Biomass Fuel Feasibility And Opportunity In Nigeria
Keywords:Agro-residue, Alternative energy, Biomass energy, Solid waste management
Nigeria a nation rich in non-renewable fossil fuel is in a quagmire of energy stabilization. This is partly due to the over-dependency of the nation on petroleum-based products for both domestic and industrial energy sources. With the economic downturn in the country, incessant fluctuation in the prices of petroleum-based products and its attendant hardship on the masses, the Federal government is in a hurry to key into worldwide palliative measures of alternative energy sources via the cheapest renewable means of using biomass, to generate energy. Nigeria's agricultural sector produces four main agro-waste residues commonly employed in fuel briquettes to provide cheap, renewable and accessible fuel for domestic uses. These are rice husks, sawdust and wood chips, wheat and maize stalks, and cotton stalks. Other lesser-known agro-waste residues, also used include oil bean husks, castor husks, cocoa husks, etc. These agro-based waste products are dumped indiscriminately in open dump sites for waste pickers to deal with. This action has led to inefficient waste management and resultant pollution of land, air and water resources. Despite the volume of agricultural residues (114 million tons per year), commercial waste products, and logging activities in Nigeria, there is no active briquette production plant in existence in the country. The exceptions are the research and development activities around briquetting technologies going on in some Universities and Research institutions. Biomass briquette, a clean affordable fuel, is an alternative to fuel wood for domestic and industrial usage, particularly in places where there is a shortage of trees and a consistent supply of agro-waste products which is the case with the country. Nigeria cannot afford to neglect this viable sector of waste conversion with its associated job creation and poverty alleviation particularly as it faces the quagmire of petroleum-based products subsidy removal with untold hardship to which the citizenry is plunged. This paper presents a desk review, which investigates the feasibility of biomass crop residues for alternative energy generation and its opportunity within the country.