It would be natural to be disappointed by the number of submissions received for this contest, but I am impressed and encouraged by the quality of the projects so I will be fully funding all three projects submitted, i.e. there is no need to vote. You can read the abstracts/summaries below if interested (I find them all fascinating):
- Madukwe Chimezie Michael. Development of a Solar Air Heater Matrix Type Absorber Plate Using PET Bottle Covers. University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
- Johnchemberleen Ajoagu and Blessing Adukwu. Design, Fabrication and Performance of an Improved Biomass Cook Stove with Thermoelectric Power Generators (TEGs). University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
- Marcellinus Uche Nwosu. Analysis of the Physicochemical and Microbiological Characteristics of Four Different Stations of the New Calabar River. University of Port Harcourt.
SUBMISSION 1: Development of a Solar Air Heater Matrix Type Absorber Plate Using PET Bottle Covers
Since fossil fuels are non-renewable and hence cannot sustain supply of energy for a long time and are also hazardous to the environment. The sustenance of the environment for the future has led to the search for effective renewable energy source and solar energy is seen as a viable source. A solar air heater is a form of heat exchanger that transforms solar energy into heat energy. This work focuses on the exploitation of solar energy for heating air. Conventional solar air heaters that uses at plate absorbers have low heat transfer coefficient between the air and the absorber and the flow is non uniform and hence have a low thermal performance. Many varying designs and flow configurations has been made to improve the thermal performance. In this work, plastic bottle covers will be used as light weight porous materials to form a matrix that serves as the absorber in order to improve the distribution of flow which in turn improve the heat transfer coefficient between the flowing air and the absorber and hence improve the thermal performance of the air heater.
Because of the increased interest in renewable energy source, we intend to build a matrix that will serve as the absorber plate of the solar air heater using recyclable materials such as plastic crown corks and aluminium crown corks and also light weight materials such as aluminium sheet and aluminium rods to support the wire mesh from sagging against the weight of the crown corks placed on it. The use of these recyclable materials to build absorber plates of solar air collectors imply to have lighter absorber plates, very cheap absorbers and a much cleaner environment. The results of the work done by Alvarez et al (2003) show that, the efficiency increase of air solar collector using recyclable aluminium cans is technically and economically feasible if an adequate design is applied.
SUBMISSION 2: Design, Fabrication and Performance of an Improved Biomass Cook Stove with Thermoelectric Power Generators (TEGs)
Ajoagu, J. and Adukwu, B.
A biomass cook stove is a physical structure that harnesses the chemical energy stored in biomass fuels through combustion and utilizes this energy for cooking, heating and other purposes. Biomass is organic matters used as fuel e.g. wood, charcoal etc.
The term “thermoelectricity” principles is a popular one in science and technology. There are three basic sub-principle that make up “thermoelectricity”. A German physicist named Seebeck discovered the first of such principle, in 1821; he discovered that when two dissimilar metals wires are joined at two ends to form a loop, a voltage is developed in the circuit, if the two junctions are kept at different temperatures (Seebeck Effect). Thirteen years later a French watchmaker Jean Peltier discovered that if a current is passed through a circuit containing two junctions of two dissimilar metals, it leads to an absorption or liberation of heat at the junctions (Peltier Effect). William Thomson in 1851 found that, if you pass current through a wire of single homogeneous material along which a temperature gradient exists; heat exchange must occur with the surrounding in order to maintain the original gradient along the wire (Thompson Effect).
These principles implies that if we have a heat source we can generate electricity and vice versa. This project “Design, Fabrication And Performance of An Improved Biomass Cook Stove With Thermoelectric Power Generators (TEGs)” intends to take the advantage of the Seebeck effect by using part of the heat from the stove an generate electricity. This implies that any Nigerian will be able to generate small scale off grid electricity for charging of phones and lighting.
The project also will not be solving the electricity problem only but we will also solve other problems associated with traditional biomass cook stoves. Research has shown that traditional biomass cook stoves and three stone fire are largely in efficient that is they waste a lot of scarce fuel. We intend to improve the thermal efficiency of the stove by using a good insulation around it. The insulation material will be locally sourced to reduced cost, after our research, we resolved to the use of a mixture of kaolin, Plastic clay and Rice husk firebricks.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that more than 1.5 million people die prematurely every year due to exposure to the smoke and air pollutants from burning solid fuels (Refusess, 2006). Smith et al (2000) found that solid biomass fuels are typically burned with substantial production of products of incomplete combustion (PIC). This problem could be minimized by incorporating a fan powered by the TEG to the stove, the fan will help to increase the air/fuel ratio in the stove, thereby ensuring an almost complete combustion. Other problems could be solved by proper design using Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics and Heat and Mass Transfer principles.
In Summary, the aim of the project is to improve the design of a traditional biomass cook stove, by ensuring proper heat transfer to the pot and almost a complete combustion of the biomass. The complete combustion could be achieved by incorporating an electric fan powered by a TEG and to generate a small-scale electricity.
SUBMISSION 3: Analysis of the Physicochemical & Microbiological Characteristics of Four Different Stations of the New Calabar River
This study is aimed at determining the water quality of the New Calabar River to ascertain whether it complies with the WHO (World Health Organization) standard for domestic water use and fully characterize and identify the predominant bacterial and fungal genera at different stations of the river. The New Calabar River lies between longitude 006053′ 53086’E and latitude 04053’ 19.020’N in Choba, Rivers State, Nigeria. The entire river course is situated between longitude 7060’E and latitude 5045’N in the coastal area of the Niger Delta. The New Calabar River is one of the most stressed rivers in the Niger Delta, a modern day garbage can. A one time source of livelihood, means of feeding and revenue generation is in constant threat due to discharge of effluents, toxic substances from industries sited around it, refuse and sewage as a result of human activities. These actions pollute the water greatly and threaten the aquatic ecosystem which serves as a source of livelihood for most natives. All these activities affecting the river raise public health concern as most communities situated around the river depend on it for water used in various domestic activities including drinking. Chemical pollutants expose the inhabitants to internal organ damage and microbial contaminants like bacteria and fungi cause water borne diseases as well as skin diseases. Unfortunately, this river is not the focus of any systematic periodic water investigation. A pressing need therefore has emerged for comprehensive and accurate assessment of trends in water quality in order to raise awareness, address the consequences of present and future threats of contamination and provide a basis for action. To carry out this quality assessment, surface and sub-surface water samples will be collected from four different stations of the river using an Eckman grab. The eight samples will be subjected to the following tests: pH, alkalinity, salinity, total soluble solids (TSS), total dissolved solids (TDS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total heterotrophic count (THC), total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH), total heterotrophic bacteria (THB), total heterotrophic fungi (THF), hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria (HUB), hydrocarbon utilizing fungi (HUF) and finally total and fecal coliform bacterial count. Further characterization and identification of micro-organisms will be done by culturing on mineral salt agar medium, other appropriate media and biochemical testing.
Good luck to these guys on their final year projects, I look forward to seeing how they turn out!