From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Prof. Emenike Ejiogu, the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) has proposed to inject 7,000 megawatts of electricity across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria through the gasification plant.
Prof. Ejiogu who is also the Director, Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Power and Energy Development (ACE-SPED) disclosed this in Nsukka on Thursday while presenting the 190th inaugural lecturer of the UNN titled “My Engineering Odyssey: Energy Security, Energy Sustainability and Bringing Power to the People.”
He said that Nigeria must adopt an energy mix to stave off the energy crisis crippling the economy, adding that the conventional national grid has proven to be insufficient in meeting the country’s energy needs, adding that through a gasification plant, 10,000 megawatts of electricity can be injected into all the 774 local government areas in Nigeria through distributed energy generation.
he explained that the gasification plant is an engineering system that is designed and fabricated locally with 100% local content, and which converts organic solid materials into synthetic gas for electric power generation and other uses.
“The conventional power industries in Nigeria with huge generating plants, produce huge amounts of power and transmit it at a long distance. The disadvantage of this is that you have to cover the entire country with transmission lines which would result in huge financial losses. The technical manpower is not equally there to maintain this power arrangement because most of the materials are imported.
“In this situation, the best thing to think of is distributed generation of energy. This can be done by creating micro and mini-grids across locations in Nigeria so that we can generate power and distribute it locally. A gasification plant is one of the enabling technologies that can help you achieve this. The advantage of distributed generation is that you can generate your power locally and manage it locally.
“When you have a lot of these micro and mini-grids, you can begin to tie them together so that in the end, you will have a network. With this arrangement, you can infuse a huge amount of energy into our power sector without huge investment in transmission lines and other materials. This is an enabling technology because you can easily go into the 774 local government areas across the country and give each of them 10 megawatts of power which would result in 7,740 megawatts of power. This is already more than what our national grid is generating and transmitting. If the political will is there, you can infuse huge amount of energy in our sector within a period of two to three years. It is only the gasification technology that can give you that flexibility because we would be producing fuel from waste materials and coal which are in abundance in this country,” he explained.
He also said “With the current epileptic power supply in the country occasioned by the frequent collapse of the national grid, this is time to give proper attention to alternative power source.
“Our designed gasification plant converts solid wastes into gas, just like the refineries which turns crude oil into petrol and other products. What we need is the fund to mass produce it.
“Organizations can comfortably depend and run on it, what is required is to change the already existing diesel generators and modify them to run on gas and it will serve as mini-grid.
“Depending on public power supply alone has negatively impacted on production outputs and services of organisations in Nigeria, which as well have affected the national economy because some organisation can no longer operate under the epileptic power supply with price of diesel always on a high side,” he said.
In his address, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, who was also the chairman of the occasion, said that Nigerian universities cannot really be autonomous if the managements can produce services which would make them self-sustaining.
He described Prof. Ejiogu’s lecture as germane, especially as the country is still grappling with epileptic power supply, adding that keying into the lecturer’s alternative power generation would save Nigeria some cost of running only on the conventional power