18 Nov 2012

UNILORIN - Entrepreneurship and Engineering

My name is Qazeem and I love technology. I finished from the department of electrical and electronics engineering at Univeristy of Ilorin in 2012. I'm very passionate about impacting the lives of people. I want to be a leader and achieve things  that will benefit society. This very passion helped earn an award as Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 from the junior chamber international (JCI Ilorin Chapter).

I drew inspiration from the award and decided to design and construct a 3KVA power inverter for my final year project. To me it was an opportunity to learn about inverters and possibly start a small business upon graduation selling and installing inverters. Given the fact that jobs are hard to find in Nigeria, having the option of self
employment gave me additional motivation. Other considerations that led to my project choice include the constant power outages and lack of development both in the public and private sector. Selling inverters to people that are in the dark more often than not should be profitable.

Technical details
A power inverter serves as a backup for continues supply of electricity when the commercial power supply PHCN fails. The main objective is to convert DC( direct current) voltage from the batter to AC (alternating current) voltage for domestic use. Inverters can be designed both for domestic as well as industrial use however the latter is quite expensive because it requires a pure sine wave. A typical power inverter is made up of charging, inverting, and automatic change over sections.

Qazeem working on his project

The charging section consists of a battery where charge is stored after being stepped down and rectified. The inverting section converts the stored DC charge in the battery to AC at a predetermined frequency, typically 50Hz. The changeover leverages a relay made up of a switch and an electromagnetic cir whose function is to establish connection between the load and either the mains or the battery

Project outcome
The main objective of the project was achieved in constructing a 3KVA inverter. Test results showed that no load output voltage fell within the range of 220V - 240V. Though there was a slight difference between system output when connected to a battery and PHCN power supply.

  • Future research work could be carried out to include a complementary source of energy, preferably renewable energy (to encourage the use of green technologies) source such as solar, wind and bio-fuels.
  • Power capacity of the inverter can be increased to allow for more load. This will require variation in the circuit design, in particular an increase in the number of MOSFETS, batteries, etc.
  • Loading limits need to be better monitored to prevent failures. Operation in a well ventilated environment also helps alleviate issue of overheating

  • Alternative power supply source is a necessity in a society where the Government can't meed the power demands
  • Inverters are a cleaner source of energy than diesel/petrol generators which pollute the air with carbon monoxide

I have presented here a summery of my final year project. One which makes a case for inverters as a viable source of energy, a cleaner source of energy and possibly a profitable source of energy as well given the frequent power outages we experience in the country. Stable electricity is key to improving the standard of living in the country and encouraging green energy makes us better citizens of the world.

[Editor's Note: Edits included section headings and some of the technical details Qazeem sent in were omitted to make the article easier to digest for non electrical engineering majors]

by Qazeem
2012 9JEducation.org work study

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