PRODA continues to be a torch-bearer for indigenous Science and Engineering Research and Innovations. The research works presented, herein, attest to the resolve of PRODA to remain relevant and to keep impacting positively in the industrialization drive of the nation through STI. They provide an update on existing/on-going projects and programmes, as well as new ones, imperative for meeting the challenges of Nigeria.
It is pertinent to note that the Institute is presently engaged in over 30 demand-driven research activities, which are expected hit the limelight in the course of time, subject to adequate funding.
Our Research Programmes
To achieve its mandate over the years, PRODA has developed several Agro-produce processing machines/equipment designed to mechanize and automate the production process. Efforts continue progressively to attain full mechanization and automation.
The objective of this project is to develop and produce machines/equipment that will achieve high productivity and high quality products, and obviate the inherent challenges posed by manual processing of agro-produce. It targets the demand-driven national market and aims to be competitive for the global market. In the long term more jobs would be created for the youth, based on Science and Technology knowledge, and a high level of import substitution would be achieved by government.
a] Automation of Palm Fruit Processing to Red Oil
In pursuit of the objectives of this project, the following steps have been taken in the last 12 months:
- The Institute has acquired three more Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines
- Eleven personnel (engineers and technologists) have been trained in the use of the CNC machines at Micziel Integrated Services Ltd., Port Harcourt
- Three senior engineers have been trained at Siemens Industry, Manchester, UK, on equipment automation
- A seminar to demonstrate the progress made has been held, where a model developed for semi-automated “Steam De-bunching” was presented and critically discussed.
b] Other Automated Agro-produce processing flow lines
(Palm kernel nuts – PKO; Soya bean – Flour; Plantain fruit – Flour; Cassava tubers – Garri; Cassava tubers – Starch)
- These projects are at different stages of development – literature review, design, brain-storming, etc.
- Budget provisions have been made over the next three years
With increasing population, food security becomes imperative. The more technologically advanced nations have managed to be self-sufficient in food because of their more sophisticated process technology. Highly mechanized and fully automated agro processing machinery are critical to this sustenance. There is a dearth of this process technology in Nigeria. The country’s over-reliance on manual and semi-mechanized processes is a challenge that has to be tackled.
The mandate given to PRODA to embark upon automation for agro processing, is timely. The time is right for the much-needed collaborations to drive the nation towards full automation. The expertise of PRODA engineers allied to investors and entrepreneurs will be expected to reach communities in all 774 LGAs (the target market) and enable the country attain food security. The market potential is high. The business is sustainable.
The project came into being following the directive of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology [FMST] on 30th December, 2015 when he paid a maiden visit to Projects Development Institute [PRODA] Enugu. During that visit he saw that PRODA had produced an electric convertible vehicle, from Starlet Toyota car, powered by batteries. The directive was then given, to the Institute, to embark upon research and development of lithium ion batteries to bridge the gap of importing batteries, and for automobiles, given the global trend for the choice of electric vehicles over petrol driven ones.
Lithium-ion battery is an energy storage device whose application ranges from small-scale portable electronic devices,such as cell phones, laptops and medical equipment batteries. They are also used in Hybrid vehicles, for ground transportation and with renewable energy (e.g., wind and solar) sources, which make use of batteries to store energy that cannot be used at the time of its production.The battery is made up of one or more power generating compartments called cells. Each cell has essentially three components – a positive electrode, a negative electrode and a chemical called an electrolyte in between them.
PRODA aims to develop batteries of3V, 6V, 9V and 12V capacities. Some of the raw materials for actualizing this project are locally available. They will be beneficial to comply with the standards for lithium ion battery production. Lithium ore and graphite are available in the Northern States.
The expected outcomes of this research will be far-reaching. It will kick-start other R&D activities,transcending diverse areas of science and technology, and stimulate innovations. In the long term, it will enhance the development and quality of higher education, and create wealth through a long value chain.
In pursuit of the aims and objectives of this project, the following steps have been taken, in the last 12 months, by PRODA:
- Four laboratory equipment were acquired,through the 2018 budget, for the development of lithium-ion pouch cell.
- Four team members travelled to India (Central Electro Chemical Research Institute) on a special training programmein February, 2019. Members were exposed to the fundamentals of lithium ion research, development and manufacturing.
- Budgetary requirements have been submitted to embark upon an elaborate training in 2020.
The applications of Lithium ion battery transcend every sphere of life.The inherent benefits (high energy density, high capacity, long cycle life, reliable charge performance and low maintenance) has made it, over the years, the preferred choice for applications spanning from portable consumer devices to stationary energy storage and backup systems to motive equipment and vehicles. A dedicated R&D programme would see Nigeria being a global player in a science & technology based innovation. Establishing an LIB Manufacturing Unit would greatly boost the nation’s economy through local and international trade.
The avenues for wealth creation are many. The potentials for commercialization are evident, given the large, and growing, diverse client/user base. One of the avenues for wealth creation is the lithium-ion pouch cell which would enable:
- A simple, flexible and lightweight solution to battery design
- Use for smaller sizes of laptops, mobile phones, tablets and low profile laptops and can be adapted for rechargeable lantern
- Use of space by using the layered approach
- The utilization of prismatic cells and large formats of batteries for electric vehicles applications
It would require the collaborative involvement of PRODA (and indeed government), a willing investor and a willing entrepreneur. It would be the only industry of its kind in Africa. PRODA has set the ball rolling.
The federal government, through the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), supported PRODA in its mandate of coal research aimed at developing alternative energy resources.
The abundant mineral resources of Nigeria has provided a veritable platform for the exploration of these resources and to create wealth. PRODA has carried out extensive R&D that led to innovations suitable for domestic and industrial applications over the years.These products remain as relevant TODAY, as they were when the breakthroughs were made.
The objective of this project was:
a] To explore the use of efficient fuel that could be used domestically, with little or no damage to the environment, and
b]To develop affordable appliances, stoves and ovens, that would utilize solid fuel from biomass and other sources, such as coal.
The carbonization process was also seen as an alternative to firewood utilization. It was intended to solve the twin problems of soil erosion and desert encroachment nationwide.
PRODA has successfully produced the solid fuels, in form of briquettes, by heating coal or agro bio-wastes (rice husk) in inert atmospheres (carbonization).
The PRODA stoves have multi-solid fuel utilization capabilities – solid fossil fuel in raw, beneficiated or briquetted forms. Their use is based on forced air draft with chimney for flue gas exit, and good insulation for heat retention, low cost maintenance.
PRODA SOLID FUEL STOVE (Mass-produced for many communities)
- A carbonization plant is under construction, which will expand the scope of investigations and produce smokeless fuels.
- The energy efficiency of the briquettes have been tested.
- Stoves of different specifications have been fabricated, using mild steel.
- The energy efficiency of different stove specifications are being investigated.
- Briquettes of different shapes have been produced to suit the different stove specifications.
- More research is ongoing in the carbonization of more agro bio-wastes.
- The imperative of utilizing fuel efficiently is a driving force for continuous research into energy – efficient equipment. PRODA continues to explore collaborations and partnerships for the production of stoves that utilize the solid fuels.
- The carbonization plant offers investment and partnership opportunities, the blueprint for commercialization of the smokeless fuels that will be produced.
- PRODA has shown the capability in the production of smokeless solid fuel in an effort to add to the energy mix of the nation in line with the national policy on power & energy.
- In the last 6 to 7 years, PRODA has designed and fabricated over one thousand stoves, on demand, for community uses. Ovens have also been designed and fabricated. These products are standardized and ready for potential investors and entrepreneurs to commercialize. This will provide the platform to achieve import substitution.
(A) WASTE CASHEW NUT SHELLS UTILIZATION
The cashew tree grows everywhere in Nigeria, but its cultivation is concentrated primarily in the south and middle belt regions. Like most agricultural produce, the harvesting, processing and consumption of the fruits generate by-products and enormous wastes which constitute a nuisance. The cashew nut shell, the major waste material of the fruit, has great potential for wealth creation. It contains one of the most versatile naturally occurring raw materials in Nigeria, the Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL), the pericarp fluid of the cashew nut.
The major objective of this project is to develop a process technology that will be used to synthesize a bio-based fuel dye, from CNSL, whichcan serve as an alternative to the conventional chemical-based azo dye. The process involves separation, extraction and purification with specially designed equipment, which can be fabricated locally. The bio-based azo dye that is produced has wide applications,in the form of surface coatings, in the leather, and petroleum industries, with the advantage of reducing health and environmental risks associated with the common azo dye.
- Four key equipment have been procured.
- Staff training, installation and test run are awaited.
- Commissioning of the process technology is expected to take place in no distant time.
The high local content involvement of the project justifies the interest in this project, and makes it an attractive industrial raw material for converting waste to wealth. Given the abundance of feedstock and minimal capital outlay, the economic potential is very attractive and would certainly provide a solid base for export trade. PRODA is well positioned to help drive the commercialization and wealth creation from this project.
(B) PRODA INDUSTRIAL POULTRY WASTE DRYER
Commercial poultry farming has increasingly raised concerns in the poultry waste disposal. They pose great environmental and health hazards to livestock and the populace. Drying the waste has been found to be one of the best ways to remove the nuisance. The dried products have been found to be useful in other farming activities, especially as fertilizers. The practice remains essential to attain the best global practices and add value to the economic development of communities.
The PRODA Poultry Waste Dryer is designed for drying wet poultry droppings for better storage, packaging and for future use. The process consists of various steps- fermentation, mixing, crushing and granulating before drying. The dried product can last for about one year and can be used as equivalent to fertilizer.
The PRODA Poultry Industrial Waste Dryer Prototype has been produced and test runs are ongoing.
PRODA POULTRY WASTE DRYER
Staff training continues to ensure that standards are high. With more interactions with the communities, deployment of the equipment to the communities is imminent.
In concert with the theme of NCST-17th, 2019, the increase in local fabrications and products will help government drive its vision of a sustainable self – reliant nation where trade imbalances can be corrected. The economic potentials are great.
(A) CERAMICS PRODUCTION
PRODA has for over thirty (30) years carried out R & D on ceramic wares production, including ornamental wares, dinner sets, tea sets, figurines etc. In addition, the Institute has carried out extensive R & D and production of strategic products such as Low Voltage Electrical Porcelain Insulators, Water Filter Candle and Refractory Insulating/Dense and Building Bricks from 100% local raw material content, contributing greatly to the cut down on FOREX expenditure.
The prevalent trend of seeking collaborations and/or partnerships has brought PRODA management in contact with potential investors. Meetings have been held to study the technical and financial submissions with an Abuja-based company. Closures are expected within a year.
Having perfected R & D, we have advanced towards standardization in readiness for commercialization. PRODA is also in collaboration with IMT in Diploma program in Ceramic Technology.
The products of PRODA may be described as low hanging fruits.
PRODA ELECTRICAL PORCELAIN INSULATORS PRODA POTTERY & FIGURINES
PRODA Ceramic Wares (crockery, sanitary ware, pottery etc.) are in high demand as it is consumed in every household. The strategic wares, a result of many years of research, such as the Electrical Porcelain insulators and refractory bricks, are largely imported, even though the raw materials are 100% locally available. The opportunities for sustainable wealth are great.
(B) SCHOOL PENCIL PROJECT
The pencil project was conceived as key outcome of years of research on graphite beneficiation. Great strides have been made to since its inception. The pencil factory building has been completed. Activities are ongoing to establish the blends (of clay and graphite) that will churn out a minimum of 15 million pencils (HB and 2B) per annum using local raw materials such as graphite, clay and wood. The project is aimed at 100% local content.
Links have been established links with some companies in China for technical know-how, machinery, production accessories and training/man development in the area of pencil-making. Machinery, numbering over 21 machines, has been procuredand installed.
The pencil-making technology is a multi-stage process involving the installation of 25 machines. After each stage in the process, products are conveyed automatically to the subsequent stages leading up to the extrusion of the pencil lead for casing. The casing is another process which utilizes treated wood, or other suitable material.
Pencil-case making machines have been procured and are awaiting installation and test run. Apart from the wood casing planned for this project, PRODA plans to utilize waste paper to produce the pencil casings. This latest technology will be installed, test run and commissioned within the next 3 to 6 months.
For over thirty years, PRODA has provided assistance to communities far and near, across the nation, on scientific, technological and engineering matters. Students on industrial training, local artisans, industry, academia, community developers have benefitted from the expertise provided by trained staff and professionals. The Institute has partnered with such bodies as NDDC, ITF, NSE, MSN, NMS, State governments and the tertiary institutions to plan and carry out specialized trainings. PRODA is poised to do a lot more.
The manpower development efforts of the Institute covers such areas as vocational training/skill acquisition, practical work experience for students, graduate training for graduates, remedial courses, conferences, seminars and workshops.
The areas of training covered by the Skills Acquisition & Training Programme are:
- Welding/Fabrication Technology
- Domestic &Industrial Electrical Wiring
- Software Development
- Machine fabrication
- Foundry Technology
- Perfume Production
- Materials Testing & Analysis
- Mosquito Repellants production
- Computer appreciation/ICT
- Ceramics technologies
- Soap Making
The training courses or modules available are advertised bi-annually and usually last for a duration not exceeding 6 months. The methodology is by lectures and hand-on practical exercises. Examinations are usually conducted at the end of the courses and proficiency certificates awarded.
PRODA has through its budgetary provisions enhanced its infrastructural capacity, in physical buildings and equipment upgrades, by carrying out:
- Modernization of its library
- Establishment of an E-Library
- Increasing the capacity of network and Internet facilities
The improved service delivery capacities have led to an increased demand for PRODA’s technical services.
The improved capacity of PRODA to serve, bodes well for our communities. Many of the activities comprising the training programmes offer the possibilities of partnerships for wider reach. The fees that would be charged would help sustain the programmes and benefit many, transcending all areas of science, technology and innovations.