovation in Electric Power Solution’’ featuring the 2018 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Science winner, Dr.Peter Ngene.

Ngene clinched the prize based on his work, ‘‘Nanostructured metal hydrides for the storage of electric power from renewable energy sources and for explosion prevention in high voltage power transformers”.

The NLNG intervention

The Nigeria Prize for Science is a Nigerian science award given annually since 2004, aimed at bringing Nigerian scientists to public attention and celebrating excellence in scientific breakthroughs and accomplishments in the nation.

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The Nigeria Prize for Science is a $100,000 award sponsored by NLNG to promote innovations in science and technology that will solve age-long problems and drive development in Nigeria.

The General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, NLNG, Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, said the interaction session was as a result of The Nigeria Prize for Science which is increasingly shedding light on solutions to some of the nation’s problems which include electricity shortage. She stated that in recognition of the need to encourage more work in finding solutions to electric power generation in the country, NLNG used the science prize competition in 2018 to encourage research works on the theme of that year’s competition – Innovations in Electric Power Solutions.

She remarked further that a renewed focus on electric power generation and conservation is definitely one area which can offer huge business opportunities in the country, calling on the industry to focus on renewable sources of energy to improve the Nigerian situation, promote better energy output as well as align the country with the global clamour for cleaner energy sources, as the world fights global warming.

“NLNG has the vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria. We have been driving that vision through our numerous CSR initiatives across the country and especially in our host community, Bonny Island, where we provide over 95 percent stable electric power supply for over a decade now. It will be a great achievement if this be can replicated. We believe the country has the resources but we need the industrial will-power by the private sector to make it happen, even if it happens gradually,” she added.

LCCI lends voice

LCCI, the oldest chamber of commerce in Nigeria has being at the forefront of canvassing cheap energy solutions as most of its members spend fortune on generating alternative energy supply. The chamber had in the past made presentations and offered solutions to Governments at all levels on how the power sector challenges could be addressed.

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It is, however, not surprising that the chamber in its bid to bring an end to conundrum sought a partner in NLNG towards a speedy resolution of shortcoming in the country’s power sector.

NLNG and LCCI equally called for more efforts in finding solutions to the crippling power challenges in the country as well as exploring other energy sources and cashing in on new ideas that will help Nigeria become energy efficient.

President of Lagos LCCI),Paul Ruwase, said there was an urgent need to change the narrative and focus on innovative ideas that can enable practical solutions. He added that the theme of the interactive session provided a platform for reshaping the mind-set of Nigerians, helping to champion the birth of new ideas and practical ways to make the power sector work as it should in order to promote the country’s economic development.

“Reforming the power sector in Nigeria must align with the global energy direction of increasing renewables in the energy mix.  Ngene’s award-winning work further presents an opportunity for Nigeria to harness new discoveries in solving her power supply challenges. His invention has positive implications on renewable energy development that the country can benefit from. It is believed that  Ngene’s work will expand the energy market in Nigeria with efficient energy storage.”

Ngene, in his presentation, titled “Nanomaterials for Energy and Power Application”, highlighted thepotential of his work in the area of storing hydrogen, storage battery for renewable energy and detection of hydrogen leaks in transformers to prevent explosion. He said explosion in transformers was one of the major causes of power outages in Nigeria, adding that through Nanotechnology, a cheap way of detecting hydrogen to eliminate such explosions is possible.

Source: The Sun

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