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Cranfield seeks linkage with local varsities to tackle energy crisis

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To help solve the unending energy crisis confronting the country through human capacity development, Director of Energy and Power at Cranfied University, United Kingdom (UK), Prof. Phil Hart, has announced that the institution is open to building relations with universities and colleges in Nigeria.

Hart, who disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, where he acknowledged that Nigeria is truly undergoing serious energy crisis, said in this time and age when there are so many alternatives to energy, Nigerians need to acquire the technical-know-how to enable them identify and harness its crude and biofuel resources through its energy-rich natural resources.

Identifying the sector challenges, Hart said: “First of all, your energy grid, your way of distributing electricity around the country is really weak and there are many cities and huge rural expanse. Trying to grow that grid to everybody is probably the way you would have done it 50 years but certainly not the way you should do it now. The adoption of local renewable energy and the local grid is a key way for developing countries to look at their energy infrastructure and we are researching on how Nigeria should do that and the best ways they should do it.”

Describing Cranfield as a postgraduate and research-based institution with emphasis on science, technology, and management, Hart stressed that the training the institution offers is such that it makes a great impact and achieve desired results.

Noting that the institution is open to collaborate with Nigerian universities and colleges, particularly in finding lasting solution to the challenges of its power sector, he said: “Part of our mission is to build links with local universities but I think that should extend to local colleges as well as universities so you have got both ends. Nigeria needs well-trained people who are going to fix, install, maintain; and also people who are going to take the existing technology and move it up to the next step and most of our work is around the development of technology putting innovation to make it better.

“We have a research group that looks at energy strategy policy, impact of digitisation, distribution technologies and microgrids. They answer the questions around whatever we need, when we need it, how we are going to get it there and what it does- the more economic policy strategic insight- and it is really important that Nigeria figures out that transition

He continued: “So, we are researching actively with PhDs from many countries, everything from what we need to how we fix the problem and the learner at the end having a mission to engage industries and fix all of these problems in the Nigerian energy sector.”

“We have a long-standing relationship with Nigeria and we have taught more than 200 people within the energy of power sector but we would like to grow that relationship as much as we can. At the moment I have two Ph.D. students from Nigeria in my team looking at this problem.

“The thing about Cranfield is that when you come and study with us the day you join your employer you should be a useful contributor from day one. I went to Cranfield over 20 years ago and I have been in the industry for most of my career. I just move back into academics.

My career progression went from leaving Cranfield with PhD to being a leader of a company in about 11 years. That is the type of progress we expect a good quality student to make when they leave Cranfield. We will equip them with all of the tools and how to apply them; then it is up to them to use the tools we give them and go out and make a difference.”


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