Can anything good really come out of Nazareth, so goes a popular Biblical question. The same question can be asked of Imilike-Agu, a remote community in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, hometown of Nelson Emeka Ugwueze.
Ugwueze, with virtually no electrical engineering experience, singlehandedly invented and produced a hydroelectric generator. Abeyanews Enugu State Correspondent PAT NNADI caught up with him at Nsukka where the young inventor had gone on ‘a technology tour’ and had a chat with him.
In the hearty chat with our reporter, Engr. Nelson Ugwueze, as he is now called, told Abeyanews that he was moved to go into invention when he visited his village and saw how big a problem electric power supply was in and for his village.
How it all started
I was born in Imilike-Agu Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State. Though I had my primary and secondary education at Awka, Anambra State, I never forgot my community.
However, I was, sort of, motivated to go into invention of hydroelectric generator when I visited my community after my senior school certificate. I came home and saw that there was no electricity supply in my village and I had to start thinking and here we are. I couldn’t continue to fold my arms to watch as my village continued to wallow in perpetual darkness, hence, the beginning of the journey that recently birthed the 610watts generator.
How it works
The portable hydroelectric generator is called The Akpaike (power box). It is a device that utilizes controlled hydrodynamic force energy to produce mechanical energy which is then converted to electrical energy.
A specially designed miniaturized turbine in conjunction with other devices amplifies and pressurizes the rate of flow or velocity of water supplied to it to a high velocity which it takes advantage of to generate mechanical energy and sustain itself.
Brief principle of operation shows that water from the storage vessel through an electric pump and pressurizer system (powered by an external power source called battery) passes through a set of control valves into the turbine.
As the already pressurized water moves from first stage of the turbine to the last, its pressure is amplified and as it is an inlet, mechanical advantage is created even more and this helps to sustain the rotation of the shaft.
Set of gear boxes connected to the shaft transmits the mechanical energy from the turbine to the two alternators (primary and secondary), which convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy and electromagnetic induction takes place in them.
The electric power generated from the primary alternator goes through filtration and amplification before coming out as output for use.
The secondary alternator goes through filtration and other forms of control and is used for internal working of the machine and recharging of starting battery.
The technology has gone through a series of developments and models with the most recent model as the A series model that took up the shape of a horizontal cylinder.
It has a power output of 1kva while the voltage rating is 220 to 240vac and 50 to 60hz.
Other inventions by Engr. Ugwueze
After the invention of Akpaike, I entered into a polytechnic where I obtained a National Diploma in Instrumentation and Control. I also invented Mgbanwe. The Mgbanwe C12 and Mgbanwe C13 are waste-to-wealth machines. They are two versions of a new innovation that turns non-biodegradable wastes or solid hydrocarbon-related material wastes like plastic, nylon, waterproof, etc into oil (gasoline) and paraffin which when further processed, yields petrol, kerosene, diesel and some other heavy oils.
Each machine does all these without any form of chemical additives. The residual slugs or liquid waste generated after the whole process is converted into good quality interlocking stones, pavement blocks, roofing sheets and other construction materials.
Mgbanwe C12 is the first ever prototype design and it has the capacity of producing one to three litres of gasoline from about one kilogramme of waste at a go and can produce more with continuous feeds. The C13 is a larger, more improved design of the C12 and has the capacity of producing at least 400 litres of gasoline at a single feed.
My Education pursuit and awards
For now, I have a National Diploma, ND from Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha where I studied Instrumentation and Control. I have been planning to further my studies. I am also the co-founder and Chief Engineer of Generelectric Nigeria Limited.
Though I am currently working in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, I am at the same time not resting on my oars in continuing my inventive quest. I have patented the invention to my company and I am equally ready to sell it to a reasonable bidder provided it will solve the problems for which they were invented in the first place.
I have also received quite a couple of awards. Some of them are the Scientist and Technologist of the Year Award, JET 2011; Best Invention of the Year and overall winner NTA/ETV Science /Technology Expo 2015; Best Inventive Innovation of the Year Award 2016 (Nigerian Innovation Exchange); Best Inventor and Innovator Award 2017 (Ola Ndigbo 2017) and joint winner, Anambra Talent Show 2018 (Technovative Category).