OAKLAND, California — QuadLoop, a Lagos based company, has turned electronic waste into solar lanterns. The supply of power in Nigeria is a large issue which is what drove founder Dozie Igweilo to come up with a solution. The name of the product is Idunnu, meaning joy in the Yoruba language. QuadLoop develops the lantern with 70% coming from e-waste materials that comprise the batteries and frame and the remaining 30% from imported components. The frame is made of glass from discarded television screens and computer monitors. The cost is about $50 and the target market is hospitals that are located in rural areas without access to a power grid or constant power.
Power in Nigeria
Power in Nigeria consists of oil, gas, solar and hydro sources with the potential to generate 12,522 MW of power. However, power plants are “only able to dispatch around 4,000 MW, which is insufficient for a country of over 195 million people,” according to USAID.
Consequently, Nigeria has one of the lowest net electricity generation per capita rates in the world. To reach universal electricity by 2030, 500,000 to 800,000 households need to be connected per year, mostly in Nigeria’s rural areas. The rural areas of Nigeria suffer the most from lack of power with an electrification rate of only 39%.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, there are 1.4 health care facilities per 10,000 people in Nigeria. The vast majority of these are primary healthcare facilities at 85.3%. An estimated 30%-40% of these primary health care facilities are functional and 40% don’t have access to electricity.
The majority of primary health care facilities in Nigeria are publicly owned, which means they have a limited budget for electricity and operational activities. As a result, patients’ payments often supplement these costs.
In 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria devised a plan to bring electricity to 304 health care facilities and schools across the country. This plan was part of Nigeria’s National Economic Sustainability Plan for post-COVID-19 recovery and although it is still a priority, there are challenges to deploying it, according to Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
According to USAID, the power sector in Nigeria experiences challenges regarding “electricity policy enforcement, regulatory uncertainty, gas supply, transmission system constraints and major power sector planning shortfalls that have kept the sector from reaching commercial viability.”
Recently SEforALL brought in a roadmap to provide the Government of Nigeria with data-driven recommendations for electrifying health facilities. SEforALL developed the project in coordination with Powering Healthcare Africa Project, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), USAID Nigeria Power Sector Program (NPSP) and USAID Integrated Health Program (IHP).
Though there are policies currently under development to electrify healthcare facilities throughout Nigeria, the barriers prevent immediate solutions. Furthermore, less than 20% of health care facilities in Nigeria use solar power, according to SEforALL.
Quadloop’s product is an immediate and sustainable solution to the power shortage. Not only does it help eliminate the patient’s supplemented cost of power, but it could increase the number of functioning primary health care facilities and bring care to many more people.
At the start of launching their product, the Quadloop team spoke to hospitals and maternity homes that lack the technological equipment, according to How We Made it in Africa. They also did roadshows to advertise their product. Now, they are able to sell larger quantities of the solar lantern through its website and online platforms like Jumia and Konga. Founder Dozie Igweilo says that a lot of people need solar lanterns, so there is a high market demand. Nevertheless, the company gives discounts to their customers who purchase high volumes of battery capacity to stay competitive.
Quadloop has plans to expand its client base to countries in Central Africa such as Rwanda and Botswana which have similar power issues as Nigeria, and according to Igweilo, the future is bright for utilizing waste for electronic production, How We Made it in Africa reports.
– Jordan Oh