Professor Emenike Ejiogu, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), unveiled a visionary proposal on Thursday. His plan is to infuse an impressive 7,000 megawatts of electricity into every one of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas using cutting-edge gasification technology.
Professor Ejiogu, who also serves as the Director of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Power and Energy Development (ACE-SPED), emphasized the urgent need for Nigeria to embrace an energy diversification strategy to avert the crippling energy crisis that currently plagues its economy. He pointed out that the traditional national power grid falls woefully short in satisfying the nation’s ever-growing energy demands.
This significant announcement came during Professor Ejiogu’s 190th Inaugural Lecture at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium within UNN. He went on to highlight the potential of the gasification plant, stating that it has the capacity to generate a remarkable 10,000 megawatts of electricity, thus promising to illuminate and empower all of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas through decentralized energy production.
While presenting the topic of the lecture titled ‘My Engineering Odyssey: Energy Security, Energy Sustainability and Bringing Power to the People,’ he explained that the gasification plant is an engineering system which 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 amount 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 locally. 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 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 to 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.