AFRICANGLOBE – In continuation of the relentless pursuit for technological innovation, relevance and advancement, a group of Nigerian engineers, technologists and scientists have designed a state-of-the-art, concept solar-powered race car that will put Nigeria on the talking point of technology and innovation globally.
Called the “9jaBOLT Solar Car”, the car, which is to be built at an estimated cost of US$0.65 million, is planned for unveiling at the Africa Design Medal & Festival coming up in Lagos in August 2015 to showcase the very best of Africa’s design thinkers, architects, industrial designers, artistes, innovators, technologists and photographers who will gather to showcase their craft.
Team leader and Creative Director, 9jaBOLT Solar Car Project, Mr. Ebube Ebisike, said Nigeria has for the first time, been officially invited to compete as Africa’s sole representative in the World Solar Challenge in October 18-25, 2015 in Adelaide, Australia.
Ebisike, an ICT enthusiast and graduate of engineering from Enugu State University of Technology, ESUT, with a stint at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and University of Manchester, narrated how the Nigerian team got an offer to compete at the biennial technological project that has been running for over 13 years.
“Our mandate is to design and build this state-of-the-art concept solar car. This platform is a huge window of opportunity for us. Team Nigeria is seeking financial sponsorship to achieve building the car.
“We seek to build the 9jaBOLT Solar Car. This project to us is ‘Nigeria’s Centenary Technology Project’ given that in 100 years of our existence if we haven’t sent a probe to the moon which is wholly indigenously built or done a major space project beyond the launch of our geo-satellites (built by Chinese contractors), then we should at least have built a state-of-the-art solar car that can race and possibly win at the southern hemisphere event in October 2015,” he said.
Recounting that the Team is building the car from scratch on a tight budget, he said the proposal is to build 25,000 solar cells that will trap light, convert it into electrical power through an electric motor that will eventually create thrust and run the vehicle’s wheels.
We seek a cumulative budget of US$650,000 to complete the project, exclusive of cost of other external logistics, research and technology upended costs, hence we request the Presidency’s resounding sponsorship to achieve this feat.
“This is the biggest and most prestigious race involving solar technology. Our own design is an adaptation that’s never been done before to power a car of this type. The car is a one-seated lightweight design. Its aerodynamically sculptured body will be covered with a specially-modified compound known as Wysips Crystals that are powerful enough to capture rays of the sun to be converted to enough electrical energy to power the car over the course of the four-day 3,000 km race from Darwin to Adelaide,” Ebisike remarked.
Noting that several of the components will be built locally and abroad while the Team is pursing patency and ISO Certification, the Team Nigeria spokesperson said the idea is to use as many solar cells as we can put together. In the design of this car, we are projecting the possibility of achieving at least a patent. Wysips Crystals is a new area being created to charge mobile phones. It is a special material that can be put on the surface of a mobile phone and body so it traps as much sunlight that can be used to charge the phone and keep it running.
“We are looking at adapting this with another technology comprising cellulose-based wood that has become a super-conductor from an American university to enable us generate enough energy to power the car. We desire to achieve a seamless bandwidth connection and integration between the 9jaBolt solar car and Nigcomsat.”
Ebisike said it is factual to say this project will birth 100 percent transformational technology transfer to all members of team Nigeria as it also will set the record straight that Nigeria is fully geared to explore all its rarer resources, especially science and technology.
“However, we can signpost our super capability as ‘Giant of Africa’ by linking space, terra-firma, gadgets, machines and software in one compact ecosystem for our greater good. All designed with patents achieved using Nigeria signature innovation. The story of 9jaBOLT, we hope, will inspire several other commendable homegrown technological ideas and brands that will achieve global reckoning just like the Dangote and Oando.
“General Motors won it in 1987, so if Nigeria is making an attempt and everybody is going to be talking about engineering, this is it,” Ebisike stated.