EBRI student wins award for work to boost renewable energy in Africa

  • Aston University student wins national award for his renewable energy start-up. 
  • Work helps develop sustainable energy systems to support a low emission future.
  • The start-up is also among the finalists for a global agri-tech award.

An Aston University postgraduate researcher has won a national award for his work to increase the use of renewable energy in Nigeria.

Prince Anthony Okoro is in the first year of his PhD in bioenergy in the University’s Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)

He won the Future Game Changers Award at the 2022 British Renewable Energy Awards (REA) which celebrates the work of organisations and individuals who are contributing to the push for net zero by 2050.

The audience of around 300 guests voted on the winner after seeing videos of all the finalists played twice during the evening. As well as the accolade Prince took home £2,000 in prize money.

With support from Aston University, Prince has founded a start-up called Bebeque Energy which helps develop and set up sustainable energy systems to support Africa’s transition to an affordable, reliable and low emission future.

Projects supported by his start-up include exploring the potential for using rubbish and agricultural waste to create off-grid energy, and examining the potential of chemical production using waste tyres.

This year, for the first time in the REA’s 18 year history the event took place outside of London and was held in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens.

Prince said: “I’m so happy to win this prize and gain such high praise for my work.

“I’ve had great support from my PhD supervisors at Aston University Dr Katie Chong and Dr Mirjam Roeder. It is wonderful to have my research vision and industry impact recognised.

“This award reflects on the links to industry that  my supervisors and I have developed and how my visions and plans have been brought together in an impactful way.”

The award category was sponsored by global investment company Nuveen. Peter Dickson from Glennmont Partners from Nuveen said: “Congratulations to Prince on winning this prestigious title, Nuveen has been delighted to support this category.

“We believe that by investing we can make an enduring impact on our world. This award is an example of how overseas development assistance funding enables impact; it supports capacity building, knowledge transfer, academia-industry collaboration and policy impact.”

Prince’s start-up is currently among the finalists of the global Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech Competition, 2022. This competition highlights innovative solutions to increase economic value to farmers, from seed to sale.

His PhD is supported by the government’s Commonwealth Scholarship Commission scheme for least developed countries.

Photo caption Left to right: Peter Dickson from Glennmont Partners from Nuveen and Prince Anthony Okoro

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