Aston University student awarded for work to boost renewable energy in Africa
  • Aston University student wins national award for his renewable energy start-up 
  • Work helps develop sustainable energy systems to support a low emission future
  • The start-up is also among the finalists for a global agri-tech award

An Aston University postgraduate researcher has won a national award for his work to increase the use of renewable energy in Nigeria. 

Prince Anthony Okoro is in the first year of his PhD in bioenergy in the University’s Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)

He won the Future Game Changers Award at the 2022 British Renewable Energy Awards (REA) which celebrates the work of organisations and individuals who are contributing to the push for net zero by 2050.

The audience of around 300 guests voted on the winner after seeing videos of all the finalists played twice during the evening. As well as the accolade Prince took home £2,000 in prize money.

With support from Aston University, Prince has founded a start-up called Bebeque Energy which helps develop and set up sustainable energy systems to support Africa’s transition to an affordable, reliable and low emission future. 
Projects supported by his start-up include exploring the potential for using rubbish and agricultural waste to create off-grid energy, and examining the potential of chemical production using waste tyres.

This year, for the first time in the REA's 18 year history the event took place outside of London and was held in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens.

Prince said: “I’m so happy to win this prize and gain such high praise for my work. 

“I’ve had great support from my PhD supervisors at Aston University Dr Katie Chong and Dr Mirjam Roeder. It is wonderful to have my research vision and industry impact recognised. 

“This award reflects on the links to industry that  my supervisors and I have developed and how my visions and plans have been brought together in an impactful way.”

The award category was sponsored by global investment company Nuveen.
Peter Dickson from Glennmont Partners from Nuveen said: “Congratulations to Prince on winning this prestigious title, Nuveen has been delighted to support this category.

“We believe that by investing we can make an enduring impact on our world This award is an example of how overseas development assistance funding enables impact; it supports capacity building, knowledge transfer, academia-industry collaboration and policy impact.”

Prince’s start-up is currently among the finalists of the global Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech Competition, 2022. This competition highlights innovative solutions to increase economic value to farmers, from seed to sale. 

His PhD is supported by the government’s Commonwealth Scholarship Commission scheme for least developed countries.

Photo caption Left to right: Peter Dickson from Glennmont Partners from Nuveen and Prince Anthony Okoro

Notes to editors

About Nuveen

Nuveen has supported the financial futures of millions of investors for over 120 years. Under the leadership of TIAA, it invests in the growth of businesses, real estate, infrastructure, farmland and forests while building long-term relationships with clients from all over the globe. With expertise across income and alternatives, and as one of the first in the industry to practise responsible investing, it continues to expand its capabilities while maintaining its legacy as a leading investment manager.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Loer Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7825 342091 or email

Be first to get the latest news, research and expert comment from Aston
following us on Twitter

Need an expert for your story? Browse our expert directory


Sue Smith,
Head of Press and Communications


Sam Cook,
Press and Communications Manager


Nicola Jones,
Press and Communications Manager


Helen Tunnicliffe,
Press and Communications Manager


Alternatively, email