Susty Person of The Week – Dr Omotayo Dairo
Dr. Dairo is an entrepreneur, inventor, administrator, business developer and medical Practitioner. With over 25 years Informal training and self-development in Renewable Energy Engineering, through reading, workshops, seminars and conferences. Dr Dairo obtained his Bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Ibadan in 1978.
As founder of Quintas Renewable Energy Solutions Ltd, (Off-grid clean energy providers), he oversees the provision of affordable clean energy generation technologies for rural and Semi-urban dwellers in Nigeria and guides designs and production of Renewable Energy driven products, to meet the vision of Quintas and commercialise same for economic sustainability. Quintas has been involved in design and manufacture of simple agro-processing machinery and tools such as rocket stoves, gasifiers, screw press for vegetable oil extraction, solar and biomass dryers for farm-gate agro-industrial clusters, wheel and ram pumps for potable water supply and irrigation at village levels, Solid fuel Thermal Power Plants using steam turbines and combustion/Gasification technologies to generate dry steam for off-grid energy generation.
Dr Omotayo is sustainability goals personified – still hard to come to terms that he’s a trained medical practioner. Read up our interview with him below:
Being a trained physician, when and why did you decide to venture into the renewable energy business?
I decided to venture into the Renewable Energy Industry in 1986. The desktop computer was introduced to the world in 1986. One of my friends who was a lecturer in the United States of America acquired one. I observed that his computer had a power backup for a short while when electricity to the computer is disrupted. This power backup is aimed to prevent loss of unsaved data. I felt that if provision could be made to prevent loss of data, there should be power backup in theaters and other areas of medical emergencies in the third world to allow health personnel provide services during power outages to avoid loss of lives. In the course of my knowledge acquisition in the energy industry, I discovered that renewable energy platforms are most suitable for rural and semi urban locations.
What makes the Quintas biomass plant so excellent?
Renewable energy sources could be from Solar, Wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal sources. Biomass (plants and plant derivatives) is available everywhere, and even more in the rural areas. Biomass energy had been in use since man discovered fire. Earlier biomass energy extraction technologies were crude, inefficient and hazardous to health. At Quintas, we use gasification and efficient combustion technologies to extract heat from biomass. We deploy the heat energy for industrial processing or use efficient energy conversion techniques to convert the biomass energy to other forms of energy (mechanical, electrical steam) for the use of our clients. Our fuel source (biomass) in our energy generation process are obtained for next to nothing.
Your particular interest in Biomass is very interesting, what kind of training did you get to be successful in this business?
Renewable energy engineering is at its infancy the world all over. It is worse in Africa where the understanding of science is poor. To train as a physician in our time, you have to have a good grade in Physics at the Higher School Certificate level. Since engineering is applied physics, I did not have serious challenge in understanding of energy and energy conversion techniques. Most of my knowledge came from reading, experiments, attendance of seminars and workshops and taking part in energy challenge competitions. I did not have a formal training in engineering.
Your company was recognized by World Economic Forum as one of the thirty one technology pioneers in the world in 2011, How did this recognition come in such short time of operation?
The Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry has a technology incubation centre in Akure. I enrolled as an “incubatee” in 2008. This afforded me the opportunity to take part in a World Bank organised rural energy challenge competition. At the end of the exercise, the Climatology Department of the World Bank named me as one of the 10-inventors in the world, whose works could cause a reduction in Global Carbon emission. The World Economic Forum got this report of my works and requested that I present the work in their 2011 competition. I did and became one of the winners. I was invited to Davos, in Switzerland to be honoured during the 2012 World Economic Forum.
How much Energy can Biomass really provide us with in Nigeria?
Assuming an average heat energy of 12.5GJ from 1MT of solid biomass, Nigeria has the potential to generate about 6,909 x 106 GJ of heat energy from solid biomass. At an International heat energy price of $0.002/kweh, Nigeria could draw annual revenue of over $19bn per annum from forest and agro residue. This excludes derivable energy from municipal waste, industrial biomass wastes, biogas and landfill gas.
We’ll love to know your favorite SDGs !
Our area of business dwells most on SDG 7, which deals with availability and affordability of clean energy, but it encompasses goals 1,2,3, 8,9,11 and 13
The issue of climate smart agriculture is one that is critical – how is Quintas helping out?
Climate smart agriculture is predicated on Irrigation and food processing to reduce post-harvest wastage. Irrigation and agro-processing cannot be achieved without energy. Quintas manufactures Ram and wheel pumps, agro-processing and biomass electricity generation equipment, which are the bed roch of climate smart agriculture.
How true is the opinion that there’s a disconnect between town and gown especially as regards technology? If it is true, how can this gap be bridged?
There is a big disconnect between the town and rural communities in Nigeria. Government activities are still focused of urban areas of the country, as that is where the impact of government could be easily felt. This approach to governance come with the negative effect of rural-urban migration and food insecurity. To bridge this disconnect, Government should open the space of off grid electricity generation and industrialized agriculture to the private sector of the economy.
Is Biomass technology something young Nigerians can explore as a career?
This discipline can actively engage millions of adventurous upcoming entrepreneurs. The space is unexplored for now. Only very few academics in Nigeria know what gasification and other biomass energy extraction technologies.
If people have questions for you, how can they reach you?