Varsity innovators modify motorbikes from fuel to electric status


Researchers and innovators at Zetech University have come up with a technology meant to modify motorbikes to use electronic energy.

This comes as the Kenya Kwanza administration led by President William Ruto embarks on the initiative to introduce electric motorcycles for the boda boda sector in the country.

The institution’s researchers have also developed Tuk Tuks (rickshaws) that use similar technology in a move that aims to help operators cut down on the skyrocketing cost of fuel.

The initiative spearheaded by researchers Paul Waweru and Prof. Gitau Kamau, targets those in the transport business specifically boda boda riders and Tuk Tuk drivers and other people in the Jua Kali sector.

“We realized that boda boda operators have suffered a lot due to hiked fuel prices and incuring huge losses in repairing their motorcycles and especially replacing faulty engines.

We bore the idea of replacing the engines with electric ones which have less consumption and maintenance costs,” Prof Kamau said.

Prof. Kamau said they are collaborating with investors and banks to find ways of financing mass production of the electric motorcycles.

“We are in the process of expanding our production and commercialization of these bikes and are already engaging our financial partners for the same,” the researcher said.

He noted that the motorbikes that will cost between Sh 50,000 and Sh 100,000 will enhance operators’ earnings by scaling down the cost of fuel and maintenance.

The innovations were on display during the University’s 5th Research and Innovation Conference at its Ruiru main campus where other technological breakthroughs were also featured.

“We have also invented electric rickshaws that can be used even in hospitals to haul patients’ clothes among other uses.

These innovations will provide a solution to many players in the transport industry as they will significantly reduce their expenditures,” Waweru said.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof. Alice Njuguna said besides other innovations in ICT, the institution is finding ways of recycling e-waste and developing software to test soil temperature and other components.

“These innovations are in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

As a University we have a role and responsibility to contribute to the socio-economic development of the Nation,” the don said.

Prof. Njuguna noted that the University is keen on ICT training to enable students to be abreast with the rapidly changing technology world and to aid innovators and researchers to come up with new products.

“We are introducing our students to new technologies including Artificial Intelligence at all levels so that by the time they finish, they are able to use the internet and other related technologies to be able to come up with new products,” she said.

The don urged students to be innovative and tech-savvy and be part of solution providers to a myriad of challenges facing the country and the society.

She noted that the University is keen in providing linkages between academia and Industry to enable the students to commercialize their innovations and research findings.

“The University has strategic initiatives geared towards fostering research and innovations in the institution.

They include the annual Vice Chancellor’s Grant, Annual Research and Innovation Conference, an innovation hub and a fully funded Research Directorate to nurture research and innovation,” she noted.

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281