Chinese, Nigerian in UK Varsity, Win 2019 NLNG Science Prize

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Peter Uzoho

Two lecturers in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, Prof. Meihong Wang (Chinese), and Dr. Mathew Aneke (Nigerian), have emerged joint winners of the 2019 edition of the Nigeria Prize for Science, which is sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited.

The advisory board of the Nigeria Prize for Science at a press conference yesterday announced Wang and Aneke as joint winners of the competition based on their works on ‘Carbon Capture, Carbon Utilisation, Biomass Gasification, and Energy Storage for Power Generation’.

The Nigeria Prize for Science goes with a cash prize of $100, 000.

In its 15 years history, this is the first time a non-Nigerian would be awarded the prize. The 2019 edition also marked the third joint winners’ award since inception in 2004.

Speaking at the event, the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development of NLNG, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, commended the panel of judges “who have proven their expertise on the issue of climate change, and the advisory board members, who bring credibility to the process by ensuring excellent results.”

Fatayi-Williams, who was represented at the event by the company’s Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Sophia Horsfall, added that NLNG was confident that an objective and qualitative decision was made on this year’s edition of the prize.

She stated that the announcement was memorable for NLNG as the prize marks 15 years, which coincides with the company’s 20 years of successful operation and 30 years of incorporation.

Horsfall explained that the prize was inspired by the NLNG’s vision of helping to build a better Nigeria through deliberate support for scientific research and celebration of excellent works.

The Chairman of the Advisory Board for Science Prize, and an NLNG Science Prize Laureate, Prof. Akpoveta Susu, who announced the winners, said their works addressed core environmental issues notably deforestation, carbon production, associated climate change and the resultant effects such as erosion, drought and desertification.

He added that their joint works “demonstrated innovative and holistic strategy to tackle climate change impacts, and therefore merits the Nigeria Prize for Science Award 2019.”

According to him, this year’s award has highlighted the international nature of the award which involved a joint research between a Nigerian and a non-Nigerian, both collaborating on works which precipitate great potential for solutions to the global issue of climate change.

Susu said: “Our hope is that the award of this prize would in its own little way provide a spark that would reinvigorate the passion of our budding scientists in finding solutions to our everyday issues.

“We therefore congratulate Prof. Wang and Dr. Aneke for a job well done. They have been consistent in their research efforts geared towards the development of environment-friendly and alternative power supply technologies. We also commend the panel of judges for the diligence, which was apparent in the delivery of this assignment.

“We are particularly pleased that in evaluating the entries, they upheld the objectives of the Prize, which seeks to identify and promote excellence in utilising scientific knowledge for the achievement of desired solutions.”

He, however, announced that the theme for the 2020 edition of the Prize is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Food Security’.

On his own, Wang, a Professor of Energy Systems and a Chartered Engineer, has published over 100 technical papers and industrial reports, while Aneke, a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow with expertise in process design and modeling, power systems analysis, power generation, renewable energy and environmental protection.