Civil servant builds wind-powered tricycle

Innovator David Cheserem. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

In 2017, David Cheserem, 58, started online research on the production of power using water.

An idea then came to him on how to produce electricity through a vertical-axis wind turbine.

 Also, it’s here that he thought about wind-powered tricycles, unlike electric cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, which he said are facing the problem of charging systems.

‘‘It is because there are fewer charging systems for electric cars, motorcycles, and bicycles and now they are mostly based in Nairobi. And power is not available in all parts of the country and you have to pay to use power, which is another cost,’’ says Cheserem.

In July 2021, he acquired a normal bicycle, reconfigured it into a tricycle with the help of a mechanic, and started assembling spare parts, to come up with a wind-powered tri-cycle.

 Towards 2022 he was done. He had also to redesign the steering system with the help of a mechanic.

‘‘The tricycle has two batteries and a dynamo. The dynamo rotates the chain, which later propels the wheels. It has three-speed throttle buttons that control the speed of the tricycle with the third being the fastest,’’ he explained.

It also has an anemometer and digital speed meter that can measure the speed of wind and tell him which amount of wind can power the batteries.

‘‘It also has a voltage meter that will show how much power that comes from the dynamo,’’ he explains.

David Cheserem's wind-powered tricycle. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Behind the tricycle is a boot to store one’s items but cannot carry a person. ‘‘I can still innovate to have a seat to carry a passenger,’’ he says.

Cheserem now says Kenya has proven that it can produce clean transport equipment, which will help the country become ready when vehicle manufacturing companies migrate to green transport to combat climate change.

Already the Kenyan transport sector has started witnessing migration from fuel to electric-powered transport and Cheserem says wind-powered one will just be an additional compliment.

Companies like BasiGo and Roam are now leading in the migration with electric buses and motorbikes.

He says he has used almost Sh300,000 to come up with the tricycle.

Cheserem said that he bought a speed controller from China at Sh25,000 which got burned, thus losing the money

“I ordered another one last year in March but due to Covid-19 in China, shipping stopped and the money went down the drain just like that, forcing me to buy a secondhand one in Nairobi,’’ Cheserem says.

He is now looking for Sh300,000 to come up with a new tricycle that has new spare parts which will be used for demonstrations before he looks at starting to produce more units for sale.

David Cheserem's wind-powered tricycle. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

‘‘I now know where to get the motor and other spare parts once I get funding. I can easily come up with a complete wind-powered tricycle within a short time unlike when I spent almost two years coming up with this one,’’ he said.

He said having more wind-powered tricycles will also reduce the usage of electricity, which is also unreliable.

‘‘Wind is free and God-given so you will not need to pay to recharge the tricycles once my project succeeds,’’ said Cheserem.

He is a senior hospitality officer in the Office of the President.

Among the challenges that he still faces is the acquisition of lithium batteries, which are not locally available.

‘‘This tricycle requires five lithium batteries that can power the motor and each costs Sh10,000 coming to Sh50,000 for five. These are some of the issues that slowed down the completion of this tricycle prototype due to financial constraints,’’ he said.

He has patented his innovation with Kenya Industrial Property Institute(KIPI) with the registration name CHESSKIA.

He hopes that the Ministry of Education will adopt his innovation so that it can be used in Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) practical lessons and in Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVETs) so that they become centres of innovation.