Haste makes Waste Oil: How a Nigerian teenager's invention promises a bright future for her country
Byon Mar 24 2016
When speaking, the humble, teenaged, World Science Champion from Nigeria, Kpakpando Akaeze, exhibits an intellect and eloquence far beyond her years.
By 15, Kpakpando was retrofitting generators to run on waste oil and urine leaps and bounds beyond the average 8 th grade Earth & Space Science student.
You can see, quickly, that she has no time for the typical entrapments of adolescence unselfishly dedicating endless hours to improve her scientific understanding: not for the sake of her own pride, but for the pride of her country, for the betterment of her people.
As long as you have the brain and you have God with you, you can do anything. "
The optimistic, yet very serious young woman speaks with a hurried, intense passion both for her craft and her people.
And the urgency makes much sense. Millions of Nigerians carry on daily without electricity: in fact, somewhere around 50% of the country heads to bed when nature calls.
After achieving national headlines for her urine-powered and waste oil powered generators, the 15-year-old makes it quite clear that there is still much work to be done before she hangs up the lab coat:
We learnt that nothing is ever a waste so we must not just look at it at the face value. Hence, waste should not just be disposed of especially the waste that is non-biodegradable. It can be used alternatively to do different things ...We also learnt that success can never be achieved at once, we learnt to identify success in the midst of failure as we failed repeatedly in our experiment but we never gave up. "
Kpakpando makes an interesting point how far have researchers pushed through failure to find success in the fields of alternative energy? Especially in regards to the reuse of waste oil?
Waste oil is an afterthought in the alternative energy business considering most alternative energy movements are progressing away from the use of petroleum entirely. However, considering much of the world is running off the substance, it seems to make sense to make use of all that waste oil.
Interestingly, Kpakpando's generator designed to run on waste oil and ionized water was achieved merely by a reworking of the generator's internal components. The device uses heat generated from the exhaust of the generator to break down the small amount of petrol; harvesting the gases and feeding them back into the generator produces power (I admit, there may be one or two more steps, check out the video below for Kpakpando's full explanation).
As this 15-year-old from Nigeria clearly shows, advances in alternative energy may be achieved through an active refocusing of where we should place our stake while wind energy, hydroelectric energy, and solar energy all promise clean, outstanding results, the upfront costs of these endeavors are nonetheless discouraging. And while waste oil often sits untouched, or is dumped irresponsibly in the woods, it seems that Kpakpando's approach may just be the kick that the industry is looking for.