Posted by Newsexpress | 21 December 2016 | 3,958 times
Chinedu Nebo, a Professor of Metallurgical Engineering, says he has called it quits with public service. Twice Vice Chancellor of two Federal Universities, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and Federal University, Oye Ekiti, he is the immediate past Minister of Power. That, he says, is enough.
Incidentally whilst still a Minister, Nebo had advocated the solution to the power situation in the country does not lie in big turbines that would take several years to build and power therefrom, distributed via the national grid, but in very small operations that could supply power to various residential, industrial, business and other clusters. Not only would this be easier to monitor and operate, the cost of operation and delivery would be cheaper. At the end of his tenure, last year, he retired to Enugu to continue research on this perspective.
The result is that Nigerians may soon begin to enjoy uninterrupted power supply, a phenomenon that has remained, at best, a pipe-dream in the country for several decades, thanks to the Power Seed Web machine, an invention by a team of engineers Nebo leads.
A fortnight ago, the former Minister, was at the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja, to give the cheery news to the Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
At the end of enthusiastic, robust and engaging interaction, Nebo was accosted by reporters, where he talked about the invention. Excerpts:
Sir, with what you told the Minister today, it seems that a lot of people will be thrown out of business by the time this invention is put to use. Is that so?
What we’re doing and what we’ve done, the glory of it all goes to God, is that this design, this fabrication, this production and testing were done by 100 per cent Nigerian engineers. Although some of us were trained abroad, but the most important thing is that we are bonafide Nigerians. With what we have, you are guaranteed 24 hours’ power supply at far less than the cost you are getting power now. To break it down, it means if you are spending about N2 million, depending on the type of operation you are running you spend 20 per cent of that and still get the same value. I know of a small operation that is spending N36,000 for diesel every day. We can reduce that to N8,000 in a day, saving that person so much money. For instance, if you are spending N10 million on diesel, we can cut it down to N2 million and you save N8 million. Why would you want to buy a generator that you’re paying so much money to run? So, it’s sheer competitiveness. So, it will not drive our youths out of jobs. Rather, it will create so many more jobs. Initially, we’re going to get people to man these machines. Until we have recovered a lot of our investments, we’re going to be leasing the machines and they will be run and maintained by Nigerians. So, job creation is all over the place. Next, industries will be revived everywhere you go. We can take these machines, truck-mounted, trailer-mounted, where somebody wants to build an industry and you don’t have to worry about the cost of diesel, the cost of petrol, the cost of gas or anything, because already, you’re saving about 70-80 per cent of what that would have cost you. In fact, we will be delivering electricity cheaper than 'what NEPA is asking people to pay today.'
Apart from the cost effectiveness, can you tell us more about the cost-efficiency?
Well, efficiency is very key. That’s why we train our own maintenance crew. So far, we’ve tested what they have designed, it is fantastic. It can stand as a generator anywhere, any day, without the pains, without the tears, without running broke or declaring bankruptcy on account of fuel. We have attained that. So, efficiency is one of our keys. We have very good quality control people to make sure that what we send out there, will meet international standards anywhere.
What is the cost, for instance, for a fashion designer?
For now, we are not designing for very small operations. I think for efficiency our minimum design will be 250 kilowatts. But we can also design one megawatt, which is 1,000 kilowatts. And it is the higher you go, the better the efficiency. The system is incredible, because the same amount of fuel you use to run a 25kva generator, you use it to run a 250kva, use it to run a 500kva. You cannot beat this. This has not been done anywhere in the world. This is the first time. And those who say that Nigerians are fantastically corrupt like in Britain, should know that Nigerians are equally fantastically ingenious. And this is one of the things we can offer to the world.
When do we expect this in the market?
In the market, it will take a year. But for trial purposes, in a few months, you will see it in one or two campuses of Universities and some industries. But to really get to the market, it will take a year, because it needs a lot of financing.
•Professor Chinedu Nebo.
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