Researchers have been urged to incorporate more green practices during power generation to minimize carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
Addressing participants during the 2020 International Conference on Sustainable Research and Innovation (SRI), organized by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture, and held virtually, October 6 – 7, 2020, the Chief Technical Officer at Gulf Energy Ltd, Mr. Benson Njiru, who was the Chief Guest, emphasized that such a forum was important as the presentations epitomized research and enabled society to benefit.
Mr. Njiru, a Chemical Engineer and JKUAT alumnus raised concerns on climate change which were also echoed by Prof. Tomonori Sato of Hokkaido University, who in his key note address, highlighted how issues such as disaster prevention (e.g. floods) and energy control are necessary in mitigating climate change, a tone shared by most of the presentations. “Frequent interactions through forums like these strengthen relationships and the linkages established enhance operations in both the industry and academic institutions,” he said.
The Chief Guest also hailed the conference noting that such forums lead to better innovations and technology. He called upon relevant stakeholders to ensure score cards are used to check the impact of SRI in job creation.
Other presentations discussed how shipping contributes to global emissions (MTCC Africa), the need for geoscientists to study tectonic movements in the Rift Valley to prevent disasters such as floods (Prof. Rop, JKUAT), and the adoption of Nano technology to provide sustainable solutions (Dr. Kiplagat of the Institute of Energy Studies and Research).
In her opening address, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration, Prof. Bernard Ikua, commended the Departments, Schools and the College of Engineering Technology for their sustained determination and persistence in organizing the annual conference.
The Vice Chancellor appreciated the sponsors of the conference namely; the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the National Research Fund (NRF), for making the conference a reality. “The gesture by our partners is certainly a vote of confidence in the work we continue to do for the good of our society and country at large. We are truly grateful, ” she observed.
Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, lauded the secretariat and participants for a job well done. She recognized the high turnout enabled by the virtual platform, and expressed hope that future forums would consider hybrid modes of hosting conferences to cater for those who cannot attend physically. She urged innovators to commercialize research and innovation projects in order to contribute to economic development.
The two day conference whose theme was: “Linking Industry with Academia through Engineering Research and Innovation,” featured technical presentations from researchers and industry professionals with the aim of increasing uptake of research and innovation to steer development.
The second keynote presentation by Eng. Erastus Mwongera, Chairman Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK), emphasized the need for engineers to market their skills as pillars of all other professions and appreciated all engineers for their hardwork in both academia and the industry. He applauded JKUAT whose accreditation for engineering courses is up to date including new programmes such as Mining and Marine.
Conference presentations were categorized into four subthemes: Mechanical & Manufacturing Systems & Energy Technologies, Infrastructure Development & Environment Management, Biosystems & Process Engineering, Power Transmission Electronics & Telecommunication, as well as Automation & Intelligent Machines.
Some of the topics focused on reducing environmental and water pollution by carbons through technologies such as the use of agro waste from rice husks to counter colored spills from tea factories which cause aquatic death (Raphael Kung’u), and the use of microalgae to remove heavy metals from water (Boniface Mukabane).
Participants were drawn from MTCC Africa, Africa-ai-Japan Project, foreign as well as six local universities namely; Kirinyaga, Moi, Kenyatta, Technical University of Kenya, Masinde Muliro, Kabianga and PAUISTI.