Alternative energy: FUD wins N200m research grants


By Umar Akilu Majeri Dutse

The World Academy of Science (TWAS) based in Italy and the African Academy of Science based in Nairobi, Kenya have given the Federal University Dutse a grant of N200 million  to carry out research on hydrogen (solar fuel) through splitting of water as an alternative to fossil fuel (petroleum) in Nigeria.

The World Academy of Science gave the  university $59,930 (N42,849,950 million)  while the African Academy of Science gave the university €220,801(N157,872,715 million).

The total amount is N200,722,66 million.

The leading  researcher Dr. Hafeez Yusuf Hafeez of the Physics Department, Federal University Dutse said the research proposal that won the TWAS award is titled “Development of Efficient and Robust graphene  based photocatalysis for the production of solar fuel (hydrogen) via photocatalic water splitting) while the title of the  proposal that won the AAS award is “Development of Efficient and Robust mxene  based photocatalysis for the production of solar fuel(hydrogen) via photocatalic water splitting.”

Dr. Hafeez said four MSc students will be trained under the TWAS research grant while six MSc students and two Ph.D students will be trained under the AAS grant.

He said he was motivated to carry out the research into this new area because of Nigeria’s over dependence on fossil fuel (petroleum) even though there is abundance of solar light and water in country adding that this research is an extension of his Ph.D work in India which the Indian government are now exploring at the commercial level.

The lead researcher said the world is now moving towards hydrogen energy due to its high combustion, zero emissions and it  has the  highest energy content (~150 kJ/Kg) compared to others such as petroleum, diesel etc, adding that it is the  cheapest source of energy because it requires only water, solar light and suitable photocatalyst.

He said Nigeria will be the first country in Africa that will explore hydrogen energy as alternative source of energy and FUD will be the pioneer Cenntre of Hydrogen Energy in Sub-saharan Africa and Africa at large.

Dr. Hafeez said G-7 countries are leading in hydrogen energy especially USA, Japan, Germany, Canada, UK adding that USA, Japan and France have launched hydrogen trains and cars recently while Germany and Canada are generating their electricity via hydrogen energy.

According to him, the TWAS research is for a two-year period while that of AAS is for a period of four years adding that part of the grant is to establah a research lab at FUD which they are working on.

Other members of the team are Dr. Jibrin Mohammad, Prof. Abdussalam BAlarabe Suleiman and  Prof. Chifu Ebene Ndikilar.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof.Abdulkareem Sabo Mohammad congratulated Dr. Hafeez and his team for their pioneering research on hydrogen energy in the country adding FUD is proud of them.

The VC said the university is ready to support its staff at all time to engage in research that will benefit the host community and the country at large.