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By Dennis Agbo

It was a magnetic and captivating award ceremony, last Thursday, when the Innovation and Sustainable Development Center for Rural Sustainable Development in Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, exhibited and presented cash awards for young scientists and engineers who emerged winners in different categories of science inventions.

The categories of inventions applied for by the geniuses included: Waste to Energy Application; Sustainable Agriculture Application; Green Material Application and Renewable Energy Application. All the entries were screened and marked locally and internationally by the Royal Academy of Engineering which is a partner and sponsor of the competition, through the Northumbria University in United Kingdom.

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The ESUT centre has trained local entrepreneurs and students to help them develop from theory to practice, mind set to utilize local resources and generate new solutions in renewable energy applications, conversion of local waste, and utilization of locally available green materials for construction and exercising sustainable agriculture.

Twelve winners emerged in the four categories, coming first, second and third positions, respectively. Most were students from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Federal University of Technology Mina, Obafemi Awolowo University, Federal University of Technology Owerri and above all a 20 years old graduate of Government Technical College, GTC Enugu, who recently gained admission to study Engineering in ESUT.

Their inventions ranged from local fabrication of roofing and ceiling sheets from Bamboo fronts, artificial intelligence machine for monitoring of an aquaculture, to invention of sustainable power inverters capable of long lasting energy supplies.

The 20 years old ex-student of GTC Enugu, Chiagoziem Ugwu narrated that his invention of local inverters and solar panel was as a result of practice more than the theories he learnt from the Technical College. He stated that his inverter was made from a stronger wavelength, thereby making it better than the imported inverters. Ugwu lamented that Nigerians refuse to patronize the local invention even when it’s better and cheaper than the imported ones.

Victor Orjiugo of UNN said he used the bamboo sticks to form roofing and ceiling sheets after using resins on them. “Bamboo removes carbon dioxide and brings fresh oxygen; it’s truly a renewable material and we should use the material to better our structures. It grows in our environment and cost of its production is less,” Orjiugo said.

Ifeanyi Awunor dealt with waste to wealth conversion of organic wastes to useful energy as supplements to firewood or cooking gas.

Vice Chancellor of ESUT, Prof. Charles Eze extolled the initiative of the Director of the Center, Prof. Paul Nnamchi, whom he described his contributions as enormous to the pioneering of innovations and technology. The Vice Chancellor stated that the competition was carried out in such a manner that no one can fault the selection process.

“I commend the participants in the competition both the winners and others. In a competition like this, nobody is actually a loser because no knowledge is a waste. Those who excelled should do more because to whom much is given, more is expected,” Eze counseled.

Director of the Center, Prof Paul Nnamchi said that the centre

 facilitates local collaborations between different disciplines and businesses such as sustainable agriculture that requires energy. He noted that entrepreneurs in agriculture collaborate with engineers who develop renewable energy solutions to implement green technologies and minimize the food production cost while local universities develop project-based teaching and learning curricula with the focus on implementation of results in rural development.

He disclosed that the centre has attracted a new LEAPRE EU-African grant with a consortium for a Solar-induced project worth €750,000 and which consists of realizing an induction cooking device using solar panels for power supply and also making a passive refrigeration system from local natural products.

“The centre has been awarded a pre-feasibility/feasibility study contract to develop hydropower capabilities in the vicinity of the confluence of the Ekulu-Inyaba Rivers by Geometric power, one of the Gencos and Discos,” Nnamchi further disclosed.

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