Mzuzu University professor appeals for renewable energy laboratory

Mzuzu University (Mzuni) academician says the institution needs to construct a Renewable Energy  Laboratory to enhance hands on experience for students pursuing renewable energy studies in the Faculty of Environmental Sciences.

Professor Joseph Uta made the sentiments Wednesday in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of outstanding Renewable Energy students award ceremony for the 2012/13 academic year.

Professor Utah explained that the university has capacity to train expertise that would develop the country’s energy  sector and offer energy solutions through research but is being held back by the absence of a purpose built fully equipped laboratory at the institution.

He said the construction of laboratory which would host mechanical and electrical machines would assist the students to attain more hands on experience.

Professor Joseph Uta

He, therefore, appealed to well wishers to assist the university to bring to fruition this ambitious project.

On his part, Dean of Environmental Sciences Maxon Chitawo said the purpose built laboratory will enable his department to research on technologies used in renewable energy  generation equipment and boost innovation.

“In recent years there has been a lot of importation of equipment used for renewable energy  production, which in some aspects is substandard.

“If we would have a purpose built well equipped laboratory, it would enable us test and make improvement on such equipment by adding a local content to it before it goes on local market,” he said.

The awards were presented by Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).

MERA Acting Chief Executive Eunice Potani said MERA would continue sponsoring awards presented to best students pursuing Renewable Energy  studies at the university.

“I am pleased to announce that MERA Board at its meeting held on 25th October 2013 resolved to continue to recognize and reward outstanding performance in Renewable Energy  studies at Mzuzu University for the next four years as a way of motivating and encouraging students to work hard in energy studies,” she said. A third year student pursuing Bachelor of Science Renewable Energy Technologies, Joyce Nyuma Chivunga, emerged as overall best student and was awarded K200, 000.

She attributed her success to hard work and dedication to studies.

In her acceptance speech, she appealed to prospective employers for vocational employments saying they face a lot of challenges when job hunting.

“When we apply for a job, the requirement is to have some job experience. The other challenge is the mindset that a lot of people including some stakeholders have when they hear of renewable energy. Mostly, it is associated with solar panel,” she explained.

She said the course offered at the university delves into all forms of renewable energy  technologies including wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal and biomass.

“The course is electro-mechanical in the sense that the electrics and mechanics of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and consumption are all taught,” she said.–Mana

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