Daniel Chikeya, a Zimbabwean student in Ethiopia has faith that wind energy can lower the power deficit in the country.
The Murehwa bred studying towards a degree in Industrial Technology at Unity University in Ethiopia invented a wind generator turbine.
“This wind generator turbine is small yet versatile turbine and can produce up to 600 Watts Max. It features a special coating that protects the generator, making it suitable for locations. The turbine begins to supply power in wind speeds as low as 15m/s,” he said.
The Industrial Technology student is focussing on launching this product with an Ethiopian company before bringing it home.
Chikeya took the engineering path after not being in good books with History.
“There were two main reasons: first off, I didn’t know where I was getting myself into, and secondly I failed every single History exam in high-school! Apart from that, I think my uncle Mr Bere (works at Embassy of Zimbabwe Ethiopia) played a key role in my decision, and he have taught me the interest for science and technology,” he says adding that his, “…main motivation is to apply electrical engineering in every sector where it is becoming relevant, particularly in the generation of renewables, new technologies on storage in batteries and electrical transportation.”
He explained how his wind turbine generator works.
“It is a vertical axis wind turbine with helical blades, attached to a permanent magnet generator with an axial flow of 500W nominal. Additionally, it has a system control, a The fundamental advantage is that, according to the calculations performed in my project, and based on the wind maps and the energy consumption per capita of the researched countries, only one system could supply the whole house,” said Chikeya.
His invention is environmentally friendly.
“It is therefore a renewable, sustainable and affordable energy solution. One must also take into consideration that had this people access to energy, moreover sustainable energy, there would be a double contribution on the goals laid out in the Agenda 2030: universal access to energy and sustainable generation. One of the most surprising aspects of this project is that some of the country province, have great wind resources that are not being used,” he said.
It also has various advantages.
“From a technical point of view, this project presents very important advantages. Regarding the blades, they do not need any guidance systems, have a wide operational range and a very simple and not often requiered maintenance. The generator is highly efficient, with a considerable density power, and few maintenance requirements.
With about 40 percent of Zimbabweans having access to electricity, the remaining 60 percent shows the country is struggling hence the need to look for alternative electricity.
There has been so much talk on renewable energy with several companies setting up solar plants in the country.
Despite Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launching its Econet Solar in 2013 the potential of wind energy in feeding onto the national energy grid has not been fully considered.