Nelson Eze: Great nigerian inventor in the making
At the age of 12, while in primary six, Emeka Nelson Eze lost a close friend in generator fumes incident. Since then, he has vowed not to rest on his oars, until he developed an alternative to the use of gasoline generators.
It was a tall dream looked impossible, considering the country we are, but the young Emeka was never discouraged. Like a man with vision, he relentlessly pursued his dream.
Today his effort has paid off as he has researched and produced a generator that is being powered with water without fumes and machines that can convert waste to fuel and methane gas. Products he is already making efforts to make available in Nigerian markets next year.
Hails from Imilike-Agu in Udenu Local Council of Enugu State, 22-year-old Eze who has spent most of his life in Awka, the Anambra State capital is a student of the Instrumentation and Control System Engineering of the National Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha, Anambra State.
Speaking to The Guardian in his home in Awka about his inventions, Eze said: “I have quite some number of inventions, but for now it is only three of them that I want Nigerians to be aware of. One of them is a portable hydroelectric generating set. It is a portable generator that uses water instead of gasoline. It can be used to power a house. It is still under development, but now I have one that can work, but I can’t say it is completely okay now because I still need to improve on it.
“I came about the idea of the machine when I was in primary six. I lost a friend to generator fumes. He was watching a movie in the parlour while the generator was on. Suddenly there was rain and the family decided to bring the generator close to the parlour and everybody slept in the process. The fumes from the generator that found its way into the room killed my friend. It was a very pathetic and ugly incident for me. I was a year ahead of him in school then, but we were very close.
“It was from there that I vowed to find alternative to gasoline generator. It was like saying if the whiteman can make Nigeria generate electricity from water, why can’t they get them into smaller shapes like the one we have in our houses to serve the same purpose?
“It was a childish thought. But I remembered that in our Integrated Science class our teacher would always tell us that Nigeria generates its electricity from water. To me, that was a launching pad.
“I started reading Physics textbooks, even though I didn’t know they were Physics textbooks. All I was doing was to go to the library, get any book I like read and ask questions. I go to the roadside generator technicians and ask questions. Though some of them get angry with me at times, but I never allowed such to deter me.
“ The first time I did a very small experiment, I was able to get over 40 volts with just water. In my junior secondary, I developed another one that gave an increased voltage. I told myself that I should do something better and that was how I started working hard. I normally go to the refuse bins, pick waste and all sorts of components, I go to mechanic workshop, radio workshops where they give me discarded parts and that was where I started.
When asked how he was able to design, Eze said: “Today, I have been able to design a generating set that can use water to power one room. It can carry your bulbs, fans and television, but not pressing iron, fridge and air-conditioners.”
He disclosed that the second machine he developed is capable of transforming waste to fuel. He calls it “Mgbanwe C12” (meaning change or transform).
“What this machine does is to convert waste to fuel. The major challenge we have been having is waste disposal. I am not saying that waste management people are not doing enough. I had to think of the way of taking care of these wastes permanently and even bring them to generate funds and create employment. I engaged in a kind of research on what to do with those waste and that made me start with an experiment. I can still remember that during the time of flooding and you see wastes here and there. They don’t decay, but block drainages.
“There was a time government said it was going to stop companies manufacturing sachet water because of poor waste disposal. I was like saying it would be wise if we find a way to convert these wastes to fuel. So we had to do constant research and one day, I did something while I was in the kitchen and had a miniature thing and was able to get something that looks like kerosene from the waste.
“That was what actually gave me hope that I can really transform these wastes. The idea was that if I create a machine that can return waste back to its original state, then I could extract oil in it and transform it to fuel.
“So the major challenge was creating a machine that will do it. So I started working towards it and after my WAEC examination, I got serious with it. So luckily for me, a year later, I was able to complete the machine. So the machine is working and not only that it can turn waste to fuel, it can give you the best form of interlocking stone,” Eze said.
Speaking on another invented machine, he said: “The third machine is called farmer. I made it for farm. It is still at the prototype stage, but it can work only in the field. What it does is to clear the farm, pounds the waste into a chamber and converts it in methane gas.
On why he has not been able to produce the machines en masse for public use, Eze said that lack of proper funding has hindered the development and expansion of the projects, stressing that his works had emerged the best in so many exhibitions he has attended so far.
“I have represented Anambra State government in some exhibitions and I have trophies for them. Unfortunately the Anambra State government has not deemed it fit to encourage me. I won gold medals in Junior Science and Technicians in Akwa Ibom in 2011. I have gone to Abuja twice and in one of such exhibitions the state came first with my products.
“Last year, I went to represent Enugu State in Abuja and that was NTA/ETV Expo 2015. My project was the overall best. I brought them trophy. It was the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) people that took us to the State Commissioner for Education, but till date nothing has been done.”
When asked of his plans to raise money for the projects, Eze told The Guardian that he has decided to complete his education so as to see if he can get a job and raise money to fund his works.
“When I was in secondary school, Dr. Emmanuel Egboga gave me a scholarship, which saw me through the Secondary School. He also gave me funds that helped me in some academic matters. I came in contact with him when he was the patron of the secondary school I attended in Awka.
“If I get better funding or sponsorship, I will go a long way and the nature of my inventions will not be the way it is. The one I am struggling to improve on presently is the hydro-electrical generator. I want a machine that will be presentable latest by next year so as to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel”.
“Fossil fuel, air pollution and environmental degradation are problems I am trying to resolve because they make us unhealthy and that is why we are creating alternative to energy. It will make things cheaper and create more jobs”, he said.
On how long the hydro-electric generator can last, he said: “As long as the water is there, the generator keeps running. You only need to change water when you want. We want to end smoke, because the machine does not have exhaust pipes, you can keep it in your room while it is working. Its sound is very minimal. I want to upgrade them to even enable them power a community. I use the one I have developed in my place but it is not that efficient because some of the components still need to be improved on, because I picked some of them from the waste bin”.
Eze, who is the fifth in a family of seven, stressed that the good thing about his projects is the quantum of local content in it.
“The machines have 70 per cent local content. It is only a few of them that I don’t have the capacity to fabricate. For instance battery, I cannot manufacture it. I need battery because it helps to create the force for the machine to kick off. Once the machine is running, the battery could be discarded.”
He continued: “With the high cost of gasoline today, I believe that what we require at this time as well as reduce much dependence on fuel is hydro-water generator. It is cheap, affordable and will greatly boost our economy. I don’t want to carry on developing the three machines at the same time. I want to develop the hydro-electric generator first. It cannot be found in the market now because we lack the funds to develop them further.
“When you invent something, there is the possibility that there are other areas that may require improvement. The idea was my own imagination. You can imagine how I have to go to waste bin, pick up something and start something. We will need funding or private investors to support our initiatives. I don’t think the government is actually being fair enough; otherwise we should have been able to do a lot of things in Nigeria. We should have been able to create mass employment and all these level of horrible sites we see in Nigeria should have become a thing of the past. Instead of calling these things waste, we will have opportunity to transform them. Most of the things I have built already I have realised are things that can help this country if massively developed.”
As he rounds off his three year National Diploma programme at the institute next year, Eze said that many youths are acquiring skills through him, stressing that he would want to mentor many more in the trade.