BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CENTRE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH
The Centre for Renewable Energy Research was established in May, 2008 at Umaru Musa Yar’adua University under the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. The Centre operates the following specialized Research Groups with membership from across the faculties of the University.
- Solar Energy Research - Both thermal and photovoltaic (PV) Research.
- Wind Energy Research - Horizontal and Vertical axis wind turbines.
- Small Hydro Research - This intends to set up a 50kw demonstration unit at location, near the University.
- Bio-fuel Research – use Jatropha (chin-dazugu) and Moringa (Zogale) oil for bodiesel production.
- Energy Efficiency and Conservational Research – this is on how to operate conventional power systems more efficiently and other energy conservation methods.
However, with the abundance of renewable energy resources in Katsina State, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) constructed and equipped Ibrahim Shehu Shema Centre for Renewable Energy Research which was commissioned by the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Barrister (Dr.) Ibrahim Shehu Shema on Tuesday 8th May, 2012.
As an up and coming Centre, the University’s Management sees the need to employ the manpower to kick start it activities and Dr. A.A. Mati on Sabbatical from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria was appointed as the Ag. Director.
Mission and Vision of the Centre
The Centre was established with the mandate of becoming one of the focal point in areas of Research and Development to harness the abundant renewable energy technologies in the State and partner with some of the more established Centres in areas of interest Nationally and Internationally.
Its mission is to provide functional research, development and training in Renewable Energy Technologies for sustainable development of Katsina State and Nigeria at large.
The Centre’s vision is to become a world class Centre for the development of Renewable Energy Technologies to meet Nigeria’s energy needs. It is also envisaged a centre of excellence in Research and Development in Renewable Energy Technologies for sustainable development.
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Activities of the Centre
Since the Centre’s inception, it has grown from strength to strength and had engaged in areas of Research and Development. These activities can be traced back from 2008 when it was established.
National and International Collaboration
The first week of September 2012 saw the first International Conference on Renewable Energy in Nigeria which was hosted by the ISSCeRER, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina with funding provided by the PTDF.
The conference was well attended with paper presentations from across many countries in North/West Africa the Americas and most renewable energy research institutes in Nigeria. Even the Nigerian Armed Forces was represented.
The academic activities concern mainly research and development (R&D) programs of the Centre. On this, two research activities have been initiated and they are still on-going. These are; A Model Solar PV/Wind Hybrid Power System for Off-grid Rural Areas in Katsina State and Energy-mix optimization involving mass injection of renewable energy sources in Katsina State. A brief description of these R&D activities is given below.
Model Solar PV/Wind Hybrid Power System for Off-grid Rural Areas in Katsina State
The research proposal for this activity has been developed and approved by the University research board for funding through TETFUND research grant. The research project seeks to harness the wind energy potential for optimizing lifespan and efficiency of conventional solar PV systems.
The project has the objectives of designing basic components of the hybrid system using simple low cost devices in order to reduce the cost associated with conventional solar PV/wind hybrid systems; and to incorporate appropriate electronic sensors and a micro-controller-based data logger for continuous storage of real-time data on wind speed, temperature and solar irradiance.
This research project has commenced and vital sections of the design have been achieved, namely, hybrid controller, inverter and the microprocessor data logger. Work is on-going for the completion of the project, testing and commissioning. If these objectives are achieved, the Centre would serve as data hub for the relevant weather data in the State and the Nation at large.
Energy-mix optimization involving mass injection of renewable energy sources in Katsina State
This research project was initiated with the objectives of bringing the various energy sources of the state into a modeling framework in order to evaluate the optimum energy-mix that should guaranty cheaper and reliable energy to the citizenry. The feasibility studies and evaluation would be based on technical and economic reliability of all available options.
This research project has commenced and vital Computer-Aided modeling and simulation environment of ‘MESSEAGE’ has been obtained and installed in the modeling and simulation laboratory.
The administrative activities carried out concerns mainly three areas namely, configuring and re-orienting the research laboratories, inauguration of the Centre’s Board and routine administrative duties. A brief description of these activities is provided below
Configuring the Centre’s Research Laboratories and Workshops
The purpose of the re-configuration of the laboratories was to bring together relevant facilities/equipment into the most suitable laboratory room so as to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of work to be carried out in the Laboratories. Hence the following laboratories were identified and appropriately designated.
Energy Modeling and Simulation Laboratory
Bio-mass and biotech laboratory
Electronics and instrumentation Laboratory
Welding and Fabrication workshop
Inauguration of the Centre’s Governing Board
The first task of putting proper management structure for the Centre was the inauguration of the Centres’ Governing Board on 17th January, 2014. At the inaugural meeting four basic areas were identified namely, proposed operational structure, Manpower and Capacity Building, Research and Development and Collaboration/Linkages.
The proposed operational structure was tailored to inspire a multi-disciplinary research approach in the Centre with the view to achieving its mandate. Three Technical Operational Departments were proposed and approved by the BOG namely, Renewable Energy Materials Research, Engineering and Instrumentation and Energy Planning and Utilization departments. The main research focus of each department was also presented and approved.
In addition, a proposal on the basic manpower and capacity building requirements to ‘kick-start’ the Centres’ R&D activities was presented along with the two pioneering R&D projects, which were also approved.
On collaboration and linkages, the BOG also approved linkages with Centre National D’ Energie Salaire, Niger Republic, Sokoto Energy Research Centre (SERC), Department of Forestry, Katsina Youth Craft Village and Ministry of Environment.
Special Projects and Services
In addition to the R&D activities reported, attempt has been made to go beyond the University in attracting research grants and to offer services. A brief description of some of these activities is provided below;
European Development Fund Research Grant
In an unprecedented effort to conduct Research and Development leading to rapid socio-economic development of the State and the Country at large, a proposal was submitted to the European Development Fund (EDF) for research grant on Farmer Managed Renewable Energy Production involving the improvement of fuel wood balance in some selected LGAs of Katsina State. The proposal has been approved by the European Union which involves €3.5 million to be executed in 4 years.
Training Maintenance and Operation of Solar Street lights
A proposal to undertake the above mentioned training has been submitted to the Local Government Service Commission of Katsina State for consideration. The proposal has been accepted and is awaiting the availability of funds for commencement.
In the same vein, proposals for collaboration with many relevant Government Agencies in Katsina State to render services have been put forward before MDG office, Service to Humanity NGO and SUBEB. This was contemplated in order to strengthened community-based approach to research and development in the Centre and the University in General.