By Ebele Orakpo

IN these days of insecurity and talks of energy efficiency, , a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, School of Engineering, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Dr. Adoghe Anthony, has come up with solutions. In this chat with Vanguard Learning in his office, Adoghe speaks on his current works and says they are poised to make life easier for people through research and innovation. Excerpts:

According to Adoghe; he is into so many research areas such as energy management, home automation and network operation optimisation.

GSM-based surveillance:
“We have the automated security operations. It is an already existing technology but we tried to modify it. There is the door access control system using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology so you can always access its usage via RFID card.

Any person that has access to that particular environment will have an RFID card. If you enter the wrong code three times, it will send off an alarm and also send text message to the owner of the house that there is an intruder in the environment,” he stated.

Speaking on the second surveillance machine, Adoghe said it is also GSM-based. “It surveys the environment so if peradventure you try to break through the security, it immediately sets off alarm and at the same time send a text message to the owner saying there is an intruder in that environment. It will also send an alert to any security post in that environment.”

Dr Adoghe and his team also worked on the control aspect of the generator, the operation, regulation etc just to make life easy for the user.

“You can start the generator manually if you are close to it but if not, you can start it remotely. If there is no power from the utility company, PHCN, the system can send text message to the owner and the generator that there is power failure, it is now left for you to either start the generator or leave it. But if you want to start the generator, you can send text message to the generator and once it receives the text message, it comes on. When power from PHCN is restored, it will automatically switch off the generator, a text message will be sent to you to alert you that PHCN is back, then the generator will go off. You can also send text messages to be able to monitor the parameters of the generator, whether there is oil, whether the battery is charged, etc.
We are now looking at coming up with fuel-less generator.”

Developing a smart grid:
“In Nigeria, so many people are using small generators like the 5KVA, 3KVA generators. In some buildings with so many flats, every flat has its own generator and those who live in single rooms, may be about 15 rooms in the building occupied by 15 different families, each has a generator so when there is power outage, you see everyone dragging out their generators. We try to look at that system and see how we can harness those generators that are already in people’s homes. We are trying to connect the generators together and monitor them in a particular location so that all those homes will now be connected. So instead of connecting about five generators to serve five different flats, we can connect about two or three of these generators to serve those flats. We have come up with a proposal to be able to develop a smart grid to connect all these small generators so that from one particular control box (which we call magic box), each of the flats can just connect to the box and that will determine how many generators we can switch on to be able to serve all the homes.”

He noted that research is always costly, and one can do nothing without money “so that is why we are always looking for grants to be able to perfect some of our ideas and make a prototype before we can turn them into products. We are looking for grant to be able to build a prototype of the magic box. It will have so many power electronic configurations to be able to power these dissimilar generators together and power our small homes. It will be independent of PHCN. We call it autonomous grid operation.”

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