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Research Symposium


Researcher: Dr. Omoniyi Pereao

Main Topic: Improved nanofiber material for the recovery of metals ions from spent lithium-ion batteries 

The development of different electronic devices is growing rapidly and produces enormous amounts of spent Li-ion batteries, and more studies are required to be performed to seek cheap, efficient, safe, and eco-friendly ways for the recovery of metals. Various metal recovery methods have been studied but adsorption remains the most economical and widely used process for recovery of metal ions from aqueous solution. This study involves using surface-modified nanofibers for adsorption for complete metal removal. The recovery of valuable metals such as Li, Co, and Ni from typically spent Li-ion batteries waste is explored. The significance of this research study is the recovery of value from waste batteries and the development of improved materials that will complex specific metal ion targets, and ensure high rates of retention and rapid kinetics. Recovery of the metal value in spent Li-ion batteries represents an important secondary source for metals with a higher grade than those found in natural minerals and ores. The potential risk of the nanofibers to the environment was evaluated using toxicity bioassays. A battery tests using a primary producer - Raphidocelis subcapitata, a consumer -Daphnia manga, and a decomposer -Tetrahymena thermophile were conducted.


Researcher: Hasan Siddiqui

Main topic: Dry season Irrigation Detection in Sub-Saharan Africa Irrigation Detection in Sub-Saharan Africa

Detecting dry season irrigation is crucial to understanding patterns in agriculture load and providing energy for productive use. Our work is an extension of the irrigation detection methodology developed for Ethiopia and is applied to different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The methodology leverages multiscale satellite imagery of vegetation abundance, introducing a process to supplement limited ground-collected labels and ensure classifier applicability in an area of interest.


Researcher: Yuezi Wu

Main topic: Designing Progressive Mini-Grids with Productive Use of Energy in Uganda

Mini-grids play a pivotal role in electrification, serving as a decentralized energy solution that is especially crucial for remote and sparsely populated regions in Africa. Yet, accurately gauging customer demand and their growth has proven challenging. From our observation of 25 mini-grid generation systems, we discerned a common trend: the majority are oversized based on the current demand, leading to a low solar/battery utilization rate. Our research compares two design strategies: building a mini-grid to meet a projected ten-year demand versus adopting a two-year progressive upgrading approach. We delve into financial metrics, such as the initial investment and IRR, to elucidate the potential benefits of progressive design. Moreover, the productive use of energy is a pivotal factor influencing mini-grid financial sustainability. This element forms a significant part of our investigation. This research uses an optimization model to design the mini-grid to get the least cost system. We will also assess system uptime, gauge the flexibility of Productive Use of Energy, and understand the role of diesel generators in the system.


Researcher: Joel Mugyenyi

Main topic: Electricity Consumption: The role of grid reliability in appliance ownership in Rwanda

My research is centered on investigating the multifaceted challenges hindering the accessibility of affordable and reliable electricity in the developing world, with a primary focus on the East African region. Over the years, one of the most significant obstacles in the East African electricity sector has been the widespread lack of access to the grid. However, noteworthy progress has been achieved over the past two decades in connecting both urban and rural populations to the grid. Nevertheless, this newfound access brings forth a unique set of challenges, including insufficient electricity supply, prohibitive grid tariffs, exorbitant connection costs, limited access to electrical appliances, and a constrained capacity to harness grid connections for productive energy utilization. My research is dedicated to comprehending these challenges and devising potential solutions and policy recommendations to alleviate them, ultimately enabling communities to derive tangible benefits from electricity connections.

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