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Startup adds beds and Wi-Fi to buses to turn them into ‘moving hotels’

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Nigerian, Chukwuemeka Eze Named 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation Finalist

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By Eric Elezuo

Nigerian engineer, Chukwuemeka Eze, has been named a finalist for this year’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation by the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was named in company of three other Africans for the grand prize, including South Africa (Edmund Wessels), Tanzania (Gibson Kawago) and Uganda (Anatoli Kirigwajjo). Among innovations under review in this year’s competition include electromobility motorbike conversion, a portable uterine inspection device, power packs made from recycled batteries, and a local digital security network for community safety.

The four finalists were selected from a shortlist of 15 African innovators for their proven ability to harness engineering to address common problems faced by Africans across the continent. The innovations tackle challenges central to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and wellbeing, affordable and clean energy, peaceful and inclusive societies, and reduced inequalities.

The Africa Prize 2023 winner will be announced in Accra on July 6, 2023, and will receive a whopping £25,000 prize money.

According to press statement by Ben Harris of Proof Africa on behalf of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the “Scalable engineering innovations created to address high gas prices by retrofitting motorbikes to run on batteries; easily diagnose and treat uterine health issues without anaesthetic; recycle lithium-ion laptop batteries into power packs for affordable electricity; and connect local communities through a digital rescue network to form community policing groups; have been selected as finalists for the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation 2023.”

ABOUT CHUKWUEMEKA EZE

A Nigerian electrical engineer, Chukwuemeka Eze developed the Revive Kit, a modular e-mobility service used to convert gas-powered three-wheeled motorbikes to run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Drivers can save up to 60% in operational costs, including gas or petrol, and 90% in maintenance costs. Eze’s company also trains technicians in the use of the kit. The Revive Kit includes lithium-ion batteries, an AC induction motor, a retrofit shaft and an electronic controller, which acts as the inverter. It also includes a vehicle-to-home power adapter.  Hall-effect sensors interface the throttle and the motor to the controller to determine and regulate motor speed. Other sensors monitor the vehicle’s battery and location, engine performance, motor temperature and maintenance requirements.

On a single charge, the smart battery rack accepts modular batteries, and can accommodate batteries for a range of up to 120 kilometres on an average load of 320 kilograms.  The vehicle-to-home integration can provide power to charge devices in off-grid homes or during power failures.

The modular battery and the smart battery racks can also be used by third party agents in building battery booths for a battery swapping network that uses mobile technology to keep drivers informed on the availability of charged batteries. This eliminates charge downtime and reduces pressure on the grid/supply.

“With surging fuel prices in Africa, the Revive Kit aims to be part of the solution. Too many drivers are spending over 60% of their revenue on petrol and maintenance; we aim to deliver an affordable and sustainable transport system which is environmentally friendly.”

AFRICA PRIZE AND ROYAL ACADEMY

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to developing African innovators and helping them to maximise their impact. It gives commercialisation support to ambitious African innovators developing scalable engineering solutions to address local challenges, demonstrating the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development.

An eight-month period of tailored training and mentoring culminates in a showcase event where a winner is selected to receive £25,000, along with three runners-up, who are each awarded £10,000. One shortlisted innovator from the remaining 11 will receive an award of £5,000 as ‘The One to Watch’.

The Africa Prize is generously supported by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund.

The award is in its ninth edition, and the winner will be from Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania or Uganda; countries that have produced previous winners. One of the countries will therefore automatically produce its second Africa Prize recipient in 2023.

The statement hinted that “The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

“In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.”

 

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Mobile Google CEO Promises 11 Daydream-compatible phones

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Ford’s 2018 Mustang GT can do 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds

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