The Case for Bioenergy in Nigeria

The Case for Bioenergy in Nigeria

By Colif Isabor

My name is Colif Isabor, I am a Nigerian, I am a renewable energy entrepreneur, promoting the use of biomass for power generation and the production of biofuels and biochemical. I am a Cohort of The Tony Elumelu, Entrepreneurship Program 2015 pioneer class. I collocate in Lagos and Ondo State, Nigeria. Lagos the commercial capital of Nigeria, Ondo a major forestry State in Nigeria.

It has been stated and sometimes asserted that Nigeria has the capacity to lead Africa in almost every ramification of life, being as it is the most populous black nation in the World.

With this in mind, it is pertinent that Nigeria must play a leading role in the adoption of Bioenergy as the viable option in an emerging renewable energy mix to align the continent with the ambitious goal of the United Nations in reducing the carbon footprint of the universe. By this suggestion, I am not in any way putting down the other sources of renewable energy such as Solar, Wind (onshore, offshore) Geothermal, Tidal and Hydro.

Bioenergy is one of many diverse resources available to help meet our demand for energy. It is a form of renewable energy that is derived from recently living organic materials known as biomass, which can be used to produce transportation fuels, heat, electricity, and products.

The major concern is the fact that Africa, particularly Nigeria, has not really experienced a profound industrial revolution. This continent must experience industrial revolution to lay the solid foundation for the manufacturing sector. We must move from consumer of imported goods to a major exporter of processed goods. Almost every developed country in the World is taking advantage of Africa. How do we overcome this lapse with unreliable national power grid? Nigeria’s power problem is a national embarrassment. The manufacturers in Nigeria are very frustrated over the issue of power.

Bioenergy – yes, biomass is most viable option that Nigeria must adopt to overcome power shortage quickly.

Nigeria, should follow in the footsteps of Europe, in developing and depending on bioenergy.

The European Union is very bold and ambitious in its adoption of the use of bioenergy. In the last decade, the EU uses bioenergy solely for all its energy need for 41 days, from November 21st to the end of the year. It has become an annual event called ‘The European Bioenergy Day’ campaign, powered by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), European Pellet Council (EPC), and the International Biomass Torrefaction Council (IBTC). Also, it is relayed across Europe by all the partners that are convinced that Bioenergy is more than a renewable energy source but also the reliable path Europe should take to achieve its energy transition in the shortest span of time.

I spoke about the consequences for Africa lagging behind in the energy transition and the fight against climate change, during a recent radio interview in Lagos, Nigeria. If we do nothing or very little to adopt renewable energy, while Europe and the rest of the World, especially Europe, is racing to meet set targets for CO2 reductions, Africa will be put under pressure, and may be faced with sanctions in the future.

I will quickly list some of the advantages of bioenergy below.

Economic: Provides affordable energy, strengthens industry competitiveness, drives innovation and supports new investments.

Local and Social: Increases the standard of living, revitalizes rural areas, reduces energy bills for households, drives job creation in rural areas.

Environmental: Reduces GHG emissions, facilitates forest management, valorizes by-products and residues, and restores degraded agricultural lands.

Greener Energy: Reduces dependence from fossil fuel, reduces imports from third countries, consolidates renewable energy consumption, and decarbonizes the energy sector.

Amongst the renewable energy options, bioenergy has the unique potential to deliver significant benefits to society and the environment.

Bioenergy is one of the most affordable renewable energy technologies. It is available in solid, liquid and gaseous forms and can be used for power, heating and transport. Sources of bioenergy are plentiful and can bring wealth and jobs to rural areas across the world and enable profit to be derived from marginal land.

Bioenergy projects can create markets for low-value round-wood and residues and therefore reduce waste. Bioenergy fuels are indispensable in that they can be easily stored so when demand is high they can be mobilized as soon as they are required. As a result of all this, bioenergy can meet needs not readily met by other renewables and provide grid stability on cloudy or windless days.

In Nigeria, we are happy to note that a cement manufacturing company is taking advantage of the viability and cheapness of biomass to power their factory.

My company C-Freedom Assets Management Limited, is actualizing the building of a biomass feedstock and fuel processing factory, (Energy Pellets & Biomass IndustryFZE) here in Lagos, Nigeria. Collaborating with the World leaders in biomass power generation, we are in a position to offer expert consultation to Manufacturing companies, Big hospitals, Universities, Communities, Airports, Stadium, State governments, Farm estates, that are interested in generating their own power as a standalone, mini grid, or micro grid system.

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