Meet Emmanuel Alieu Mansaray: The 25-year-old Sierra Leonean Who Built Sierra Leone’s First Solar-powered Car Made Out of Trash

Emmanuel Alieu Mansaray is a 25-year-old self-taught Sierra Leonean innovator and engineer who built the first-ever locally made solar-powered car in Sierra Leone.

He attained his high school certificate from the Methodist Boys High School, Freetown. It all started in 2018 when he built the first locally made solar-powered tricycle in Sierra. Fast forward to 2020, Emmanuel Alieu Mansaray invented the first ‘solar-powered’ car in his country, Sierra Leone. His passion for the environment and to solve social issues affecting his community led him to invent the solar-powered car. He called the car ‘The imagination Solar Car’.

‘Imagination Solar Car’ is Sierra Leone’s first locally made solar-powered car. It’s an Eco-friendly car, which does not use any fossil fuel to power it. The body of the car is built with bamboo (cane stick) which is a local material throughout. This car can cover a distance of 15km per hour on a tarred road. It can also cover more than 90 kilometres per day when there’s intensive sunlight, and more than that sometimes.

The ‘Imagination Solar Car’ has a large solar panel at the top of it which powers the engine and also acts as its canopy. The car has a self-made engine which is different from all other cars with three gears attached to it for both back and front movement. It has a left and right traffic light, a horn, four headlights, and an accurate brake system. It has two doors and two mirrors attached to its left and right flanks.

Furthermore, this solar-powered car is pollution-free, and it operates by converting sunlight into electrical energy using photovoltaic cells. Therefore, it does not produce harmful or hazardous emissions. So, since solar energy is a renewable source, the sunlight that is used to power this car today will still be there tomorrow, and will continue to shine for years to come and so does the ‘Imagination Solar Car’.

The inspiration behind Emmanuel’s innovation is to solve social problems in his community in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Due to the high risk of contracting respiratory diseases that are caused by the inhaling of hazardous fumes emitted by vehicles using fuel, Emmanuel thought of an idea to salvage the problem by building a vehicle that doesn’t emit carbon monoxide. So he started to build the ‘Imagination Solar Car’, as he called it.

Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals talks about ‘Clean Energy’ and having a solar car like my ‘Imagination Car’ using solar power for transportation will make for a cleaner atmosphere, thereby reducing the risk of dangerous gaseous emissions that have led to the death of thousands of people around the world.

Emmanuel Alie Mansaray

Emmanuel’s solar-powered car is pollution-free, and it operates by converting sunlight into electrical energy using photovoltaic cells, which makes it eco-friendly since it doesn’t produce harmful emissions. “So, since solar energy is a renewable source, the sunlight that is used to power this car today will still be there tomorrow, and will continue to shine for years to come and so does the ‘Imagination Solar Car’,” said Emmanuel.

As a Geology student of Fourah Bay College, one would think Emmanuel only knows about rocks but that’s not it. Since his childhood days, he has been that child who always goes out there to pick up trash cans which he used to make tiny cars. As a kid, he also used to collect trash batteries from the dust bin and convert them to energy providers to supply the electricity in his home.

Emmanuel’s dream and aspiration are to help his people and the country as a whole and to have a successful career in renewable energy.

I want to fly the Sierra Leone flag higher above all other flags. I want to enable a safer environment for my people wherein they will use renewable energy that can be beneficial for them, especially when it comes to health. I want to make everything seems easier for people and make the environment safe. If we hearing about global warming and climate change, it’s because of the use of fossil fuel, generators, machines, and vehicles. My aim and dream are to work for my country, have a successful career, and help develop my country, Sierra Leone.

Emmanuel Alieu Mansaray

As a young innovator from Sierra Leone, the challenges are enormous for Emmanuel. The lack of materials/equipment, lack of external funding from government and local agencies, and many others are some of the constraints he is facing as an innovator.

The challenges are numerous. Sometimes I went to the dumpsites, dist bins, and scrap yards just to get the materials I need to do my work. It’s very difficult to have brand new materials to do my job. Sometimes I meet people for help and they don’t. Some people won’t even motivate me, instead they’ll try to kill my dream with negative energy. Some people are seeing me doing a great job, all they’ll have to say is “this is nice, this is good” but they won’t ask me what I need or want or what are the resources I need to do more than this. The challenges are plenty. No opportunities for young people, no laboratories to experiment with certain things, and some components I used to work on are not available in Sierra Leone so I have to buy them online. There’s no structured market system to have the right materials I need for my work. The challenges are plenty!

Emmanuel on his challenges

Emmanuel said he has a lot of innovations and inventions to do and that his innovations will help salvage the global climate change problems and tackle global warming. He also said, in an interview with Salone Messenger that he is ready to prefer solutions to Sierra Leone’s electricity, water and health care problems using innovation and technology.

I’m hoping for any opportunity or sponsorship or funding, I promise to give them my best. I’m ready to help, with my innovative ideas, people that are suffering in the rural areas in sectors like electricity, water supply, health care facility, etc. I’m ready to give a helping hand with my innovative ideas. Continue to trust in me and believe in me.

Emmanuel to Salone Messenger

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