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The Italy-based World Academy of Science, TWAS, and the Kenya-based African Academy of Science have given the Federal University Dutse,FUD, over N200 million research grant to carry out research on hydrogen (solar fuel) through splitting of water as an alternative to fossil fuel (petroleum) in Nigeria.

The World Academy of Science gave the university $59,930 (N42,849,950 million) while the African Academy of Science gave the university €220,801(N157,872,715 million).
The total amount is N200,722,66 million

Commenting on the grant, the lead researcher Dr. Hafeez Hafeez of the Physics Department, Federal University Dutse said the research proposal that won the TWAS award is titled “Development of Efficient and Robust Graphene Based Photocatalysis for the Production of Solar Fuel (hydrogen via Photocatalic Water splitting), while the title of the proposal that won the AAS award is “Development of Efficient and Robust Mxene Based Photocatalysis for the Production of Solar Fuel (hydrogen) via photocatalic water splitting”.

Mr Hafeez said four MSc students would be trained under the TWAS research grant, while six MSc students and two Ph.D students would be trained under the AAS grant.

He said he was motivated to carry out the research into this new area because of Nigeria’s over dependence on fossil fuel (petroleum) even though there is abundance of solar energy and water in the country.

He added the research was an extension of his Ph.D work in India, which the Indian government were now exploring at a commercial level.

The lead researcher said the world is now moving towards hydrogen energy due to its high combustion, zero emissions and it has the highest energy content (~150 kJ/Kg) compared to others such as petroleum, diesel etc adding that it is the cheapest source of energy because it requires only water, solar light and suitable photocatalyst.

He said Nigeria would be the first country in Africa to explore hydrogen energy as alternative source of energy and FUD would be the pioneer Centre of Hydrogen Energy in Sub-saharan Africa and Africa at large

Mr Hafeez said G-7 countries were leading in hydrogen energy, especially USA, Japan, Germany, Canada, UK adding that USA, Japan and France, who have launched hydrogen trains and cars recently, with Germany and Canada generating their electricity via hydrogen energy.

According to him the TWAS research was for a two years period, while that of AAS was for a period of four years adding that part of the grant was to establish a research lab at FUD which they were working on.

Other members of the team are Dr. Jibrin Mohammad, Prof. Abdussalam Suleiman and Prof. Chifu Ndikilar.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof.Abdulkareem Mohammad congratulated Mr Hafeez and his team for their pioneering research on hydrogen energy in the country, adding that the FUD was proud of them.

The VC said the university was ready to support its staff at all time to engage in research that would benefit the host community and the country at large.