Rural communities which produce most of the agricultural needs of Nigeria seldom have electricity supply. Lack of access to the meager national electricity supply and other infrastructures limit the socio-economic development of most communities in Nigeria. More important, the full potential contributions especially of the rural communities to national economic development are rarely achieved. The chances of extending the national electric grid to all the diverse terrains in Nigeria are also dim. Alternative clean and portable energy sources could be valuable substitute useful to meet the needs of these communities and to improve their contributions to national economic development.
There are tremendous global efforts to develop alternative energy sources to fossil fuels which are exhaustible. The excessive production of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, thought to be principally responsible for the global climate change also underscores a need for alternative sources of energy. Research in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan with funding support from the MacArthur Foundation successfully developed a hybrid solar/mini-hydro power sources combination. The research team using locally fabricated devices generated 15 kW power at the University of Ibadan Awba dam using this alternative sources.
A larger collaborating research team including the Faculties of Technology, Science and Agriculture at the University of Ibadan plans to build upon earlier success and develop a Multi-Source Renewable Energy Mix (MRM) power platform. The research team aim to widen the research scope to include wind, tidal waves and biogas/biomass using locally fabricated devices to generate and transmit electricity. The MRM will produce energy from renewable and bio-degradable materials: Solar, Micro/Mini Hydro, Biogas/Biomass and Wind/Tidal waves. The project will create a platform that is cost-effective and can be operated by with minimal training. The multi-source renewable energy mix power platform will harness energy from sun, run-off-water from dams, gas from bio-degradable and pyrolysis materials, and wind/tidal waves. The project will also establish a Green Belt Research Institute at Ajibode in the University of Ibadan.
The success (spin off) of the research would provide appropriate renewable energy sources mix to meet the energy demand of each of the diverse ecological terrain and rural communities in Nigeria. These clusters of renewable energy sources mixed should minimize excessive dependent on the national grid. Excess power generated over and above the local demand can also be deposited to the national grid. The provision of power to all ecological terrain and rural communities should encourage local economic development; improve the performance of social amenities (Hospitals, Schools and food production).
Commercialization of the MRM platform could support uninterrupted water and energy supply for irrigation, storage and processing of agricultural products and farmers’ domestic lives.
Professor Adeboye Olatunbosun
Department of Elecrical and Electronics Engineering
Collaborating Research Leaders
Professor Gideon O. Adeoye
Department of Agronomy
University of Ibadan,
Professor Moshood N. Tijani
Department of Geology
University of Ibadan