An exceptional 20-year-old man named Jeremiah Thoronka has won the Chegg.org global prize award and has been named United Nations Academic Impact Millennium Fellow after inventing a device that uses energy from people walking to generate clean power.
Jeremiah Thoronka who hails from Sierra Leonne narrated that he decided to explore the world of power generation as a result of the poor electricity supply that ravages his country. He grew up with his single mother in a slum camp where they had to burn charcoal and wood for lighting and heating.
Having suffered the direct effects of a lack of adequate power supply, Jeremiah set out to create a solution for his country’s challenge. He landed a scholarship to enrol for his secondary school, making him move from their camp to an advanced academic environment. Jeremiah described the difference between their village and the school as wide.
“Every day I was moving between two worlds. There was electricity in abundance at school,” he recalled.
After his secondary education, Jeremiah enrolled for his higher education at the African Leadership University in Rwanda to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Global Challenges, Energy and Environment.
At the age of 17, during his study at the university, he launched a start-up called Optim Energy that transforms vibrations from vehicles and pedestrian footfall on roads into an electric current.
Jeremiah graduated from the African Leadership University with a First-Class degree and immediately won the United Kingdom’s Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to enrol for a Master’s degree at Durham University.
Jeremiah focused his Master’s degree at Durham University in England on Science Sustainability, Energy and Development.
His start-up, Optim Energy was able to run a successful test of the equipment which makes use of kinetic energy from traffic and pedestrians to generate clean power in Jeremiah’s neighbourhoods, Makawao, Sierra Leone and Kuntoluh, South Africa.
With two devices, he was able to provide free electricity to 150 households comprising around 1,500 citizens, as well as 15 schools where more than 9,000 students attend. The young inventor asserts that his device is capable of powering thousands, if not millions, of homes in the future!
The 20-year-old scholar was awarded the winner of the 2021 Chegg.org Global Student Prize and won another $100,000 Global Teacher Prize. He is also a United Nations Academic Impact Millennium Fellow.