By Udeme Akpan
Nigeria LNG Limited and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have 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.
The call was made at the Business Interactive Session on Innovation in Electric Power Solutions at the LCCI head office in Lagos.
The business session featured the 2018 winner of The Nigeria Prize for Science, Dr. Peter Ngene.
The 2018 winner of the Nigeria Prize for Science 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 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 prize is awarded annually.
In her remarks, the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, 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 the host community, Bonny Island, where we provide over 95 per cent stable electric power supply for over a decade now. It will be a great achievement if this be can replicate. 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.”
In his speech, the President of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (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 mindset 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.
According to Ruwase, “Reforming the power sector in Nigeria must align with the global energy direction of increasing renewables in the energy mix. Dr. 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 Dr. Ngene’s work will expand the energy market in Nigeria with efficient energy storage.”
Dr. Ngene, in his presentation, titled “Nanomaterials for Energy and Power Application”, highlighted the potential of his work in the area of storing hydrogen, storage battery for renewable energy and detection of hydrogen leaks in transformers to prevent an 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.
He remarked that energy storage was the main challenge in the use of renewable energy sources. He added that his work provides opportunities for efficient energy storage, making cheap and affordable rechargeable batteries for rural areas, for novel sensors for diabetes, for the conversion of carbon into useful fuels and for use in cooling homes with less energy consumption.
Professor Barth Nnaji, a member of the Nigeria Prize of Science Advisory Board, in a brief remark, said that Nigerians need to think about the profoundness of the breakthrough by Dr. Ngene.
He stated that the private sector was where the country can get mileage in transforming ideas and innovation into reality.
He enjoined the private sector to follow the footsteps of NLNG as it is very critical in the support of Research and Development in the country.
Ngene is an assistant professor in the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group of the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University in The Netherlands.
He is the recipient of the prestigious KNCV (The Royal Dutch Chemical Association) Van Arkel best PhD thesis (2012/2013) award and the chair of the 2013 Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Metal-Hydrogen system in Italy.
He was also recently recognised as one of African leading young scientists by the award of the prestigious NEF (Next Einstein Forum) fellowship by the Chairman of the African Union (President Paul Kagame).