Eng. Sultan Tekie, he got his name from a freedom fighter and his mom’s friend, Sultan Eyasu, who was martyred to free Eritrea. He even got the martyr’s nick name fafa, all the veteran friends call him by the nick name. Born at the historical fields of Tseabra in 1988, Sultan came to reside in Asmara after Eritrea’s independence. “Knowledge is power, anyone who doesn’t know any better than last year is not living to the fullest”, is one of the adages he follows and mentioned during his interview with us.
Sultan graduated with a BA Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the EIT College. he also took a course which the Department of Renewable Energy gave on implanting and monitoring solar energy power system.
Today, we present a brief chat we had with Eng. Sultan.
- -A Mechanical Engineer, why did you choose the field, Sultan?
It was when I was a sixth grader. My dad explained to me the difference between an engineer and a Geometra. Actually I was more interested in history. I love to read historical books about countries and individuals. But I wanted to be more concerned about what is present and future. That is why I became more interested in math and physics. I enjoyed both subjects very much which led me to engineering. There are many departments in engineering. That is when I had to put a lot of thought to what to choose. Besides my interest in the subject, engineering is one of the fields with great job opportunities in the world. It is a discipline which has many departments within- Machine Designing, Power Plant, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and renewable energy. Those fields are not similar in any ways and are important to today’s advanced world.
Engineering is designing. However, there is a big difference between designing something and maintaining something. So, basically the field, mechanical engineering deals more with the physical matter. By the way, many people think that the field is not suitable for girls. People think that it has to do with physical strength, but it does not. It’s more of a mental work. And to be honest, there aren’t many female mechanical engineers as desired.
- -You had presented an interesting research paper during your graduation?
We presented it as a group. It was about Solar Irrigation system. We raised an idea on how to help farmers in rural areas, away from electric power system. There is so much they have to pay as a cost to irrigate their fields, starting from the fuels needed to use to pump water to the farm. We worked on how to provide power using the solar energy, which can be a great help with less cost. The money saved can then be used increase productivity and provide fair priced products. It was a successful research paper.
- -Why focus on the solar power system?
Well, renewable energy comes in many forms. We have wind power which we can be generated from wind. However, geographical location is necessary to work with that. Also we have hydroelectric power energy system, but we would need big rivers that can generate that kind of power. Same goes for the other types, but we have sufficient amount of sun-light on hand and we thought that it is easier to harness.
I wanted to explore more about the renewable energy especially since it has to do with physics. I took a one- month course on solar energy at the department of Renewable Energy provided. I took the course and sat for the exam to have a certificate. That is when I became a teacher for the solar energy system at the Polytech Vocational School in 2014.
It is nice to see the youth to be interested in getting them selves in various vocational courses and becoming better citizens. I enjoy teaching at the school. To see the youth work hard to get educated and make something better of themselves is something to be proud of. The students are curious to know and get some experience on the solar energy system field. They are always ready to work on it. After watching the work get done they even tell me to just come back to supervise their work, and they do it very well. I believe that a person should be a step ahead of where he was last year. One should work to know more today than yesterday. “Knowledge is power”, is a true saying. To get a hold of the modern world, we should keep up with the developments. And that is what makes me like to teaching at the school, to produce great individuals.
I have also been in the Ministry of Agriculture since 2013. I am in a department where I handle everything that is related to energy starting from its designing to preparing the bill of quantity that is needed, evaluating and supervising the implementation.
- -Importance of introducing renewable energy?
The world has been heavily consuming the fossil energy for so many years. It is diminishing, and we can never replace it. Besides, its expensive cost and the air pollution it causes, have become an important matter in everyone’s daily life. However, renewable energy is free from any kind of pollution, is much cheaper and we don’t have to worry when it will be finished.
Right now, the sun can provide 3000 times more power than what the world needs. Nevertheless, we still don’t have advanced tools to change the light to power; that is the challenge. For instance, we are able to use only 14- 15% of the power from the energy the sun provides. But the hope is that we would get to turn more than 50% of the light to power in the future.
We can benefit in so many ways by using the renewable energy. Financial saving is one of the benefits we can gain among the many others. It prevents individuals from spending quite a lot of cost regarding the power service, while at the same time it helps the take off the load from the Government.
So I think it is very important to raise our society’s awareness about how important renewable energy is and how economical it is to use the right materials which can provide the needed energy by consuming less power. For example, many people buy an incandescent light bulb which is cheaper than the LED light bulbs. In reality, the LED bulb is cheaper as it uses less power than the incandescent one. So I think that I would be useful to let our people know the difference between the right materials and the renewable energy as well.
- -Thank you for your time, anything you want to add?
Thank you for having me. I just want to remind young Eritreans to be more interested in education, to work hard to make themselves better. Life is more interesting when you learn and compete with the rest of the world.