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FUPRE boosts local content, builds lightweight truck, engines

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Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE),

Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Professor Akii Ibhadodeh and two of his former students have designed and built a lightweight truck and fuel-efficient engines.

Professor Ibhadodeh said the project would build capacity for the automobile industry with regards to the development of fuel-efficient and environmentally sustainable engine.

The aim is to develop a lightweight utility vehicle for small lot production in Nigeria that could easily be reproduced to meet gaps in the production of made in Nigeria vehicles, as well as meet the transport needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The trucks and engines, which were unveiled in the university during a seminar at the weekend, were produced with the assistance of the VC’s two former students- Dr. Raphael Ebhojiaye of the University of Benin and Eghosa Igbinosa, a production engineer.

The Guardian learned that the project arose from the professorial chair, established by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) joint venture partners at FUPRE due to the university’s performance at the 2015 Shell Eco-Marathon where FUPRE, which was participating for the first time, won two of the six awards that were on offer.

“This really excited Shell, especially as it didn’t have to put in any money into it, we sponsored the project ourselves to South Africa, whereas some other universities that Shell sponsored could not perform that feat.

“So that was what drew attention to establish a professional chair here on the development of lightweight automobile engine and this is to ensure that we are able to have the skills required to build capacity for the automobile industry, especially with regards to the automobile engine.

“Not just the normal combustion engine, but also electric motors now coming into play in the course of concerns for environmental degradation.

“We have come up with a two-stroke engine, we have also come up with a one-stroke engine, which is able to deliver power for every stroke of the piston, we are still trying to perfect that. We have also come up with a locally fabricated hub motor that can be used for electric vehicles.

“We have started with small engines with that we will graduate to bigger engines and what that means is that the principles we have learned from the small engine can be applied to more complicated ones.

We are hoping that in the next level of the project, we will go to high capacity engines,” Ibhadodeh said.

He explained that the team was challenged by lack of adequate equipment in the workshop and lack of necessary materials for fabrication, but that they were able to make do with what they had said, “We believe that it is through challenges that people make breakthroughs.”


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