This Day (Lagos)

7 April 2013

Nigeria: Lagos School Pupil Powers Generator From Urine

A Lagos school boy, Gbenga Bamidele Joseph, Year 10, has invented the second urine-powered generator, capable of generating six hours of 300 voltage electricity.

The teenager who is a pupil of Avi-Cenna International School, Lagos, displayed the project at a science fair penultimate Saturday.

His invention follows an earlier urine-powered generator invented by four girls of Doregos Private Academy also in Lagos, and showcased at the Maker Faire Africa, a pan-African conference of handcrafters in November 2012.

Joseph said he had picked up the project because it is creative and is an alternative source of energy which is fast gaining currency around the world.

Explaining the procedure, Joseph said the urine, through a cell device, is converted into hydrogen gas and nitrogen. Both are again separated by a water filter, then pushed into a gas cylinder for storage. A liquid bora removes the moisture, then it changes to dry hydrogen gas that is pushed to the generator as fuel.

"A litre of urine will power a 300voltage generator for six hours," he said.

Joseph's parent had funded the N53,000 spent in acquiring the materials used in the project.

Science teacher and Science Coordinator for Avi-Cenna International School, Adefowope Adesanya, said the procedure was quite a simple one.

"You know that urine is a chemical; containing urea and hydrogen. What we need to do is to make hydrogen come out of urine and send it to the fuel tank or chamber and use that to ignite the engine. Hydrogen is the fuel for the future," he said.

Joseph was one of about 150 young scientists who showcased different projects at the science fair themed: Beyond Your Horizon 2013.

Shobande Tirenioluwa from Year 7A made a Remote Controlled (RC) helicopter, using cardboard, plastic, small electric motor, three Low Emission Device (LED) light bulbs (for landing), remote sensors and a wireless directional remote control.

Another scientist, Precious Ufomadu of Year 10B, discovered a valuable alternative energy source from trash (manure) to methane gas (fuel). Jefferson Agbebaku made a mini-turbine or hydroelectric generator capable of 2.16 voltage

Eight-year-old David Afolabi, exhibited a self-built, computer programmed and highly sensitive robot.

Other projects on display were flocculation (purification of water); home-made air conditioner; DNA extractions from strawberry plant, banana, chicken; making of biodiesel from vegetable oil; simple Frequency Modulation (FM) radio transmitter, extraction of protein from milk and many others.

Adesanya observed that the pupils had been working on the projects in the last three months. He thanked his pupils for putting in the effort and their parent's support, "without which none of these would have been possible."

The Principal, David Ogburn,, said the fair was to showcase what the pupils have learnt in school, inform the public of what is going on in science and what scientific experimentation could achieve.

"The exhibition covers most aspects of science in terms creating things. All these are key elements of those things that mankind is trying to achieve through out the world today. It answers the significance of science, not only in the school, but also in the society and the country at large," he said.

One of the observers at the event, who is also the chairman of Evans Medical Plc, Bunmi Olaopa, said he was quite impressed with the inventions , which, according to him, shows that this country has a future in technology.

"All that we need is just to encourage our children. I saw a group work there on robot. If they are encouraged, I believe they can compete with the best any where in the world.

"I wish some of the people in the Ministry of Education would come here and see. Though, this is private institution and they pay a lot of money, but I'm sure that if government also invests in our public schools, then they will do the same. After all, it is the same brain that these ones have that those in the public schools also possess. It is just a matter of opportunity. If we take it as our priority, then that will be our future," Olaopa said.

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