Highlights of Section Meeting at RSU, Port Harcourt

The highlights of the Section Meeting at Rivers State University (RSU), Port Harcourt are the technical presentations summarized below:
Presentation I:
A technical presentation by Engr Azuka Ofogu the ComSoc Chair on “Big Data and Predictive Analytics”. The concepts of Big Data and Predictive Analytics were explained- Staggering volumes of real-life data are generated from many different sources- internet browsing and searches, customer-, market-, and social-listening, in addition to real-time apps, etc. These data can be subjected to mining and predictive analytics based on data analysis technologies and statistical techniques, in addition to machine learning and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to discover behavioural or statistical patterns for the purposes of predictive marketing, personalized services, optimization of business processes, etc. The presentation crystalized the following questions:
  1. How can big data and predictive analytics be used to alleviate the power problem in Nigeria?
  2. How can the challenges of data integrity be addressed as data which duplicated allover Nigeria can be manipulated.
  3. What is Nigeria doing to empower appropriate stakeholders and players so that the country can partake in the gains of big data.
  4. How and where to obtain locally befitting data for the investigation of local specific challenges, as the research data online may not contain relevant data relating to the country.
In response to the questions, it was stated that the Federal Government has already commissioned an agency to integrate the different DataBases (DBs) in Nigeria- NIS, FRCN, etc. The major problem is said to be the gap between the industry and the University which needs to be closed or bridged so that together we can make a difference. The industry can help promote inter-relations for the power sector, and provide capacity building for University teachers and students, Also, the private sector is fundamental to manufacturing which is the practical way that development in technology and engineering can be realized. Though huge funds are required to establish research centres but the Universities are there with the right human resources which is key to research. Furthermore, the University staff can go to the industries to learn the practical skills they need to enrich the classrooms. Moreover, there is need to keep track of researches as most are simulated, in addition to enhancing local content.
Presentation II:
A technical presentation by Engr Dr Hachimenum Amadi of EEE Department, RSU on “Why Nigeria May Not Achieve Adequate Electrical Supply”. The focal point of the presentation was electricity generation in Nigeria. Electricity is the bedrock of economic and technology development. Obviously, Nigeria is grappling with the generation and supply of adequate, reliable, effective, and sufficient power. High amount of power in MWatts needs to be generated. There is need to generate more than what the population can consume. Currently, only about 18% of Nigerians enjoy power. The reasons why Nigeria may not Achieve Adequate Electrical Supply were given as including:
  • Poor infrastructure- outdated grid no longer able to service the population. Corruption seems to have hindered government efforts to rectify the power infrastructural issues.
  • Attitude of the people- no respect for the nationhood. Lots of people and agencies are owing electricity bills- ministry, government, individuals, etc. How then can the country move forward?
The presentation gave rise to the following questions:
  1. Generator set importers and sellers seem to frustrate efforts at adequate electricity generation and supply in Nigeria. How can this be mitigated?
  2. How can the political will in Nigeria be activated
In response to the questions, it was stated that more Engineers need to participate in politics. Also, there is need for soul searching and conscience rebirth in Nigeria. In addition, the private sector has very important roles to play. There is need for business re-engineering and investment on solar and renewable energy systems with increased research on renewable energy.
Presentation III:
A technical presentation by Engr Tunde Salihu the PES Africa Chair on “Battery Selection in an Off-Grid Condition”. The topics addressed include: difference between grid and off-grid systems; different types of batteries; Future of batteries; and depths to designing systems. Future will see the emergence of sulphor flow batteries for affordable long-term grid storage. The future battery will be air breathable and made of low-cost materials. The presentation prompted the following questions:
  1. Are true sine-wave inverters compulsory?
  2. Does rainy season affect battery life and/or performance?
In response to the questions, it was stated the discharge rate of batteries is so vital that it has to be taken into consideration. Also, there are depths to designing systems: capacity and wattage of appliances have to be considered. Lastly, research on ways to make low-cost and efficient batteries should be sustained, in addition to the provision of physical infrastructure.

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