Energy and Environment

IFE contributes to advanced education in materials science in Nigeria

Collaboration between IFE and scientists in Nigeria and Italy was the background for the lectures on different aspects of materials modeling in February 2018.

Karazhanov, Smagul

Senior Scientist


During 5-16th February, 2018 the “Advanced School on Applications of First Principles and Molecular Simulations in Physical Sciences” was held in the Department of Physics, Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The activity was in the form of Training Programme and has been sponsored by Volkswagenstiftung, Germany and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Italy.

Sixty Master and PhD students, young and some experienced researchers from different institutions of Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, and South Africa have attended the school. They have been selected based on evaluation of applications.

The attendees were very active and very well motivated. Although the majority of attendees had background on experimental studies of dye-sensitized solar cells, perovskite solar cells, inorganic thin film solar cells, energy storage devices as well as on materials science, they were learning the theoretical method as one of the methods of study of materials properties. Modern computer technology allows to do it as many important theoretical developments on electronic properties of solids and charge transport by ions and electrons/holes, etc of previous years have nowadays been implemented as software. That means the users did not need to spend time for learning the complicated mathematical derivations.

Professor Peter Kratzer, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Dr. Max Bonomi,  University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, Miguel A. Soler, ICTP, Italy, Davide Ceresoli, ICTP, Italy, and senior scientist Smagul Karazhanov, IFE,  delivered lectures on different aspects of materials modeling.

Smagul Karazhanov i NigeriaAttendees of the school and lecturers

Electricity and infrastructure

Electricity in the lecture room was provided by thermoelectric generators. Hands on training sessions were organized in the afternoon time in computer class room. To avoid power shortage during the training session, seven solar panels and batteries were bought and together with the thermoelectric generator they supplied with electricity for the ventilators and all computers in the training room.

About 33% (~ 800 MW) of total electric power in Nigeria is generated by hydraulic turbines, the remaining 67% (~ 1732 MW) by thermoelectric generators. In the near future the electricity related issue is expected to be solved as last year the government of Nigeria has announced the award of a $5.8 billion contract to build 3.050,-MW hydroelectric power that will be implemented by a Chinese state-owned company.

Nigeria - Solcellemoduler

Nigeria - Batterier

Solar panels and batteries used for electricity supply in the training room.

In addition to electricity supply problems and slow internet connection, there was another challenge related to poor infrastructure. Access to supercomputer is crucial for running the first principles and molecular simulations. Access was provided to the collaborators from Nigeria to supercomputing facilities of ICTP, Italy and Estonian supercomputing center.

International collaboration

IFE have collaboration with a group of Professor A. Adebayo, Nigeria and D. Ceresoli, Italy on materials modeling for solar cell and battery applications. Smagul Karazhanov, senior scientist in the Solar Energy Department at IFE, was invited to give the lectures by Professor A. Adebayo. They also wrote a journal article together which was published in 2017.

2018-03-16 Text and photo: Smagul Karazhanov. Edited by Gro Hørthe