The Centre for Energy Research and Development is established as a Centre of Excellence located within the serene and beautiful campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. It was established to be a research and development centre principally in areas of nuclear science and technology for peaceful applications, and other forms of energy.
Nuclear, Atomic and Computer-Based Analytical Tools for Research and Development: Associated Publications and Patency at the CERD
Activities at the CERD span teaching, research, and community service as related to the fields of nuclear physics, materials science, health physics, geophysics; modeling of energy use and its management as well as science and policy analysis using various modeling tools; environmental analysis such as elemental analysis of materials, environmental and medical samples and air pollution using various nuclear analytical tools such as 1.7 MV Tandem Accelerator, X-Ray Fluorescence, Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; conduct of anaerobic assays, dry matter and ash determination, volatile fatty acids sample preparations and determination and alcohols (methanol and ethanol) determination using Gas Chromatography.
The functional nuclear and atomic analytical tools for research at the CERD include 1.7 MV Tandem Accelerator, Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS), X-Ray Fluorescence, Thermal Analyzer, Computerised Universal Testing Machine (Instron Series), and Infra & Ultra Violet (UV) Visible Spectrometer. These sets of equipment have been used for academic and non-academic researches. The PG 990 AAS, installed for use in 2010, has successfully been used to analyse samples for the development of several project reports and theses of over 1,000 students at first-degree level, 600 postgraduate students at both Masters’ and Ph.D. levels covering various departments within and outside the university. In addition, the equipment has also served to analyze samples for other non-academic uses.
The portable XRF system, obtained in 1992 under IAEA international cooperation, has been instrumental in the training of 142 first degree, 82 Master’s degree, and 34 doctoral degree graduates, and numerous analyses conducted for many private and public firms. Estimated publications from the equipment are over 100.
The Computerized Universal Testing Machine (Instron-Series 3369) was commissioned in 2005 and has the capability of conducting six basic mechanical tests, namely, tension, compression, and flexural as well as tension relaxation, compression relaxation, and flexural relaxation. The equipment has served to train several students at graduate and postgraduate degree levels as well as non-academic services to individuals and corporate entities in steel characterization for structural purposes.
Stellar Net Fibre Optic Spectrophotometer is the main equipment for the UV-Visible analysis of liquid and thin-film materials. This spectrum analyzer was commissioned in 2012 and is utilized for online monitoring of species in the process stream and measurement of the rate of chemical reactions. Over 100 students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels have successfully used this equipment for their projects/theses. Also, individuals and industry representatives have benefitted from the availability of this spectrum analyzer at the Centre.
Thermal Analyzer NETZSCH DTA 404 PC was commissioned in 2006 for the thermal analysis of solid materials. It is equipped to do both differential thermal analysis (DTA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) at a controlled temperature between the room temperature and 1550 °C. It can show the phase transition temperatures, enthalpies, crystallization, and decomposition behaviours in samples. Since its inception, it has served many students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. There had also been several users from industries and other research institutes in the country.
The CERD ion beam analysis (IBA) NEC 5SDH 1.7 MV Tandem Pelletron accelerator, manufactured by National Electrostatics Corporation (NEC), Middleton, WI, USA was commissioned on the 28th of September, 2008. The facility, equipped with an RF charge exchange ion source at installation, provides proton and helium ions with a multipurpose end-station for particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) analysis, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA), and particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE). In 2014, the equipment was upgraded with an additional beamline equipped with NEC RC 43 end-station. With a client base spread over 31 universities/institutions in 18 states across Nigeria, the IBA facility has provided services to researchers and students in academia. A good number of these are for post-graduate (Masters, Ph.Ds., and Fellowship of West Africa College of Surgeons [FWACS]) projects/theses. Several thin film analyses have been carried out using the RBS end station. Numerous journal articles on chemical characterization and subsequent source apportionment of particulate pollution in Nigeria have been carried out using the facility’s PIXE technique. The facility has been used to analyze more than 1,168 samples for 64 students and lecturers within the Obafemi Awolowo University and many journal publications have been produced by CERD staff, who have used the facility to produce more than 12 M.Sc. and 7 Ph.Ds. in various Departments in the University. The facility has contributed significantly to the development of the nation’s scientific human resources, being part of the research value chain that ultimately contributes to national capacity development and productivity. It has also contributed to bridging part of existing gaps between academia and industry by fostering a nexus of mutual research and developmental benefits.
Aside from these nuclear and atomic analytical tools, the CERD staff also use other computer-based tools to conduct research, particularly in the areas of energy modeling and policy analysis. These include System Dynamics software such as Vensim® for conducting complex studies for policy design and analysis. These have contributed to national policy discourse such as in the First National Communication to the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The staff of CERD and others have published articles from results obtained from research using the various nuclear, atomic, and computer-based analytical tools available at the CERD. The publications are in form of books, chapter contributions to books, and journal articles. Also, the Centre has obtained two patents from its staff in the area of materials development. In addition, the staff of CERD have been involved in developing various national policy manuals on various aspects of the national energy space for different Ministries, Departments, and Agencies at the Federal level, as well as with State governments in the country.
Written by: Abiodun S. Momodu, Ph.D., a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Division, Energy Management and Technology.
Edited by: David A. Pelemo, Ph.D., Research Professor and former Director, CERD and J-F. K. Akinbami, Ph.D., Research Professor Director, CERD.