[Vanguard] With fluctuations in world oil prices, global economic crisis, global warming, search for greener and more sustainable energy sources by major oil consumers, it has become absolutely necessary to diversify Nigeria’s oil-based mono-product economy if the country must survive the current trends the world over.
This is because, Nigeria’s major export product – crude oil – may not be in much demand in the near future. US for instance, spends billions of dollars to find more environment-friendly, cheaper and cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel. When this happens, Nigeria’s economy, as it is now, will literally come to a halt.
To avoid this, a researcher, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle Erinle, spent money and time to invent something that Nigeria can export to the world, Erinle Engine. In this chat with Vanguard Learning in his Isolo, Lagos office, Mr. Erinle said that the engine was invented to reduce air pollution, global warming and its consequences and also as Nigeria’s gift to the world. Excerpts:
According to Erinle, it all started while he was a staff of Cadbury Nigeria Plc from 1982 to 2001: “When I was in Cadbury, I worked in the power station. What really motivated me was that to start the the company’s giant generators, I noticed that we used air at the initial stage before it picks up and then runs on diesel or gas. But to start the machine from rest, we used air. So I discovered that with this system, definitely I could do something that will be of benefit to humanity.”
Speaking on his first invention, Erinle whose invention was nominated for Tech Museum Awards in US, a programme sponsored by World Bank, Applied Materials Inc., and other donors in Environment category in 2007 said: “My first invention was Erinle Engine.
This engine does not use fuel or gas. It works on pure air and it can be designed for motor vehicles or electric power generation from domestic to national grid. If it is designed for your vehicle, you don’t need fuel in any way and if it is designed for your generator, be it domestic or industrial; you don’t need fuel as well.
…some of Erinle’s products
It can also be used for marine propulsion. We are talking about global warming, so we need a greener environment where the carbon monoxide within our environment will be reduced to zero. Today, many big cities are being associated with air pollution because a lot of pollutants are released into the atmosphere. So using Erinle Fuelless engine will go a long way in giving us a cleaner environment.”
Explaining further, the mechanical engineer who won Cadbury’s Creativity and Originality Award in 1994, stated that he spent over N5 million on the research. “It was not easy. The research cost me serious money. But the one I recorded is up to N5 million, apart from the little, little expenses I did not write down. Even after I left Cadbury, all the money I was paid as gratuity went into research because to carry out a research is not a day’s job. When a good idea comes, you have to keep working at it until you get the exact thing you have in mind.”
Relevance to economy:
”When you talk about economic growth, all over the world, new technologies come up everyday. There is the hydrogen fuel cell which uses water, there is electric car. With that, our economy which depends solely on oil, will definitely be affected.
So if the government of Nigeria does not wake up and do something now to diversify the economy, then in the nearest future, the nation will be in real trouble. But if they invest in research, Nigeria can also earn foreign exchange by exporting our home-grown technology. We are talking about generating power from nuclear energy, but with this Erinle Engine in position; we can generate any amount of electricity we want through this system.
Air is very abundant and we can never run out of air and that is why it is called sustainable energy. We can also power our industries like motor industry or any other manufacturing industry. If they want an independent power system that will power the factories, they can easily do that and that will drastically bring down the cost of production.
How the engine works:
It has a DC battery, the type used in cars, as a primary system. What the battery does is to power the engine and when it does, there is what is called the compressor. The compressor will pump air for the engine to work and as the compressor is pumping the air and the engine begins to work, it has what is called charging alternator.
So the charging alternator charges the battery. That is what enables it to run constantly. It gets air directly from the atmosphere and does not store it anywhere. There is what we call centrifugal force/pump which takes the air and throws it, as it were, into the system. That will strike the turbine blade and it works on and on and on.
“You know every engine is a prime over eg a car or a lorry engine is a prime over. So what it does is that if you want to use it as electricity generator, there is what is called generating alternator. When it is coupled to the engine and is designed for the capacity of that alternator, you will be able to power the alternator that will now be able to generate electricity.
“The same thing goes for vehicles. They can be designed for a particular brand and placed where the engine is normally placed and from there, it goes on to power the vehicle. The same goes for ships. It will be designed for the type of ship and connected to the propeller to power it,” he explained.
“We’ve been pushing and pushing. The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology invited me to Abuja for exhibitions in 2007. I demonstrated the workings of the engine. They promised to do something. The promise has not been fulfilled.”
Sourcing the raw materials:
“Even the most advanced countries cannot boast of getting all their raw materials locally. So some are imported and some are got locally. When I’m ready to mass- produce, definitely, some parts will need to be designed and that will be contracted out. I want for instance to build the engine for a certain car brand.
“That will certainly be good for the country economically because many countries will now be eager to do business with us. They may even invite Nigerians to come and establish an assembly plant in their country. That will generate more income,” he said.
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