Self-Taught Mechanic Wants To Build Fuel-Free Trucks

Julius Mugabi used pieces of plastic from old water cans to build a wheel loader at his home in Mukono, Uganda.

He says he wants to develop a truck that runs on batteries and not fuel that can make it cheaper and more accessible.

The 21-year-old dropped out of primary school due to lack of school fees and has no formal training in engineering.

Mugabi says he used to fix radios and other broken electrical equipment at home when he was growing up. Then he taught himself the basics of mechanics while working at a garage, from studying how cars operate.

“I want to change a few systems, for example, the first man to build an airplane made air transport possible. As for me, I was born in the era where cars are driven using fuel but I also want to build something unique that will benefit the ordinary person. I want to create a vehicle that doesn’t consume fuel in that when someone buys it, he doesn’t have to keep recharging it because it will charge itself during the drive or operation. This is intended to help people in far rural areas where there are no fuel stations or even electricity,” said Mugabi.

It took him two years to complete his latest assembly, which he says is powered by rechargeable batteries.

Mugabi has also built an imitation of a helicopter and trailer. He hopes to come up with more practical inventions.

“There was a time I really sat down and thought about not wasting time building this tractor only for it to fail in the future. I thought I should first replace all pressure systems with electronic systems, but when these electronic pumps worked I knew I was done with the first step. I then had to work out the number of joints I needed. Building the body was the easy part but I knew it would be a challenge adding the forks and even end up abandoning the project for a while. I then started by building the differential and ensured it is strong enough. I calculated and found that the forks would be able to lift 10 kilogrammes,” he said.

Mugabi works as a casual labourer at a construction site to make ends meet and to support his hobby of mechanics which he hopes can turn into a career with the proper training.

He has a keen interest in farming machinery, especially making it more accessible to poor rural communities.

“I want to provide a solution that will help farmers not rely on seasons. This technology can make tractors for different purposes. Some of my next innovations will be water sprinkler tractors so that farmers won’t have to wait for the rainy seasons, they can start cultivating anytime they feel like,” he said.

Mugabi has displayed his work at some local exhibitions but says he is yet to find developers who are willing to invest in his work.

He will be travelling around Rwanda for three months sharing his ideas with students about making alternative moving parts for vehicles.


Renewable Energy Can Spur Economic Growth In Nigeria – Osinbajo

Renewable Energy Can Spur Growth In Nigerian Economy - OsinbajoThe Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has urged the private sector to invest in ‘on grid and off grid’ renewable energy solutions.

Professor Osinbajo made the call even as he said government was concluding plans to expand the solar home system programme to one million households.

Speaking at roundtable on renewable energy at the Presidential Villa, he noted that partnering with the private sector would help provide solar energy to 20,000 additional households for the first phase of the programme.

“We’ll also continue to implement critical elements of our policy that will promote private sector investment in renewable energy such as one; Power Production Tax credits (PTCs) to electricity generation companies which is aimed at incentivising the adoption of renewable energy. Then we have the Feed In Tariffs (FIT) which typically incentivizes the electricity producers by offering more favourable pricing for electricity produced through renewables,” he said.

The Acting President also stressed the need to explore the options to transform the competition for markets approach in order to address the challenges in the power sector.

“It’s also important for us as we go forward that we break the deadlock of the electricity market structures by exploring the options to transform ‘the competition for markets approach’. We need a framework that brings together all stakeholders towards ensuring that renewable energy becomes a real engine of growth for the Nigerian economy,” he added.

Professor Osinbajo further announced that the government has concluded the first tranche of the N701bn Payment Assurance System approved by the Federal Executive Council in March to break the gridlock in the electricity value chain.

Renewable Energy: Experts Identify Inadequate Man Power As Challenge

climate_changeWhile experts have identified great potentials for renewable energy, there are several issues that still need to be addressed.

Among the challenges identified were inadequate man power to deploy renewable energy as well as the finances to sustain such plan.

More Nigerians and energy experts have been pushing for a mix of power generation with more introduction of solar energy.

Some communities in Nigeria are however already benefiting from solar energy which has been installed for them by the government and experts say the solar system is indeed the way to go.

While all energy sources have some impact on the environment, Fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas, do substantially more harm than renewable energy sources; subsequently resulting in climate change effects such as weather changes and ozone layer depletion to mention a few.

The Federal Government has now targeted at least 30% power from solar by 2030 as the need for implementation of policies that would address climate change, has become imperative.

The Practice Manager for Environmental and Natural Resources at the World Bank, Mr Benoit Bonquet, stated in a conference that “about 100 million poor persons would be added to the world’s poor people’s index by the year 2030 unless, world leaders take urgent steps to implement policies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change”.

Nigerian Govt. To Support Investment In Renewable Energy

Amina Mohammed, Renewable Energy, JatrophaAs part of plans to diversify the nation’s economy, the federal government is developing a Jatropha value chain for renewable energy.

Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, believes that the Jatropha plant would serve as a viable green alternative to fossil fuels and provide an additional means of livelihood for local communities.

She said that Jatropha, as a renewable energy resource, would reduce desertification, alleviate poverty and fast-track sustainable development.

She urged the private sector to get involved in government’s effort to diversify the nation’s economy

The Nigerian bio-fuel policy and incentives identified Jatropha in 2007 as the most preferred non-food plant for bio-fuel in the country.

Northern Governors Seek America’s Support In Region’s Development

John Kerry and northern Nigeria governors meetingGovernors of Nigeria’s northern states on Tuesday sought the support of the United States of America in areas of education, job creation and rehabilitation of the devastated northeast region.

The request was made at a meeting between the governors and the United States Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

After the meeting, Mr Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno State, one of the states hugely devastated by over six years Boko Haram insurgency, expressed appreciation to the United States for their concern about issues of insurgency and other security challenges in northern Nigeria

At the meeting held at the Presidential Villa were governors of Borno, Adamawa, Kwara, Bauchi, Sokoto and Zamfara States.

John Kerry at a meeting with Northern Nigeria governors
John Kerry assured governors of Nigeria’s northern states that the U.S. will support in addressing humanitarian crisis in the northeast

Governor Shettima told reporters that the governors also requested for support in the area of girl-child education, gender empowerment, strengthening of the healthcare sector and renewable energy for industrial take-off.

He said: “Power is the sine qua non for growth in any society”.

The visiting Secretary of State was also asked to support them in the fight against extreme poverty and the development of the agriculture and mining sectors.

The governors said that they were happy that America had shown deep commitment to the development of Nigeria.

Japan Advises Nigeria To Adopt Renewable Energy For Electricity

Electricity, renewable energyThe Japanese government has advised Nigeria to adopt renewable energy for the provision of electricity in the country.

The leader of a Japanese delegation to Nigeria, Mr Shinichi Kitaoka, gave the advice in relation to the continuous militant activities which is disrupting gas supply for the generation of electricity.

He addressed the issue during his visit to a solar power plant built by the Japanese government to ease water supply in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Mr Kitaoka, after a tour of the facility with his team, explained that investing in renewable energy to provide stable electricity supply will help encourage industrialisation in the country.

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, immediately took up the challenge and promised to embark on similar projects to ensure increase in electricity supply across the country.

The Director of Renewable and Rural Power Access at the Ministry of Power, Mr Abayomi Adebisi, assured the Japanese delegation that the Nigerian government would explore the idea.

The solar power project, when completed, would provide electricity for the lower Usman dam which supplies water around the Federal Capital Territory.

The Executive Director of the FCT Water Board, Mr Hudu Bello expressed happiness that the project would help save cost and eliminate challenges of poor power supply which the agency has grappled with over the years.

Prioritize Development Above Climate Change, Osinbajo Tasks African Leaders

Osinbajo, climate changeThe Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says Africa must prioritize development of its natural resources, including fossil fuels, ahead of concerns for climate change or risk losing millions of African lives to poverty and hunger in a much faster rate than climate change.

Professor Osinbajo is attending the African Development annual meeting focused on energy and climate change in Zambia.

He said that it was impossible for Africa to de-emphasize its natural resources which must first be exploited before economic development can spread across the continent.

He said that while climate change concerns were important, Africans cannot be compelled to take the greater burden of resolving the problem at the risk of its development which is still at a nascent stage and despite being the least contributor to the devastation of the environment.

Nigerian Senate Considers Climate Change Bill

climate changeThe bill for an act to provide for measures to address climate change has passed the essential second reading in the Senate.

The bill, which was sponsored by a federal lawmaker Senator Isah Misau, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to promote the use of renewable sources of energy.

Leading the debate, Senator Misau, said that in spite of Nigeria’s participation in conferences and seminars on global warming, not much had been done to tackle the problem of greenhouse emissions, gas flaring and other harmful environmental practices.

He said that if nothing was done to stop gas flaring and other harmful environmental practices that deplete the ozone layer, the effect on Nigerians would be enormous.

EEI Forum: Experts Discuss Maritime Security Threats, Youth Engagement

MaritimeThe Port Harcourt Energy, Environment and Investment Forum (EEIF) 2014 ended on its third day with issues on renewable energies, energy efficiency, clean technologies and investment opportunities in Rivers State and Nigeria remaining on the front burner.

At the International Conference Center, delegates, experts and other guests came together for the final day of sessions at the Energy Environment and Investment Forum on Sustainable Energy: The Key to Africa’s World Integration.

Various speakers were on same page on the issue of energy as the bond that connects economic, social and environmental development.

The first session focused on ‘Security Threats on Maritime Industry and Piracy Impact on Oil and Gas Industries Energy Supply Routes: Geo-strategy and International Policy.

Social Scientist from Switzerland, Jennifer Giroux, identified black market illegal dealings, product theft, corruption and regional security loop holes as breaches to the nation’s maritime security.

At the session on ‘Securing Africa’s Future through Strong Public Private Partnerships: A Conversation with the Youth, young people were inspired to be focused and engage the opportunities of education and investment.


EEI Forum: Consultant Harps On State’s Economy Restructuring Through Renewable Energy

Chris RobertOne of the consultants at the Energy, Environment and Investment Forum holding in Port Harcourt, Chris Robert, has stressed the need for the Nigerian Economy to be shifted from oil and gas to energy in order to attract more investments and create more jobs.

On the side-line of the ongoing forum on Wednesday, Mr Robert, a business development consultant, said that the forum would be focusing on how to restructure the economy of the state, exploring all renewable energy sources.

He emphasised that there was the need to focus more on the infrastructure, which is electricity that is reliable and relatively cost effective and how that would empower the economy to produce jobs and not looking at the oil and gas sector as a job producer.

“The oil and gas is not a large producer of jobs, either the mining sector,” he said.

Mr Robert also said that “while the energy sector is considered, there is also the need for some form of sustainability that does not destroy the environment at the same time”.

Comparing Port Harcourt to Alberta in Canada, where he is from, which has a population less than five million and produces 10,000 megawatts of electricity, a number higher than what Nigeria with a population of over 150 million has, Mr Roberts insisted that more renewable energy sources should be explored in Nigeria to increase the megawatts currently below 8,000 megawatts.

“We will be focusing on How Rivers State can begin to use solar energy and how we can intensify the transition over time because we cannot do clean energy overnight. We cannot shift to renewable energy overnight. We have to take our time because it is capital intensive.

“As the electricity sector changes it becomes more capital intensive.

“If you have more electricity in Nigeria and it was cheaper and reliable, you will have more manufacturing and more service based industries,” he explained.

On the issue of control of natural resources, he said that putting the control of the resources in the care of the state and province would go a long way in ensuring that they were properly utilised.

Analyst Asks FG To Develop Renewable Energy Masterplan

Mr Ebube EbisikeThe Federal Government has been asked to look in wards and come up with a master plan to develop renewable energy in Nigeria.

The Creative Director, Team Nigeria at the World Solar Challenge taking place in Australia next year, Mr Ebube Ebisike who was our guest on Business Morning, said Nigeria had got great potentials when it comes to renewable energy but that what needed to be done was to harness them.

According to him, as the Federal Government plans to develop a policy on renewable energy, such policy should be driven by the fact that it empowers the local work force and there has to be enough funding for the industry.

He said part of the benefits of renewable energy was that it does not produce greenhouse gases and its ability to reduce health related issues.

He said a solar car was being developed in Nigeria and are billed to represent Nigeria at the World Solar Challenge in Australia in  October 2015.

World solar challenge is a biennial solar-powered car race which covers 3,021 KM.

The race attracts teams from around the world. It has a 20-year history spanning nine races, with the inaugural event taking place in 1987. Nigeria is expected to be be part of this event next year.

Watch Over Power Infrastructure, Jonathan Tells Nigerians

Nigerians have been asked to watch over power infrastructure scattered across the country to avoid the incessant acts of sabotage aimed at disrupting the government’s efforts in the power sector.

Flagging off the operation Light Up Nigeria in Durumi, a rural community in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the project was designed to provide electricity to Nigerians living in areas where grid power supply may not be feasible at the moment.

He said that Nigeria would overcome the challenges of power outages across the country if power infrastructure was well taken care of.

The rural electricity project, which is using solar panels, is aimed at exploring renewable energy possibilities. It is designed to electrify over one thousand households in the Federal Capital Territory as a take-off point.

Utilising Abundant Solar Energy

Durumi is a suburb of Mpape in Bwari area council in the Federal Capital Territory.

The residents of the area rolled out the drums to celebrate the flag off of Light Up Nigeria from their community.

A resident of the area, Abdulsalami  Idris, said he had lived in darkness in Durumi for years.

“Since December 2013 I have had constant light in my apartment,” he said.

He took journalists round his apartment with a solar panel placed on the roof.

In excitement, he switched on the battery, courtesy of the Light Up Nigeria project handled by Schneider Electric.

Mr Idris is among the over 1,050 residents of the Durumi community who thronged the community square to welcome the president on arrival for the commissioning of the electricity project.

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, said that the Federal Government instituted the Light Up Nigeria to utilise the abundant solar energy to power communities across Nigeria.

“What you have seen is just a pilot, of renewable energy, the idea is to show that a whole community can be lit using the solar energy and this administration wants to replicate this in as many remote communities as possible,” Professor Nebo said.

The country President of Schneider, Mercel Hochet, promised Nigerians improved living condition for rural dwellers.