The winners of the Engineering Newcomer 2019
Students from Nigeria convert heat into electricity with their design
Of the numerous international entries, one really stood out this year: the project Ina’Lite. Four University Kware State Nigeria students – Okpamen Obasogie, Benedict Usifoh, Efenudu Hermans and Osasumwen Obasogie – developed an affordable and lightweight thermoelectric generator that converts heat into clean electricity. A total of 10-15 Watt can be generated. This is enough to charge LED lamps, mobile phones or other small devices.
The background: Roughly 80 million people in Nigeria have no access to electricity. Nevertheless, households and street vendors generate heat through their everyday habits such as cooking, lighting and heating. Fuels such as charcoal, firewood and kerosene are used in the process. Very few people are aware that this heat can be converted into electricity, thus reducing energy loss through heat. The project is an effort to reduce the ecological footprint.
And here’s how it works: The copper conductor is held in the heat source. The thermoelectric generator converts heat into electricity. The effect is known as the Seebeck effect. The electricity generated is fed to a USB port and can then be used, for example, to power LED lamps and charge mobile phones.