Cross River and the entire South-South produce enormous amounts of waste. A host of technologies are now available for realizing the potential of waste as an energy source. Three main conversion pathways shall be employed which include:
i) Thermochemical conversion: Combustion of waste has been used for many years as a means of reducing waste volume. This conversion method is suitable for low moisture feedstock and involves incineration, pyrolysis and gasification. Pyrolysis and gasification are refined thermal treatment methods and are good alternatives to incineration Note: Electricity can also be generated by burning sawdust/wood waste (biomass), tires and other plastic materials..
ii) Biochemical conversion (anaerobic digestion and fermentation): Preferred for waste with high percentage of organic (biodegradable) matter with high moisture content such as Municipal waste. Anaerobic digestion is a highly reliable technology for the treatment of wet, organic waste. Land fills are good methods of converting waste to energy. Methane gas is generally produced as garbage decomposes in a landfill. This gas can be captured, refined and utilized as of energy.
iii) Physico-chemical Conversion : This technology involves various processes to improve the physical and chemical properties of solid waste. The combustible fraction of the waste is converted into high-energy fuel pellets which may be used in steam generation. Fuel pellets have several distinct advantages over coal and wood because it is cleaner, free from incombustibles has lower ash and moisture content , uniform size and cost-effective and eco-friendly.
Biogas digester technologies are available world-wide. The center will domesticate these technologies and initiate a number of pilot plants in the region. Considering the huge amounts of waste produced in the country , there is need to have more detailed research that will encourage the construction of additional biogas plants to complement.
Cross River and the South-South region is also endowed with enormous fossil fuel and cooking oil waste which can be converted into biodiesel through simple processes of acid catalyzed esterification or based catalyzed transesterification.
Sun light is the ultimate source of energy in the universe where all other elements in the chain get their energies. Solar energy or power is the utilization of sun light for generation of electricity. The energy generated by the sun can be converted into electricity by direct methods using Photovoltaic systems or indirect methods where sun energy is focused to boil and heat water which is then used to generate electricity. Cross River state and by extension Nigeria is positioned within the tropics with enormous sun light which can be converted into electricity.
Wind power is the utilization and conversion of wind to provide energy for electricity generation. Nigeria has enough wind capacity to generate substantial amount of electricity. Wind energy conversion systems (wind turbines, wind generators, wind plants, wind machines and wind dynamos) are devices which convert kinetic energy of moving air to rotary motion of a shaft that is mechanical energy. The technologies for harnessing are available but would require research for local adaptations. The centre will provide the basis of such research.
Hydro – Power
Nigeria is endowed with enormous water resources for effective hydro-electricity generation. Although a number of hydro-electric systems are currently operative in the country there is need for more efficiency which can be obtained through research. Agbokin water falls, Qua falls etc in CRS are not yet utilized for electricity generation. This center will provide the fulcrum of research through which these and other falls around the region can be fully utilized for electricity generation.
Prof. Edward. Ntui Okey