SBEC student builds solar-powered motor tricycle


One such person is 19-year old Omar AK Jallow of SBEC International High School, located in Salagi. Omar, who is an outgoing final year IGCSE ordinary level science student and wants to study mechanical engineering after graduation from high school, revealed to The Standard newspaper that he was inspired by the compelling need to save the world form further degeneration and overdependence on fossil fuels, which in a very degree contribute to climate change.

He said, “unless measures are taken to take advantage of renewable energy sources, the world will become more and more vulnerable to natural disasters like floods and tsunamis.’  So according to him once they were given the opportunity to choose a project for the IGCSE exams, he never hesitated to bring this dream into reality.

While he originated and designed the project, he acknowledged receiving technical advice from his teacher and Mr James George, a well-known electrical engineer. The solar-powered tricycle which carries a solar panel connected to two 12 volts motor cycle batteries has a potential maximum speed of 30km per hour. The solar panel which is structured overhead also serves as shelter for the rider form the heat of the sun. The project involved a redesigning of a bicycle into a tricycle with an ignition button attached to the handle bar, which only needs switching on for the machine to start and with a release of the breaks move into motion.


Quizzed as to the cost of the project, he said that the whole project which was financed by his mother cost about D17,000 as it was a requirement for his IGCSE design and technology exams. While agreeing that it was quite expensive, he posited that with further research the cost could be lessened.

Omar, who is normally shy, has been described by his design and technology teacher, Mr Emmanuel Stafford, as a very inventive student. According to him during the course of the classes Omar proved himself to be very technical.

Mr Stafford who doubles as the head of the extra-curricular and technical subjects department called on the government and other institutions to create the enabling environment, through the provision of scholarships among others, for students like Omar to pursue scientific studies that could be of great benefit to the country and the rest of the world.  In addition, while encouraging students to pursue the sciences and technical subjects in school, he advised the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to look into ways of resuscitating the teaching of technical subjects in the junior and senior secondary schools with fully equipped workshops. That, he said “is perhaps one of the surest ways to bring rapid development to the country.” 

Watching Omar sitting on his innovation with a smiley face, evokes a feeling that with all the negative tendencies and aversion to education shown by many young people nowadays there is still light at the end of the tunnel, as there are those who know their responsibility to society and will do everything possible contribute their quota to development and leave positive footprints in the sand of time.


By Masaneh Jammeh