Giving back: Graduate donates research equipment

By Dale Johnson Posted: June 4, 2018 4:00 p.m.

Abayomi Akande with specialized autoclave he has donated to the U of R.
Abayomi Akande with specialized autoclave he has donated to the U of R. Photo: External Relations

Abayomi Akande is literally giving back to the University of Regina.

He bought specialized equipment while he was an engineering student at the U of R, and now that he is graduating with his PhD in Process Systems Engineering at this week’s Spring Convocation, it is an opportunity to also recognize Akande’s generosity in donating the equipment to the U of R.

“I have been part of this University since 2003. This is an opportunity to give back to the University that has invested in me,” Akande explains.

The love affair between Akande and the U of R came about quite unexpectedly.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and Master of Business Administration in his home country of Nigeria, Akande wanted to further his education.

“I had a longing to pursue my master’s in chemical engineering,” he recalls.

Akande looked at universities in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. He decided to go to the University of Saskatchewan and made the move to Saskatoon in January 2003.

“I never knew how cold Saskatchewan was,” he says with a laugh.

But later that year, his professor went on sabbatical and suggested Akande continue his research with one of his colleagues, Dr. Raphael Idem, at the University of Regina.

He completed his Master of Science in Chemical Engineering at the U of S in 2005, and then started his PhD program at the U of R.

But after a couple of years, Akande withdrew from the program and began working in the oil industry in Lloydminster and then Calgary.

With on-the-ground experience, he decided to return to the University of Regina in 2013 to finish his PhD.

Akande started new research using biomass for clean energy production, specifically biogasoline.

Biogasoline is derived not from fossil fuels, but from plant material that’s put under intense pressure and injected with hydrogen. Biogasoline exhibits properties similar to traditional gasoline, so it could be used to fuel gasoline vehicles.

To do his research, Akande needed specialized equipment for high-temperature and high-pressure research – an autoclave reactor. The U of R has a few other autoclave reactors, but they could provide only 600 pounds of pressure; for his research, Akande needed an autoclave that could create 3,000 pounds of pressure.

So, he bought his own.

Now that he’s graduating, he is giving this autoclave reactor to the U of R, so future students will have access to this specialized equipment.

“The availability of this equipment will open up opportunities for others to pursue the research that I have started.”

He’s now is working as an engineer at the Co-op Refinery in Regina.

“I may consider an academic career. It’s something I want to pursue.”

Having completed his PhD, Akande’s looking forward to this week’s Spring Convocation and sharing his good fortune.

“I came all the way from Africa, and the University of Regina gave me opportunities without knowing who I was – so this is an opportunity for me to give back to the University, and to invest in future generations.”