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NABDA Biodigester: Alternative Energy Source For Nigerians

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Over the last decades,
international development organi-sations have been actively engaged in encouraging biogas technologies in the developing world.
The development partners underscored the rising need for the reduction of pollution and re-use of Biodegradable organic Feedback (BoF), particularly in Africa.
According to them, bio-energy constitutes a significant proportion of energy mix of countries in Europe, America and should be replicated in Africa.
This development necessitated the adaptation of technologies that can transform BoF such as food and agro-related waste, sewage sludge and municipal organic waste into valuable products like bioenergy and biofertiliser.
Experts in the field observed that Egypt, AlgeriaA, South Africa and Kenya have made good success in the areas of biogas generation for domestic cooking and bioelectri-city generation.
It was, therefore, not an accident, when in 2015 the Federal Government, as parts of Nigeria’s Economy Recovery and Growth Plan mandated the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) to design programmes for the nation’s bioenergy advancement.
The focus of NABDA in this regards was clear, to develop prototype digesters and other systems that will utilise the abundant BoF across the country.
Specifically, the agency was given the mandate to ensure that bioenergy, comprising ethanol and biogas constitute five per cent of Nigeria’s energy mix.
In a major breakthrough, NABDA on July 23 unveiled a prototype Digesters and Process Optimisation Test Systems to serve as alternative energy in rural and urban settlements of the country.
The Acting Director-General of the agency, Prof. Alex Akpa who performed the unveiling ceremony in Abuja said the unique product known as prototype digester was developed by the Environmental Biotechnology and Bio-Conservation Department of NABDA.
Akpa noted that the product was built for households, small and medium scale enterprises such as restaurants, small farms, small artisanal clusters and small abattoirs.
“The Biodigester is quite affordable, the smallest size is about N75,000 while the biggest is about N150,000.
“We are ready for the market. We are hopeful that industrialists could partner with us to achieve mass production,’’ he said.
The acting D-G said the prototype bio-digesters have been developed with all sectors in mind comprising three sizes produced and named BEGS 250 litres, BEGS 500litres and BEGS 1000litres.
“The team has developed the capacity to retrofit existing gasoline and diesel generator to use biogas as fuel for electricity generation.
“The technology can transform biodegradable organic feedstock into valuable products such as biogas and bio-fertiliser, he added.
He assured that the agency would continue to provide technical assistance in all aspects of bio-energy develop-ment in the country and ensure the digesters and test systems are produced in quantities that would be affordable.
Mr Ayodele Oluwole explained that biodigester is designed as a closed system, capable of fermenting biodegradable materials placed inside it to produce a renewable energy source.
Oluwole, a biogas technologist, said organic materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste are broken down in the biodigester to produce biogas which is mixture of gasses, methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
He said the energy released, through combustion allows biogas to be used as a fuel that could be used for any heating purpose, such as cooking.
Oluwole added that it could also be used in a gas engine to convert the energy in the gas into electricity.
“In advanced usage, Biogas can also be compressed, the same way as natural gas is compressed and used to power motor vehicles.
“In the United Kingdom for example, biogas is estimated to have the potential to replace around 17 per cent of vehicle fuel,’’ he said.
Mrs Gloria Obioh, the Head of the department that championed the innovation allayed the fear of readily available raw materials for the biodigester. Obioh said organic wastes including sewage sludge account for about 50 per cent of municipal solid wastes in Nigeria.
She added that agricultural waste, manure, plant material and green waste are readily available in rural settlements of the country.
“The project has enhanced capacity for job creation across all value chains, digester fabrication, energy generation, waste management and bio-fertiliser production’’.
“Consequently there would be several spin-off industries which would contribute greatly to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and National Development,’’ she said.
Obioh also noted that, if developed, Anaerobic Digestion Technology (ADT) will contribute up to 20,000 MW of electricity to the national grid.
The Executive Vice Chairman of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof Mohammed Haruna urged NABDA to perfect the technology and make the products available to end users.
Stakeholders in the sector believe that the breakthrough by NABDA will be whole when the agency, make the products affordable and available as alternative energy source to rural, urban settlements.
Onifade writes for New Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

 

Olasunkanmi Onifade

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Forex Restriction On Food Importation Requires Clarity -MAN

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says clarity is needed on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on restriction of foreign exchange for food importation.
Director-General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir disclosed this last Friday in Lagos.
It would be recalled that President Buhari gave the directive when he hosted the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at his country home in Daura, Katsina state during Eid-el-Kabir on August 13.
The president said the foreign reserve would be used strictly for diversification of the economy and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food.
“Though the directive was laudable, clarity would be required and the country needed to be deliberate and strategic in pursuing such a far-reaching monetary measure.
“Especially in the light of our vulnerability occasioned by trade agreements that require the country to be more open to imports and the well-known antics of our neighboring countries,” Ajayi-Kadir said in a statement.
According to him, the directive is broad and needs to be specific and targeted, adding that there should be strategic implementation to achieve the purpose intended by government.
“We need to know what type of food; finished and ready to eat or as input for further processing.
“In the case of the latter (in particular) we need to know the local capacity available compared to national demand and if not adequate, creditably determine what time and resources are needed to ramp up capacity and production.
“It is pertinent to pre-determine these suggestions as part of the implementation strategy.
“To achieve sustainable self-sufficiency, local producers ought to be incentivised otherwise we may be inviting a looming barrage of smuggling activities,” he said.
He warned that the policy might be counterproductive if implemented by fiat, without ensuring necessary alignment with the fiscal and other economic policy initiatives of the present administration.
Ajayi-Kadir stressed that the necessary support that would sustain the “steady progress in agricultural production” and attainment of “full food security” should be considered.
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would need to conduct an assessment of the country’s position in practical terms and realistically weigh its options before embarking on such a far-reaching policy.
“There should also be a process to be followed before such a plan is unfolded. On an issue as critical as this, a unilateral decision could be counterproductive when the operators are not duly consulted.
“We must also consider the state of our infrastructure and its capacity to respond and support the policy,” he said.
Ajayi-Kadir said MAN actively supported resource-based industrialisation, and its stance had been on improving local sourcing of raw materials and developing sustainable value chains.
He said the association believed that value addition to products created more jobs and wealth for the nation.

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Tackle Insecurity To Boost Foreign Investment, Group Tells FG

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The Committee on Youth Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS) has called on the Federal Government to tackle issues of insecurity in the country in order to boost direct foreign investment.
The Director General, CYMS,Mr Obinna Nwaka, made the call when the group appeared on a Personality Interview Programme of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Forum, yesterday in Abuja.
Nwaka said foreign investors would not come to invest their money in an environment that is not secured, because of uncertainty of re-cupping their investments.
According to him, every good business person prefers a predictable and serene environment to invest their money.
He said the government must do all it could to ensure that the country was seen to be peaceful by the international community to boost the confidence of those willing to invest in the country.
Nwaka while speaking on issues affecting youths in the country, said that unemployment was critical and must also be tackled by the government.
He advised that the government should ensure that all its agencies undergoing recruitment should provide a level playing ground for all citizens, so that the people who are qualified could be given employment.
“They should not hijack it from above and they should allow the Federal Character Commission, the Senate, the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity to also be part of the recruitment processes.
“With this, people who deserve to be employed will be employed, people who have the passion to serve in the military or para-military will be given opportunity to serve in the military.
“Not people who don’t have the passion but because they have a godfather in the government, after giving them the employment they stay back at home they don’t go to the war front,” he said.
He said the issue of ‘godfatherism’ should be eradicated from recruitment and every citizen should be given the same opportunity to show their capability in any job.
Nwaka said that President Muhammadu Buhari should endeavour to put someone with detail knowledge of agriculture to serve as the minister.
He said this was because agriculture seems to be the only sector for now that could ensure adequate employment for young people.
The group leader added that the young people are now willing to make themselves relevant in the agricultural sector.
“So, these fundamental issues, security, and ensuring a level playing ground in recruitment processes and agriculture are very crucial.
” If the Federal Government can look into these three key issues, I believe the level of unemployment and crimes will reduce in this country.

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Insecurity: Expect Drop In FDIs – Expert

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A university teacher, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu of the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, says with the increasing insecurity in the country, a drop in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) is expected.
Prof. Anyanwu said this yesterday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen.
According to her, every investor wants a conducive business environment for his capital and will not want to establish businesses in places where security is not guaranteed.
“Even as a Nigerian, not to talk of foreigners, you will not go and site an industry in areas where insurgency is the order of the day.
“There is kidnapping and herdsmen killing going on at the same time and foreigners keep hearing that people are being kidnapped daily and ransom has to be paid.
“So, for those that already have investments in Nigeria, that is enough to drive them out and those that are out will not be willing to come in.
“Both the rich and poor are being kidnapped, so it is a problem to even Nigerians and not foreigners alone”, she said.
Prof. Anyanwu was also worried about the porousness of Nigerian borders, saying it is a major source of concern as foreigners who had no business being in Nigeria at all came and went at will.
Anyanwu said the nation’s borders should be strictly monitored with security tightened at all points to keep track of movement in and out to avoid people coming in anyhow to commit crime.
She, however, advised that security should be heightened with all security agencies playing their part to secure lives and properties.
The academic also said that no stone should be left unturned to promote the image of Nigeria internationally in every way and avoid situations where Nigerians in diaspora have to stage protests concerning the country.
According to Anyanwu, such scenarios send the wrong signal to prospective investors.
She also noted that electricity should be improved on as lack of it was driving the cost of doing business up.
Anyanwu also advocated good infrastructure to be provided for businesses to thrive.
A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had released a report in June, saying FDIs into Nigeria plunged by 43 per cent in 2018 to two billion dollars.

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