After seeing her first anaerobic digester in operation during her time at City, Morenike Idewu (MSc, Energy, Environmental Technology and Economics 2013) has been considering the ways in which energy can be used more efficiently, particularly in her home country Nigeria. She has since created her own energy blog thefutureisolive.com. We caught up with Morenike to find out why olive is the new black.
Can you tell me about your time at City?
I had an interesting time at City University London. I’m a frequent traveller to the UK so coming to the UK wasn’t new, but studying with lots of students from different countries was. My course mates were from all over the world: Bangladesh, China, Morocco, United States, Iran, Egypt, Brazil, Greece, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Portugal. The cultural exchange both in and outside the classroom was a unique experience for me.
I studied MSc in Energy, Environmental Technology and Economics at the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. The course covered a variety of topics in the Energy sector including policy, technologies, energy markets, energy purchasing and the transport industry among others. 80 per cent of our modules were taught by industry experts who came in to share knowledge with us directly from real life commercial and industrial experience; all this made the course unique both in delivery and organisation.
What happened after you graduated?
After I completed my course in 2013, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get UK work experience, so after my graduation in 2014 I returned to my home country Nigeria.
How did your idea come about?
During my time at City there were three things in particular that stood out to me. They were the presentation on Risk Management Principles during the course Energy Markets from the Purchasers perspective, an excursion trip to see the Anaerobic Digester at Harper Adam University in Shropshire and the presentation on Combined Heat Power by Paul Gardiner of British Sugar. The visit to Harper Adams University was the first time I had seen an anaerobic digester in operation – the plant supplied the power needs of the University and enabled them reduce their carbon footprint. British Sugar on the other hand have a Combined Heat and Power plant (gas and steam turbine) at their bio-refinery in Wissington; the interesting thing about the plant, apart from improving energy efficiency, is that the CO2 exhaust is channelled to nearby Cornerways greenhouse where tomatoes are grown.
It got me thinking about the many ways energy sources and their technologies can be used in various industries, whilst at the same time considering ways to reduce emissions sustainably and economically. So in 2015, I decided to put my writing skills and my interest in the energy sector to good use by starting my own energy blog; there I write about energy issues and report on events and news in the energy sector and how they primarily affect my home country Nigeria and Africa in general.
My objective is to educate, inform and possibly demystify energy topics and issues. My site’s name is thefutureisolive.com. I chose the domain name based on the colours used to represent the main sources of energy. In my opinion the future of energy is a blended energy mix of both fossil-based (black fuels) and renewable energies (green fuels); the composition of the energy mix for any organization, home or country will depend on what’s accessible and what’s affordable.
I have also had the privilege to attend a number of seminars, conferences and workshops in the last year as a media representative.
What has been the biggest challenge with regards to your idea?
This is still very much the early days so I expect more challenges as I expand and add other services, however I would say that the biggest challenge has been the multitasking that administrating your own site entails. My work is not limited to just content writing; I am also editing, networking, advertising, handling correspondence and graphics, researching and being a journalist, as well as learning a good deal of web development to run the site. It’s like doing 10 different jobs at the same time and being the non-techie person that I was, learning a bit about web development was a challenge. The good thing is that there is a lot of online help for newbies.
What has been the most rewarding experience?
I would say feedback from those who contact thefutureisolive.com about topics and the companies I have profiled on the site.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say go for it! Even if you are afraid. Look for others with the same interests, study how they did it and reach out for help when you need it.
Finally, it’s the quick fire question round!
Favourite place in London: Bar Salsa on Tottenham court Rd
Favourite holiday destination: Spain
Must-check every day website: Bellanaija.com
Dream travel destination: Sweden or Manila (Philippines)
Cheese or chocolate: Definitely Cheese