A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Scientist advocates biomass fuel for rural electricity

Chima Ugwuanyi

31 October 2012, Sweetcrude, Enugu – An Enugu based Scientist, Dr. Uche Obiajulu, has at a recent Seminar in the city, advocated the exploitation of human and plant wastes for the construction of biomass electricity plants in all the rural areas of Nigeria.

This, according to him, could generate enough electricity for the teeming Nigerian rural population.

Obiajulu, noted that Biomass technology (energy generated from human and animal wastes) was far cheaper than the fossil and easily affordable by states and local governments, adding that it had the capability to create jobs and advance the nation’s economy generally.

He described the biomass technology as the process in which direct combustion power pPlants burn the biomass fuel directly in boilers thereby, converting the biomass into a gas called methane, that can then fuel steam generators, combustion turbines, combined cycle technologies or fuel cells and hinted that, in the United States of America, biomass power plants represent the second largest amount of renewable energy, in terms of capacity.

The scientist, speaking further on the advantages of biomass technologies, pointed out that “because biomass technologies use combustion process to produce electricity, they can generate electricity at any time.

He identified other factors that favour biomass in Nigeria to include: the easily available raw materials, such as dungs from goats, horses, cattle, pigs and even human wastes, as well as plenty of trees everywhere, especially in the mangrove region of the Niger Delta; biomass as part of the carbon cycle in which carbon from the atmosphere is fed into the plants, which safely goes back into the atmosphere when the plants die; its ability to produce clean-enviroment- as wastes and garbages, which pollute the enviroment, are cleared into the plants; the relative inexpensiveness of energy harnessed from biomass, compared to coal, gas and oil; and the fact that large pipelines across the country’s borders and oceans – for oil and gas, become unnecessary.

Dr. Obiajulu stated with great confidence that there was no doubt that biomass energy was one of the few replacements for fossil fuels, not only in Nigeria, but elsewhere, stressing that “the benefits of biomass as both a renewable and clean energy source, cannot be overlooked.”

He also maintained that, with the deployment of Biomass as a means of electricity generation in Nigeria, especially in rural areas, the nation will be able to meet her power supply needs in a very short time.

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  • We agree with Dr. Uche Obiajulu regarding Biomass as a veritable source of power generation. However, we do not agree that it should be funded by the government. Rather may we submit that government creates or advances the right incentives for the private sector to be attracted to make such an investment.