Africa: Tanzania Shortlisted for 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation | So Good News


Selected entrepreneurs will compete for the £25,000 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

WAGA Power Pack: Tanzanian Innovation has made it to the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2023 Africa Engineering Innovation Award shortlist.

Tanzanian engineer Gibson Kawago is recycling laptop batteries to provide electric bikes, power banks, solar lights, reliable and affordable power for businesses and homes. Its novelty is the WAGA Power Pack.

The innovation is a response to Tanzania’s unreliable electricity supply and its impact on the economy, security and health.

  • Fifteen talented entrepreneurs selected from Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
  • The shortlisted entrepreneurs offer innovative engineering solutions critical to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – addressing water, health, agriculture, education, food security, waste and energy.
  • Innovations include a remote health monitoring system that improves rural healthcare, a low-energy pollution cooking stove and affordable electric mobility solutions.

A Tanzanian engineer builds his WAGA power pack with recycled batteries purchased from informal scavengers, including women and youth, in five regions of Tanzania. Old batteries are charged and then tested after two to four weeks to see if they can hold a charge to the manufacturer’s standard. If the battery voltage drops or corrodes, it is sent for electrochemical recycling.

Once assembled, the WAGA Power Pack is a pack of 12, 24 and 48 volt lithium-ion batteries suitable for a variety of applications such as powering lights, appliances and heaters. A Tanzanian engineer then fuses the battery cells together with nickel strips and connects them to a battery management system with sensors to monitor performance and detect changes in temperature, current and voltage.

The recycled battery pack is housed in an aluminum case with ports that can be connected to inverters, solar lamps and other chargers. The WAGA Power Pack Pro can be recharged for up to three hours and has a display that tells you when to charge the pack.

Kawagoe, a Tanzanian engineer, is currently procuring commercial battery management systems connected to a mobile app that allows users to monitor battery performance from their mobile devices. In the future, it aims to produce its own system and undertake production of its own lithium-ion batteries, which will allow for the creation of battery packs of various sizes.

“WAGA Power Packs power homes, emit zero carbon into the environment and allow businesses to continue operating after the sun goes down. Depending on the size of the battery and its purpose, it can provide anywhere from 13 hours to a month of electricity. trying to change the lives of people in rural areas,” explains Tanzanian engineer Kawago.

Winners of the 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

This year’s UK Royal Academy of Engineering shortlist consists of 15 African entrepreneurs and their cutting-edge technologies focused on environmental restoration, education and human health and safety.

The shortlist for the 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation features ten African countries, including first timers Angola and Sierra Leone, and highlights the importance of engineering in improving quality of life and enabling sustainable economic development.

The UK Royal Academy of Engineering’s shortlist of innovations addresses the key challenges of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, good health and well-being, clean energy, good health and well-being and quality education.

The Africa Prize Engineering Innovation shortlist features several water innovations, including a real-time water quality monitoring and control system, an acid mine drainage solution to recycle contaminated water for human consumption, and a portable facility that uses fish waste to boost vegetable production. , and a water management system to pump excess wells and prevent aquifers from drying up.

Energy and environmental solutions also include a power pack with recycled laptop batteries to address unreliable power supply, battery-powered convertible motorcycles, an electric cargo bike with a battery-powered refrigerator to reduce post-harvest loss, a system to help prepare waste for recycling, a mobile machine that makes compacted earth bricks and an eco-friendly furnace that absorbs carbon black.

In addition, several shortlisted entrepreneurs have pioneered health, safety and education solutions, including a portable hysteroscopy device for simple uterine examination, a remote healthcare monitoring system that records and transmits patient data, and a multi-strain probiotic to improve gut health. chickens, a local rescue network that connects neighbors with the police, and a robotics learning tool for kids.

Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Launched in 2014, the UK Royal Academy of Engineering African Engineering Innovation Awards are presented annually by the Royal Academy of Engineering to ambitious African innovators who are creating local and large-scale solutions to African and international challenges.

Africa Prize Engineering Innovation shortlists will benefit from a unique support package that includes business incubation, mentoring, fundraising and communications. The package also includes access to the Academy’s global network of high-profile and highly experienced engineers and business experts in the UK and Africa.

Four finalists will be selected to present their innovations and business plans to Africa Prize judges at an event on July 6, 2023 in Accra, Ghana. The winner will receive £25,000, while the three runners-up will each win £10,000. The most promising entrepreneur on the remaining shortlist will be awarded an additional one-time prize of £5,000.

This year’s Africa Prize Engineering Innovation shortlist joins the Academy’s network of 134 Africa Prize alumni, which includes 2022 winner Nora Magero and innovators who have achieved significant commercial success and social impact across the continent after participating in her portable prize. a solar-powered refrigeration solution for drug transport.

Africa Award graduates are expected to impact more than three million people over the next five years and have already created 3,585 jobs, including 1,766 for women and 211 for people with disabilities, and raised more than $14 million in grants and equity. Funding that directly contributes to 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is Africa’s largest prize to help develop African innovators and maximize their impact.

It supports the commercialization of ambitious African innovators developing large-scale engineering solutions to solve local problems, highlighting the importance of engineering in improving quality of life and economic development.

The eight-month period of dedicated training and mentoring will culminate in a showcase event where the winner will be awarded £25,000 and three runners-up will be selected for £10,000 each. One shortlisted innovator will receive a £5,000 award as a ‘People to Watch’.

To support innovations such as the Tanzania Engineer WAGA Power Pack, the Africa Award is generously supported by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund.

Shortlisted innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • An affordable AMD solutionBoitumelo Nkatlo, South Africa – Acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment technology using industrial waste to recycle contaminated water for human consumption.
  • AquasetObed Zar, Ghana – A smart water management system that monitors water levels in wells and water tanks, regulates the rate of water injection and prevents pump failures and water wastage.
  • AerobotCristovao Cacombe, Angola – A robotics learning tool for children that must be assembled and programmed to perform specific tasks.
  • Digital AquaponicsFlavien Quatcha Simo, Cameroon is a portable fish farm that uses fish waste as fertilizer to produce organic vegetables, allowing small farmers to increase production.
  • Electric mobilityChukwuemeka Eze, Nigeria – An e-mobility service that converts gas-powered tricycles to battery-powered ones, saving up to 60% on operating costs.
  • FlexiGyn, Edmund Wessels, South Africa – A portable device that allows gynecologists to diagnose and treat uterine health problems without anesthesia.
  • MEDBOXEmmanuel Ofori Devi, Ghana – A healthcare monitoring system that records a patient’s vital signs, sends them to doctors, and then provides remote medical advice.
  • Multipurpose earth brick machineFikru Gebre Dikumbab, Ethiopia is a hand-operated portable machine for making compacted earth bricks that are compacted together using 90%-95% soil and 5%-10% cement.
  • ProbiGalDr. Deon Neveling, South Africa – A host-specific multi-strain probiotic to improve gut health and prevent bacterial infections in chickens while reducing the need for antibiotics.
  • Smart green stoveMargaret Yainkain Mansaray, Sierra Leone – An efficient non-electric cooking device that cuts energy use by 70%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and health risks.
  • Smart water technologyAllen Chafa, Zimbabwe – A real-time water quality monitoring and control system to address waterborne diseases.
  • ThinkBikes CoolMAXTolulopa Olukokun, Nigeria – An electric cargo bike with a battery-powered refrigerator to help smallholder farmers in Nigeria get fresh food to market.
  • WAGA power packGibson Kawago, Tanzania – A power pack made from recycled laptop batteries to provide reliable and affordable power for electric bikes, power banks, solar lights, businesses and homes.
  • A tool that turns waste into wealthCletus Ekpoh, Nigeria – A four-part recycling system that helps informal waste pickers.
  • YUNGAAnatoli Kirigwajo, Uganda – A digital local network connected by a physical device using the Internet of Things to provide low-cost security in under-resourced areas.