The Dynamic Chemistry of the Gas Industry and the Electricity Industry: Nexus to Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Nigeria’s Energy Sector

 

“The present and foremost challenge of the power sector is no more gas supply but the renewability source of the gas fuel.”

energy graphicGlobally, the relentless pursuit of various Holy Grails of sustainable environment via renewable energy, especially for the utmost sake of inclusive development in emerging countries and the world at large, cannot be undermined. Recently, a new initiative, Climate Neutral Now, was launched by the United Nations to tackle the threat of climate change , global warming- as it stands, the world will exceed the two-degree  average warming limit by the end of this century. Quite alarming!

However, power generation is dubbed as a leading cause of air pollution.  In a country like the U.S., it is the single largest source of global warming emissions consequent upon the fact that Coal is a dirty energy source -though on the decline, produces less than half its electricity but nearly 80 percent of all power plant carbon emissions. In china, about 85% of the country’s electricity is powered by fossil fuels, of which 95% is coal. India is equally one of the emerging economy that is adding coal faster than all other power sources.

Graciously, the advent of gas-fueled captive power plant greatly helped in the world’s ongoing and undying quest of a sustainable environment and economy as the ‘gas-to-power’ arrangement is both in tune with sustainable environmental practices  and cost effective. That is, gas as fuel source has a significant number of benefits versus the other heavier hydrocarbon fuels, like coal and oil as it reduces carbon emissions and it is somewhat cost-effective.

Accordingly, gas fuel is environmental friendly and an efficient energy source as it is regarded as being one of the most affordable and effective fuels among non-renewable resources, especially for power generation. In other words, it is the cleanest-burning conventional fuel, producing lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than the heavier hydrocarbon fuels, like coal and oil.

However, comparing the fact that world gas resources are in surpluses and that gas is quite advantageous – especially as a clean energy source, it is, more or less, a malapropos that gas (Natural gas) only now accounts for about 22 percent of the world’s energy consumption bearing in mind the present and futuristic health status of the world’s environment in terms of carbon concertation owed to other unclean energy source, both in emerged and in the emerging economies.

Some reasons behind the mismatch of the potential and availability of gas resources viz-a-viz its influence in the energy economy are not farfetched; Often, the regions with natural gas surpluses are oceans away from the greatest demand. Also, gas is supplied through gas pipelines which may be disrupted on various socio-economic, political and environmental grounds. As such, the efficiency and effectiveness of the gas industry, is not mainly a question of developing gas resources but delivering it as fuel to markets where its economic and environmental use is on the increase; that is, the supply or connectivity of gas to end users as at times, either of socioeconomic, environmental or political accords, gas can be disrupted.

Further, in many parts of the world the gas distribution network is not fully developed and does not reach all of the prospective customers. However, In Nigeria, the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, transmits gas to end users that particularly include the power sector through the various Gas Transport Agreements (GTAs), Gas Supply Agreements (GSAs) and Gas Purchase Agreements (GPAs).

Accordingly to the General Secretary of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero, the improved power supply the nation is experiencing is consequent upon steady supply of gas to power plants. Thus affirming the content of a recently submitted preliminary report by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to President Muhammadu Buhari on the recent activities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In the content, gas supply to the power plants that had hitherto been handicapped has improved significantly from about 630mscuf to 861 million standard cubic feet (mscuf) of gas per day to the country’s power sector, thus resulted in a more steady power supply as recently disclosed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). As such, the highest peak power generation in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) was the 4,810.7 Mw of this year’s August 25.

In the same way, private companies committed to meet growing domestic energy demand by providing the gas that will support the generation of electricity across Nigeria have been on the front burner. Thomas Dada, chief executive officer, Frontier Oil Limited (FOL) recently disclosed that his company is the source of gas that fires the turbines of the, Alaoji Power Plant in Abia State. Uquo Marginal Field and Uquo Central Processing plant, also operated by Frontier Oil Limited, is the source of gas supply to Calabar Power Plant in Cross River State and Ibom independent power plants in Akwa Ibom State.

Seven Energy International Limited (“Seven Energy”), the indigenous Nigerian integrated gas company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Accugas, commenced supply of gas to the 504MW Alaoji Independent Power Project in, Abia State as one of two gas suppliers to the plant. The addition of Alaoji to the company’s gas supply network in May 2015 makes it the third power station in Nigeria the company is presently delivering affordable and reliable gas to. Quotably, gas from companies’ facilities like the aforementioned organizations is contributing immensely to the improved power situation in the country.

Comparison of Electricity Fuel to Conventional Fuel (Oil or Gas)

students1

Moreover, the chemistry of gas and electricity, as they jointly reduce carbon emission into the environment goes beyond the immediate use of gas as efficient and economical energy source of powering generators or plants that produces electric current. Notably, in the event that electricity generation is not the highest cause of the release of carbon emission into the environment or atmosphere, transportation takes its place asinternal combustion engines are also believed to be one of the largest single sources of carbon dioxide (28%) emissions.  Accordingly, studies of the sources of air pollution have shown that transportation accounts for the majority of nitrogen oxide (54%) and carbon monoxide (89%) emissions in the United States. however, albeit electric combustions engines like vehicles are zero-emission-at least at point of use, it is adjudged that electricity only delays GHG emissions, rather than prevent it altogether.

Combustion engines, like vehicles and carbon industrial machineries that are powered by electricity are increasingly available on the basis that they are cleaner and cheaper to use than conventional engines that are oil or gas powered. For instance, Vehicles could be powered by the use a battery-electric, or plug-in electric or hybrid-electric systematics. Resultantly, this would save drivers billions in fuel costs and lessen global warming pollution by tail-piping carbon emissions.

The amount of pollution created or reduced by electric power combustion engines (e.g. vehicle) depends mostly on the source of the electricity used. That is, though Electric vehicles are zero-emission at point of use, greenhouse gases emission are produced and hazardously released into the environment during the generation of electricity which is often by combustion oil heavy hydrocarbon fossil fuels, like coal and oil. In other words, electric engines (vehicles) haven’t successfully addressed emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2 but it only shifted emissions to the production unit of electricity. Thus, more or less, “Electric cars are fossil fuel -powered cars.”

However, on the overall, electric vehicles shows a significant reduction in the life cycle carbon emissions when compared to the general conventional fuel vehicles. According to a  research,  when an electric car is compared with a fuel-efficient diesel car (tailpipe 99 gCO2/km), the life cycle carbon benefit for an electric car using average ‘grid’ electricity is around 25% – a smaller but still significant reduction. Likewise, when an electric car is compared with a fuel-efficient diesel car (tailpipe 99 gCO2/km), the life cycle carbon benefit for an electric car using average ‘grid’ electricity is around 25% – a smaller but still significant reduction.

The scale of this variation implies that the climate benefits of electricity, especially owing to its means of generation, are not evenly shared around the globe.  For instance, Carbon emissions of electric vehicles can be four times greater in places with coal dominated generation than in those with lower carbon power like oil and gas.

Thus, unless an inclusive move towards renewable or clean ways to generate electricity, electric engines cannot effectively reduce air pollution and improve environmental health. As such, the possible use of gas (as fuel to power plants and generator) in generating electricity was a major step forward in effectively zeroing the lifecycle of greenhouse gas emissions. For foreseeable  future of energy, gas-powered engines offer both cost and sustainability advantages over a conventional oil engines like petrol cars and diesel engines or plants, though depending on type, drive cycle, and engine calibration. As such, gas (both LPG and CNG) is promoted as cleaner fuel than petrol and diesel, due to its greater fuel economy.

On the scale of carbon emission, petrol generate and releases more carbon when compared to diesel and gas.  The comparison between diesel and gas is a bit skewed on variation in research findings though it is generally held that diesel fuel contains no lead and emissions of the regulated pollutants (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides) are lower than those from petrol cars without a catalytic converters. However, on the overall, carbon emissions from gas power engines (both LPG and CNG) are reduced when compared to diesel and petrol as gas may reduce some types of tailpipe emissions. In 2007, a study for the California Energy Commission (CEC) found that CNG and LNG reduce life cycle GHG emissions in both light- and heavy-duty vehicles compared to their gasoline and diesel counterparts.

Now let’s compare electricity energy (zero-emission at point of use) to gas energy  ( the most affordable and effective fuels among non-renewable energy-source) : Ironically, though Electric engines are zero-emission at point of use, postulation and reality has increasingly established that natural gas engines  will extinguish electric engines. Predictions in the vehicle industry is that more of cars coming off production lines could be electric by 2020 but advantage of  CNG cars is that they already exist and even gasoline(petrol, diesel) cars can be cheaply, quickly, and easily to be converted.  In developed countries, fewer people are buying electric cars when they can fill their tank with natural gas at $2.00 a gallon.

Electricity from Renewable Energy Source

On the other hand, electricity can now be increasingly generated in more eco-friendly as gas fuel which is commonly used in powering electric plants may now come from more renewable energy resource as opposed to conventional non-renewable energy source like, coal, petrol, diesel or Natural Gas.

That is, electricity is now been generated ‘biologically’; on the heels of latest technologies, waste or pollutants (natural organic products of human and the planet) can now be transformed into electricity. Biomass (plant material and animal waste) is used to produce biofuel which come in many forms like biogases, liquid fuels and solid biomass – for example, bioethenal and biodiesel. The biofuel produces some measures of energy that is needed as fuel, in similar ways to natural gas, to operate the various machineries of today’s society. This innovative development in the energy sector is woven with Waste-to-Energy concept that is getting widely recognized and employed   in today’s world, where the conventional forms of energy are fast moving towards extinction as well as are contributing generously to global concerns like the greenhouse effect and global warming.

One outstanding advantage of Waste-to-Energy project, other than the major benefit of reducing carbon emission into the environment is that no external power is required for the operation of the plant. That is, the energy produced of the organic waste or pollutant by Waste-to-Energy machine is more than enough to power its entire process there by releasing an excess quantity of energy that can be delivered to the local community as electricity. It can also be used for space heating in residential and commercial buildings as Waste-to-Energy engine can be configured as a combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

In 2000, biomass played a significant role among renewables, however, providing 48 percent of the energy coming from all renewable sources. Also, during the 2001-2007 period, the WTE capacity increased by about four million metric tons per annum. According The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of Annual Energy Outlook 2002, biomass will generate 15.3 billion kilowatthours of electricity, or 0.3 percent of the projected 5,476 billion kilowatthours of total generation, in 2020. It is said, if Biofuel would replace other conventional forms of fossil fuel, global carbon emissions will reduce by 80 per cent, bearing in mind that for fuel to be regarded as a biofuel it must have over 80 per cent renewable materials.

Today, in line with these projections of the future of energy globally, there are success stories scripted and lauded for generating electricity from the waste and other renewable energy source. In India for example the Waste-to-Wire or biogas-to-power concept is getting increasingly implemented following the 2014 elected government agenda on sanitation and sewage treatment to produce sustainable or renewable energy.  UK, South Australia, US, Japan and China have built several plants that were based Waste-to-Energy project or programs.

Early this year, Bill Gates took to his blog to say there’s plans for a pilot Waste-to-Energy project in Dakar, Senegal, later in 2015. The philanthropist and billionaire Microsoft co-founder, who has become renowned for his humanitarian work in the developing world, discussed the latest project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: a machine that transforms human waste (sewage) into clean and electricity. The machine “Omniprocessor” works by strategically incinerating sewage to give off steam, which is converted to electricity and clean drinking water. The electricity produced by it is then delivered to the local community. Meanwhile, the water boiled off the sewage is carefully filtered, producing clean drinking water.

Comparison of Renewable Energy Sources for Electricity Generation

Despite the growth in renewable energy alternatives, like solar, especially in the past 5 years, its competiveness is still quite limited. Reason; other than the fact that our energy policy makers failed to give the needed legal backing to the other renewable energy source in addressing our energy deficit debacle, it is equally due to the lack of involvement and investment of major energy players in the renewable energy source like solar.

For instance, the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru said his company may stretch not just from crude oil and natural gas production to natural gas processing and the delivery of natural gas. This is kind of investment prospects has never been witness in renewable energy sources like solar.

Sadly, though Nigeria is well placed to exploit abundant solar energy resources considering its geographic location around the equatorial sun-belt, other sources of energy have taken a low tone in our nation or continent when compared with developed nations. Germany, for example, installed around 12.8GW of solar capacity between 2012 and 2014. Likewise, at the end of 2014, USA have installed solar capacity in excess of 15 GW with a huge majority deployed in the last five years.  According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA), the U.S. installed 1,133 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the second quarter of 2014 alone. Between 2012 and 2014, the grid connected utility segment quadrupled its cumulative size, growing from 1,784 megawatts in the first half of 2012 to 7,308 megawatts today.

In the same vein, Bio-waste lies very near the bottom of a large potential energy hill as an essential renewable resource Africa (Nigeria) has in abundance and can play a vital role in ensuring our future as a competitive economy. Globally, bio waste attracts ever-increasing amounts of attention because of the very wide range of possibilities it could be realistically utilized, both industrially and domestically.  Bio-waste-to-energy can also reduce global tensions and improve world economies while providing many employment and sustainable energy industrial developments. Bio-waste is a fundamentally useful resource, it is nontoxic and renewable resource and it is a mistake to treat it as waste. Beyond theory, the world (our nation) can produce enough electricity or fuel for electricity generation and powering combustion engines (like vehicles) in real time without destroying ourselves first.

Although to many people, the most notable forms of renewable energy in generating clean electricity or fuel are nuclear, the wind and the sun, Waste-to-Energy technology or ideology is not new discovery in actual fact as plant material and animal waste has been used as a source of renewable energy since our ancestors learned the secret of fire (chemistry of fuel, oxygen and heat.)

From futuristic angle, Bio-waste stands to be the future’s renewable energy source in generating power; Bio-waste remains of the most preferred or common source of sustainable energy over other conventional sources renewable energy like the wind as new researchers have found them guilty of creating more greenhouse- gases than they actually save.  In a Scottish government-funded scientific research, the findings threatens the entire rationale of wind-to-energy as process is discovered  to increase  the life cycle carbon emissions when examined by the standard method,  devised by the researchers , used to calculate ‘carbon payback time ’ .

In the same vein, Nuclear may displace a lot of coal use or other fossil fuel for electricity, it faces years of political and technical headwinds and the industry will be challenged to maintain market share in the near term as older plants face decommissioning Until recently, biomass (plant material and animal waste) supplied far more ‘green’ electricity or “bio-power” than wind and solar power combined.

Another major advantage of bio-waste as renewable source of energy over other conventional renewable energy like the wind and the sun is that waste may help(perhaps as a catalyst ) in  cycling (harvesting and release- either directly or indirectly ) of energy from the sun, wind and other natural or atmospheric element of the earth that  are renewable sources of energy . For instance, when compared with solar form of renewable energy, waste reduces the dependence on photovoltic cells, whose efficiency in harvesting solar energy might have gone down to generate renewable electricity, heat or other sources of ‘bio-power’. In other words, waste has an increased efficiency of generated power from renewable energy. Likewise, in transforming biomass (bio-waste of human and the planet) into electricity that will power machines, we make more efficient use of the land and bio waste of humans and the plant   than converting biomass to ethanol or other oil and gas product that can power machines.

Carbon as Renewable Resource

More interestingly, new development in carbon-oxide based products have increasingly been discussing carbon conversion technology that treats CO2 as a resource rather than the known underground carbon sequestration technology that treats CO2 as waste.  The concept of the technology simply is to convert a certain CO2 into something useful or non-hazardous at the very least. That is, the technology utilises Carbon (major environmental liability) by converting it into a productive asset. It affords us to look at CO2 as a renewable resource for the future rather than pollution or waste to be disposed of at both high financial and environmental cost.

In the same vein, the world- international leaders – is increasingly shifting from the thinking and technology of Carbon Capture & Sequestration (CCS) to Carbon capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS), while trying Carbon capture, Utilization and Sequestration, while trying limitless method that might just help in curbing the problem of global warming that has been a negative ongoing issue since long ago. As such, it is held that the various carbon utilization technologies together have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 3.7 gigatons/year (Gt/y) (approximately 10 % of total current annual CO2 emissions), both directly and by reducing use of fossil fuels. However, much greater reductions are possible through wider adoption of these technologies.

Undeniably, with the adoption of carbon utilization technologies, if waste (above other conventional sources of sustainable energy) is used as renewable energy-source to generate electricity directly  or  to generate the gas/fuel which can power combustion plants or engines to produce electricity, then the life-cycle of greenhouse gas emissions will be effectively zeroed.  The devastating scientific prophesy that GHG emissions are expected to grow in coming decades despite the growth in renewable energy alternatives necessitates that the world would move its right leg in the direction of Waste-to-Energy technologies and its left leg in the way of Carbon-Utilization technologies in an effort that will effectively and efficiently absorb decisive fraction of GHG away from the atmosphere or environment. EIA shows that roughly 15 billion tonnes worth of carbon is being pumped into the atmosphere per year. That’s a hell lot!”

EIA_world%20CO2emissions_fuel%20type

 

Connection between Biowaste-to-Energy and Carbon-Utilization

NETL_CO2_utilization_1lgThe techniques and benefits of Biowaste-to-Energy is quite similar to that of Carbon-Utilization: the practice of Bio waste-to-energy can safely sequester carbon emission from the atmosphere while also displacing fossil fuels as a raw material, just like Carbon-Utilization.  That is, over time, the need and cost of taking care of carbon/waste whether as resource or liability is going to decline as energy system become more and more low carbon driven.

Both techniques can generate biomass; CO2 can be converted via chemical and electrochemical processes to other energy storage chemicals, such as syngas, formic acid, methane, ethylene, methanol, and dimethyl ether (DME) while bio-waste can produce energy storage chemicals such as ethanol, propanol, and butanol by method of fermentation. In other words, CO2, like human waste, can be used as a raw material (renewable energy sources) to produce electricity directly or the gas/fuel which can power combustion plants or engines to produce electricity, while also producing clean drinking water as bye-product.

Another key advantage and similarity of both technologies is scalability. The process of Bio waste-to-energy and CarbonUtilization allows for configurational-control of CO2 removal. This is important because industrial plants, power plant, energy and environmental polices around the world have unique designs requiring different CO2 removal configurations.

More so, Carbon-Utilization technologies like Biowaste-to-Energy technologies cleans, removes or captures SOx and NO2 from the  flue gas, and removes heavy metals such as mercury.

Also ,both technology remove or capture waste; while Carbon-Utilization technologies removes or captures waste from industrial waste streams, Biowaste-to-Energy technologies removes or captures waste from human  and the planet waste streams. The waste may be mineralized or gasified for various uses.

On one hand, it is well established that CO2 enhances the further production and recovery of oil from a depleting well by about 10 to 20 % of the original oil in place. In the U.S. alone, 89 billion barrels of oil could technically be recovered using CO2, leading to a storage of 16 Gt of CO2 in the depleted oil reservoirs. On the other hand, bio-waste is also said to be capable of increasing the further recovery of oil. That is, CO2 like bio-waste can be used to produce and recover energy storage chemicals like methane, ethanol and diesel.

Successful implementation of Carbon-Utilization technology establishes pathways for mitigating CO2 in areas where geologic storage, the predominant competing CO2 sequestration technology, is not an optimal solution. Likewise, Successful implementation of Biowaste-to-Energy technology establishes pathways for mitigating CO2 in developing countries like Nigeria where bio-waste are grossly ineffectively and inefficiently managed.

Biowaste-to-Energy and Carbon-Utilization have the added benefit of reducing water usage or increasing rain/water cycle since they produce producing clean drinking water as bye-product and increase the efficiency of eco-system cells, while also producing electricity directly or the gas/fuel which can power combustion plants or engines to produce electricity. By the same token, CO2, like bio-waste have a marginal benefit of reducing heat usage as they can be explored for some geothermal applications.

Though there are essentially three pathways for utilizing CO2: conversion of CO2 into fuel, utilization of CO2 as a feedstock for chemicals, and non-conversion use of CO2. CO2 can be a useful industrial feedstock and has a wide variety of potential applications: renewable resource for the future as they can processed into energy storage chemicals or fuels like ethanol and diesel, manufacture various polymeric materials like polymers and plastics, building materials, water ,chemical feedstock for commodity chemicals, enhance the further recovery of oil, solvent in processing many chemicals (e.g., flavor extraction), heat, scrubbing industrial flue gasses, removes heavy metals such as mercury, produces green chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid, bleach, detergent chlorine, and hydrogen, etc.

Overall, biomass can produce CO2; that this, Biowaste-to-Energy may produce CO2 as feedstock or raw material that may be taken up by Carbon-Utilization technology. However, Carbon-Utilization technology mainly utilizes the CO2 from combustion engine or plant and not from human waste.

Why and how Biowaste-to-Energy is more relevant than Carbon-Utilization to Africa (Nigeria)

As it stands, Carbon-Utilization holds more promise and meaning to developed countries like US and developing countries like China and India as coal is one of their largest source of global warming emissions since it is used to generate electricity. But, , Biowaste-to-Energy holds more potential for developing countries , particularly those in African continent like Nigeria, because of vast bio-waste present that are grossly ineffectively and inefficiently managed.  For example, Lagos State currently generates 13,000 metric tonnes of waste daily and over 3.5 million tonnes annually.

Why and how Bio-waste is the Future of renewable Energy (Fuel/Electricity) in Nigeria, Africa

19c4vstzz0h8gjpgThough Bio waste-to-Energy is not a widely embraced or known concept in Nigeria though organization like DMT MOBILE AND PORTABLE TOILETS, owned by late  Isaac Durojaiye a.k.a Otunba Gadaffi (SAN)   known with his famous quote “Shit Business is serious Business,” are doing their best and putting the concept in the front burner of energy discuss across the globe. Perhaps for the sake profit before other reasons, the company has realized that Bio waste-to-Energy, and not the ‘city-toilet ’, is the more proper solution to the massive untreated raw sewage that is dumped into the lagoon and rivers in some urban and rural areas or corners of our nation therefore constituting terrible health and sanitation hazards. Likewise, Bio waste-to-Energy is a growing field with research programs in the USA and Europe.

Bio-waste-to-energy project will help in solving the problem of at least 2 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to adequate sanitation, with their waste often polluting the water supply and remaining untreated. The renewable energy system poses to have a higher positive impact on urban air quality, smog formation, global warming and other environmental issues. That is, Biomass offers significant environmental and consumer benefits, including improving nature (forest) health, protecting air quality, and offering the most dependable renewable energy source

As such, we can no longer afford to look at bio-waste as pollution or waste to be disposed of; but rather as the future’s renewable resource to generate electricity or the gas/fuel which can power combustion plants or engines to produce electricityBio waste is, more or less, the only renewable resource Africa (Nigeria) has in abundance and can play a vital role in ensuring our future as a competitive economy.  Bio waste, as renewable energy resource, poses to be the essential large scale, commercially viable option for generating sustainable electricity.

Bio waste, as source or renewable energy (fuel/electricity) will reduce-to-eliminate  reliance on fossil fuel imports from exploiting controlling external sources would solve and reduce the shortages imposed and high prices of both these and produced electricity. Likewise, it will eliminate the need for foreign oil imports.  In fact, widespread adoption of bio-waste-to- electricity for vehicles could save over 1.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2035. Biomass fuels provided about 4 percent of the energy used in the United States in 2010. Today, the U.S. gets 14% of its electric power from renewables. In 25 years, Obama’s Energy Information Administration estimates this will have gone up just 3 percentage points to 17%.

Presently, the world moving toward a natural gas-dominated electricity system, but an over-reliance on natural gas has significant risks and is not a long-term solution to our energy needs. Like coal or other high carbon liquid fuel, it is a fossil fuel that generates substantial global warming emissions, and has other health, environmental, and economic risks.  . Even in the case of hydroelectric Projects, many environmental problems will arise in and around project area through deforestation.

Globally, the use of coal or other high carbon liquid fuel may be unable to completely go away but can be reduced For the next decades as gas remain the way to go, while we innovate cheaper green energy via bio-waste that hopefully over some decades will make the electricity generation worthwhile. Fossil fuels will generate 64% of U.S. electricity in 2040, although natural gas will gain four percentage points and lead to slightly cleaner power. As such Natural gas now accounts for about 22 percent of the world’s energy consumption. And the demand is growing. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the demand for natural gas will grow by approximately 56 percent through 2040.

Bio-waste could enable change for our society and environment as it can be utilize as a currently untapped resource in generating electricity, thereby contributing to reducing GHG emissions and be a major driver of innovation and growth.Waste may generate heat or clean water that may be used domestically, industrially   electricity generation.

Bio-waste can be useful in scrubbing industrial flue gasses from power plants that generate electricity, thereby purifying the atmosphere. That is, waste can displace existing scrubber technologies and eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars in capital expense and tens of millions of dollars in ongoing expenses. That is, Rather than people and the environment bear the punitive cost of nonrenewable energy source and waste, Bio-waste-to-energy offers a profitable enterprise with a growing market that could set off a virtuous cycle of ever improving carbon management techniques.

Bio Waste can also lead to Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) for electricity generation.  Thus, treating bio waste as an asset for sustainable electricity generation represents a sea-change in the approach to limiting GHG pollution.

 

Dominance of Gas Engine versus Electric Engine

Though the world is yet dominated by liquid fuels, the reality is that it take more decades before electric engines even make a dent in a market over gas engines. For both developing and developed countries, gas holds more promise over electricity as Electric engines like electric cars still tend to cost more, ahead of their gasoline-powered counterparts.

Out of pocket, the cost owning and maintaining gas engine is cheaper compared to both electric engines or liquid fuel engine since the price of diesel or petrol is more than that of gas. Likewise, cost of converting conventional liquid fuel engines to gas engines and the recurring expenses for the operation of the engine is low even as the conversion is a good option for incorporating alternative fuels into light- and heavy-duty fleet operations.

In Nigeria, I have researched the cost of conversion and found to be N15, 000 – N20, 000. I also seen and interviewed bus drivers (particular the travellers of Lagos- Osun route) whose vehicles have been converted and asked how cost-saving they have natural gas as alternative. It was gathered that with as low N1, 500 the buses can shuttle from Lagos to Ibadan, to and fro.

Also, the supply of fuel made readily available through pipelines has made gas engine or power plant more common to come by over other fuel forms. In Nigeria, oil and gas companies like, Seplat Petroleum Development Company is doubling its capacity and infrastructure network to deliver gas into the domestic market, noting that for the last three years, the company have not experienced any vandalization of their network.

Equally, gas fuel is found to be cheaper than electricity as fuel though Electricity prices are less likely to fluctuate than gas prices because the price of electricity is determined by local markets or private/state-owned power companies, while gasoline prices are linked to the global oil market, which can be influenced by unpredictable events abroad. On the heels of new technologies, natural-gas will dispense more energy at lower cost than electricity thereby increasing people’s income and saving them tax cost.

Electric car surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars. A new research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found out that if the U.S. has 10% more gasoline cars in 2020, 870 more people will die each year in the U.S. from air pollution. Hybrids, because they are cleaner, will kill just 610 people. But 10% more electric vehicles powered on the average U.S. electricity mix will kill 1,617 more people every year, mostly from coal pollution. The electric car kills almost three times as many as a hybrid. However, at present-day subsidies, they would cost a phenomenal $188 billion while creating more pollution than gasoline cars, costing about $35 billion in lives cut short by poor air quality. For every dollar of cost, the electric car does less than half a cent of good.

More importantly, Electric cars or engines  remain unsuccessful at  lowering  air pollution over gas because they  it only push emissions  far away from the city centers where more people live and where damage from air pollution may be greatest. In other words, they may reduce petroleum use engines or vehicles but shift emission back to the power grid via the increasing of coal to power their electric plants. Overall, CNG and LNG are both clean-burning fuels and perform well against current vehicle emissions standards when compare to electricity as it relate to coal burning. Over other commercial sources of energy, gas fuel poses to have a higher positive impact on urban air quality, smog formation, global warming and other environmental issues.

In developed nations like US, fueling infrastructures for electric cars or combustion engines is well promoted — so far- as it is quite easier to connect a charger to the grid than it is to build a CNG fueling station. However, in developing counties like ours, natural gas infrastructures like CNG cars/engines and gas power plants to generate electricity already exist to a large extent. That is, fueling infrastructure is certainly an issue for electric cars/engines over CNG vehicles/engines in this part of the world. In contrast to the fact that electric car/engine infrastructure is expanding rapidly, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and throughout California, Nigeria is as well witnessing see expansion of CNG stations and economy, particularly those concerned with electricity generation. In addition, conversion technologies for engines (vehicles) from other forms of liquid fuel to gas fuel is equally gaining ground. There are only a few electric cars in Nigeria which are quite uneconomical as opposed to gas vehicles.

However, since gas fuel (natural gas) is presently one of the world’s largest scale of commercial, environmental friendly, effective and efficient energy source among non-renewable resources used especially for power generation in our nation, it is demanded that we increase our effort in our method of gas production, particularly the raw material – fossil fuel. That is, though switching coal for natural gas for electricity generation is helpful in lowering CO2 but Switching coal/liquid fuel or natural gas for biomass will decisively reduce emission on its own with regards to climate change.

As such, the world can essentially transit from non-renewable energy sources to renewable energy sources by transforming bio-waste to energy (electricity / fuel) which will yield a tangible reduction in carbon emission from the atmosphere while also displacing fossil fuels as a raw material for generating electricity. It is at this point that future of gas as fuel meets with the future of generating electricity.

 

How to Achieve the Holy grail of Clean Electricity and Fuel from Bio-waste-to-Energy

In achieving the Holy Grail of sustainable environment, Government and investors must be committed to the development and operation of renewable energy/electricity projects on the platform of bio-waste.

Bear in mind that before now there is little  business model for waste but now , Bio-waste-to-energy technologies has injects profits, financial incentives and dynamic government policies, therefore, investors need to be sourced and encouraged  to engage the growing  waste-to- energy/ electricity industry  across the globe . As in the case for Nigeria, it is said that because of fear of President Muhammadu Buhari and the involvement of highly placed investors/stakeholder over time in gas (CNG, LNG, LPG) business   , its economy has greatly increased and stabilized. In the same way, bio-waste-to-energy needs both the government support and heavyweight investors for it to have a robust economy.

Also, laws (particularly environmental compliance laws) as it relate to waste-to-energy must be created. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring all fuels and vehicle types to meet the same thresholds for tailpipe emissions of air pollutants. That is, it is legally encouraged  that conversions of combustion engines(vehicle) from liquid fuel to CNG or LNG must be performed  carefully and reputably with  qualified system retrofitter as  EPA’s emissions requirements and regulations apply to vehicles converted to run on CNG or LNG. EPA requires conversion system manufacturers to demonstrate that converted vehicles or engines meet or exceed the same emissions standards as the original vehicle or engine.

Our nation need smart government policies (like the passage of Waste-to- Energy Industry Bill) which will incentivize investment in bio-waste-to-energy technology—helping move Africa, particularly Nigeria, toward a cleaner and safer future.  Investors may put together highly skilled professionals who can evaluate your needs, design a project that will maintain environmental compliance and provide our nation with a new source of revenue via renewable energy source, bio-waste. Equally, Smart entrepreneurs would quickly figure out how to use waste as feedstock (which they will actually be paid to use) in a profitable manner, like electricity generation. It’s easy for the investor in waste-energy project to turn a profit — making it an attractive investment for entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Waste is an effective alternative for producing a cleaner environment for all to live and work in. To encourage the use of the biofuels, competitive prices combined with good marketing techniques and Policies are required. Policies must be put in place to create an exciting tipping point in strategic partnering, investment, and construction that drives rapid growth in commercialization of waste-to-energies technologies. The Investment and involvement of some of the world`s largest players in power and other industrial sectors (private or public) in waste-to-energy projects for profit making must be encouraged as We need to create financial incentives that would develop a robust market to utilize bio-waste as an industrial feedstock fuel or electricity generation. Bio-waste-to-energy is profitable venture and must be promoted as such.

There should be a form of ‘Bio-waste-to-energy Products Pricing Regulatory Agency’ to continually dish out directives on sustainable pricing templates that would enhance the supply of energy via waste. That is, government should develop a sustainable model for a waste-to-energy industry. In other words, there should be a Bio-waste-to-energy master plan.

Increasingly, there is need to commoditize waste to generate bio-electricity or bio-fuel if we expect to have any hope of dealing with global warming. Bio-waste-to-energy needs the catalyst of a sufficiently strong pricing in order to be ignited. In other words, Bio-waste-to-energy market will expand further as a sizable bio-waste price continues to incentivize the “production” of large quantities of biomass for electricity generation. For example, it is said that 1.5 kilo watt electricity can be produced from one cubic metre biogas. Depending upon the percentage of methane content in biogas, the power generation may slightly vary.

Though strong bio-waste pricing and equivalent regulatory mechanism will ultimately be necessary to drive widespread commercial deployment of Biowaste-to-energy, Our Leaders and authorities need to promote awareness   that would lead to widespread implementation of Bio-waste-to-energy, which is already existing or available. The technology needs exposure and widespread development. As such, Policy makers and the sustainable energy forum or media, both nationally and globally, have to be enamored of waste-to-energy concept and technology for generating electricity and fuel for combustion engines, lavishing them with the need attention and incentives.

Beyond assumption governments and individuals need to see that Waste-to-energy can be a significant means of decarbonizing environment to make it more climate-friendly as Waste-to-energy offers policy makers options to offset the costs of the reducing CO2 emissions. Every African need to be aware of the fuel cost benefits associated with using gas engines, going by tenets of sustainable economy and environment for our nation and continent.

Also, Waste Infrastructure (for example waste/biomass pipeline) have to be established and operational. Biomass like Natural gas or CO2 can be mainly transported in pipelines from natural deposits and waste processing plants for industrial purposes like electricity generation. Bio waste provides the needed vast amount of very cheap non-fossil energy to generate electricity at the same time lower emission but gap between the prosperity and reality of the new environment or energy source is the development   of new infrastructure that is taped to bio-waste -to -energy. That is, it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ as Bio-waste-to-energy do not only hold lot of possibilities, it is also an increasing reality.

Bio waste is an asset and shouldn’t be left stranded like other renewable energy source on the basis of lack of infrastructure and operational strategies. The implementation of   Bio-waste -to -energy may require a massive infrastructure of sewer lines and plants that is feasible and cost-effective in many emerging countries like ours. Government should be tasked to facilitate Bio-waste-to-energy infrastructure development as a separate area of focus. The need to develop a properly run and computerized Local, state and federal Bio-waste-to-energy infrastructure network or master plan that can even get to an export pipeline is essential in driving biomass as renewable source of energy. The guarantee availability, ease of access for all players (big and small), safety and efficient delivery of energy from waste to end users.

However, it is observed that the witnessed low economic growth of other renewable energy sources (that have earlier penetrated the energy market to generate electricity) is due low investment and the poor general and moral support of major oil companies, investors and the oil industry at large- one of the most powerful sector of the nation’s economy. This may be partially due to non-similarities or distant relationship inherent the processes and operational strategies of generating energy (electricity) from wind or sun when compared with bio-waste. In order words, bio waste beats out other sources of renewable energy because it stands a higher chance of being invested in by highly capitalized or equitized and moralized   oil industry, companies and investors in the nation because the process of generating energy from bio-waste is more synonymous to that generating other conventional and non-renewable energy that are already in existence. By implication, some of the existing infrastructures and resources can be utilized by the companies there by making the venture more attractive to them at the interest of a sustainable national and global economy and environment.

The involvement of oil industry is inseparable from the gas industry   as gas is produced in association with oil production. As such, you find an ever increasing relationship between oil companies and gas companies whether state owned or privately owned. Almost all oil major oil companies in the nation has an active gas division or enterprise in their portfolio. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of the NNPC. Seplat, the topmost indigenous oil independent firm recently unveiled its plan to hit 500 million scfpd gas output by 2017. Other oil firms, both indigenous and foreign, are not left out of this trend. As such, the relationship of oil and gas economies, altogether affects the power generation.

Furthermore, the fallen oil price which has greatly distressed the nation’s economy and  culminated into the recent plan of federal government to reduce  fuel subsidy have a backlash in the power sector because of the inherent or inevitable relationship among the sectors. As such renewable energy sources, particularly bio waste-to-energy, have an increased role to play in the dynamism of energy-power sector. We need energy companies that would stand inspite of low oil prices and won’t be washed up by the global price mechanism of oil industry which is often heavily saddled with instability.

In present times, when it comes to making choices regarding fuel, the most important factor now doubles in terms of price and eco-friendliness. With the constantly increasing demand and steadily decreasing supply, fuel choice has become the most debated topic in almost every sphere. However, across regions that depend heavily or lightly on conventional fossil fuels for electricity generation, Bio-waste-to-energy poses to not demonstrate emissions benefit.

As a nation, Bio-waste can help to conserve both the sources (renewable and nonrenewable) and product of the nation’s energy and power thereby increasing the country’s energy reserve and exportation business. On the other hand, it can to further diversify the energy economy why also increasing the indigenousness our private sector. If a company like Seplat spread its investment tentacle or portfolio towards the waste-to-energy direction, we would definitely be experience a more diversified and indigenous economy which will translate to sustain economic growth of our nation. Altogether, it will transformed from increased GDP for the nation.

In summary, though the electricity supply industry is fraught with multifaceted challenges,the present challenges of the power sector is no more gas supply but foremost technical challenges like the renewability source of gas fuel above other challenges like network instability load management, , operation and maintenance difficulties, defective delivery/dispatch and planning systems as well as under-funding. The solution being provided herein on the basis of Bio-waste-to-energy will go a long way in energy efficiency, modernized infrastructure, clean energy , smart financial planning and as the platform of  contribute  to the world’s  intelligible and  strategic vision and sustainability goals, particular that of global warming.

Marrying the postulation of seplat that By the end of 2018,j ust to power alone, domestic demand for gas would be about three billion cubic feet (bcf) and the postulation by Clean Energy Group that Manufacturers can save over 30 per cent in energy cost with diesel-to-gas migration, it is not surprising that Gas generators and plants are increasingly used in larger cities and smaller since the supply of fuel is made readily available through pipelines. Considering the fact that it is estimated that by 2035, the world will produce 15 Gt/y of CO2 from burning liquid fuels, gas-fuel-to-power presently takes the lead in the race  of  economic and environmental sustainability while waste-to-energy is groomed to its it place in the race in the soonest future. In other words, gas have an overall  higher  advantage than the rest source of energy in generating electricity  , the advent of bio-waste to-energy,  is far more environment friendly and the enterprise is growing in the global energy market.

In closing, while other Renewable energy resources like wind and solar power generate electricity with little or no pollution and global warming emissions—and could reliably and affordably provide up to 40 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050 , bio-waste-to-energy promise more  to Africa or Nigeria economically, socially, environmentally and more as Bio-waste to-energy  can diligently help us a nation to grow value locally in the energy sector that world spread around the world and translate to sustainable economic and environmental growth and development. It the future for is the future and the key to unlocking the economic potential of Nigeria and improving the living standards of the average Nigerian.

Rephrasing the true words of late Isaac Durojaiye a.k.a Otunba Gadaffi (SAN)   “Shit Business is serious Business, Bio-waste business is serious business. However, how serious it gets depends on how much the world can tap into the potentials of Bio-waste-to-energy.