By Ebele Orakpo
As the price of crude oil continues to drop in the international market and nations seek alternative, cleaner, greener, more environment-friendly and sustainable energy sources to replace fossil fuel, a Nigerian company, Arthur Energy Technology Limited, has launched the first ever solar-powered tricycle, popularly called Keke Marwa. In this chat with Vanguard, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Engr. Arthur Okeyika speaks on the objectives and benefits of the product.
According to Okeyika, having observed the deplorable state of Nigeria’s economy and the high cost of living, “fossil fuel as sole energy source for Nigerian cars, homes and industries is not a sustainable option. We had to go into alternative energy sources to help Nigerians cut down on energy costs and at the same time, improve on the environment, health and earn foreign exchange.
“As a continent, Africa enjoys only 1.4% of the 3,700 Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects worldwide and we intend to increase this and attract foreign direct investment in renewable energy. If Nigeria wants to grow, she cannot ignore her green market potential,” he said.
“Think of how wonderful it would be if your vehicle could continue running without you spending a dime on fuel!”
Okeyika believes that solar- powered vehicles are vehicles of the future as people become more and more aware of the negative impacts of fossil fuels on the environment, health and pockets.
Okeyika said a solar- powered vehicle is gasoline-independent. This means it does not require gasoline or oil to run and so no air pollution via harmful emissions and it is easy on your pocket.
“It is noiseless. It runs noiselessly thereby cutting the noise pollution that comes with fossil fuel-driven vehicles. It has a longer lifespan. A solar-powered vehicle can easily last decades without any expensive regular maintenance. Moreover, it can be easily maintened at a low cost. It is environment-friendly. Solar powered- automobiles produce a negligible amount of greenhouse gasses that are responsible for the depletion of the protective ozone layer. It is sustainable because the energy source is the sun.
“The top of the vehicle is covered with solar panels that attract the solar rays to power the vehicle.
Speaking on what the company hopes to achieve through the sola-powered vehicles project, Okeyika who has won several awards both locally and internationally, including The Arch of Europe 2014 International Quality Award in Germany by Business Initiative Directions, ESQR Quality Achievements Award 2015 in London by European Society for Quality Research and Best Renewable Energy Provider, Nigeria 2016, by International Finance Magazine London, said the company aims to provide affordable, cost- efficient means of road transportation for low and middle income Nigerians for inter and intra-city movements. “We also aim to reduce the high demand and consumption of fossil fuel and oil by commercial road transport operators, create opportunity for local investors to explore existing investment opportunities in solar vehicle manufacturing industry, reduce high cost of maintenance of commercial vehicles, boost income generation and employment in the transport sector and create opportunity for youths to acquire skills in solar vehicle industry.”
“We have been in the forefront of renewable energy projects in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. We help individuals, companies, governments etc., address their greatest challenges when it comes to power generation. Apart from the solar-powered tricycles, the company also has portable solar generator, solar street/security lights, solar bill board, sign board lights, solar-powered CCTV/fire alarm systems, solar home power system/inverter backups, solar-powered boreholes/water heater, solar fridge/air-conditioner, solar- powered telecom/security system, solar-powered ATM machine, wind-powered generator, amongst others,” he said.