February 28, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nigerian Government Agency Launches Microdistillery and Stoves to Provide Sustainable Ethanol Fuel for Household Cooking, Lighting and Small-Scale Power Generation
The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), a parastatal under the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, has commissioned the installation of an efficient microdistillery (EMD) with a capacity to produce 1,000 liters of ethanol per day from local crops and crop wastes. The EMD will be located in NABDA’s Ogbomosho Bioresource Center. The Center is located on a prime cassava and cashew belt in Ogbomosho Community, Oyo State, Nigeria.
The project will pilot the production of advanced bioethanol from waste and non-food-grade crops for use as cooking fuel in rural households in the surrounding communities of Ogbomosho. Bioethanol fuel for cooking has been shown to mitigate the effects of indoor air pollution caused by the use of firewood and kerosene. Reliance on dirty and poorly combusting fuels creates a major risk for women and children in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
NABDA is working in collaboration with private sector organizations Premium Ranch Farm Limited and Primera Agricultura Limited. It is being assisted by Project Gaia, a non-profit organization long active in Nigeria, dedicated to promoting the use of alcohol fuels. The project is the first of its kind in Nigeria and one of the first in Africa. It is designed to support the Federal Government of Nigeria Transformation Agenda, which aims at socio-economic development of the rural areas. Small-scale fuel ethanol production will provide new and stable markets to Nigeria’s eight million cassava farmers who produce annually some 38 million tons of cassava, more than any other nation.
The EMD is provided by Green Social Bioethanol (GREEN), a Brazilian family-owned company specializing in small-scale bioethanol technologies for social projects. GREEN distilleries produce between 500 and 3,000 liters of ethanol per day; they may be operated in continuous mode and use a unihydrolyzing process with cool-temperature enzymes. The NABDA distillery will rely on non-food grade cassava and cassava pieces, as well as the cashew apple, which is discarded when cashew nuts are harvested. Both cassava and cashew apples have a short life after harvest and must be processed quickly. The EMD will be located adjacent to the cassava fields and cashew tree plantations.
Top: Green Social Bioethanol distillery in Esmeralda, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Photo by Project Gaia.
Bottom: Discarded cashew apples at Ogmobosho. Photo by Project Gaia.
The NABDA project brings the distillery together with an initial 1,000 CleanCook ethanol stoves, a safe, efficient stove developed by the Dometic Group and selected by Project Gaia for use in Africa. These stoves create a reliable market for ethanol fuel, while ethanol from the EMD satisfies the need of nearby communities for modern cooking fuel.
The CleanCook stove is used in rural and urban Ethiopian households and has been widely pilot tested in several countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Malawi, Kenya and Brazil. The CleanCook has proved popular with consumers and has achieved an exemplary safety record. Studies conducted by Project Gaia in Delta State, Nigeria, in 2006 and 2007 showed that households preferred cooking with alcohol and the CleanCook stove over LPG, kerosene and firewood. It is the aim of NABDA to provide a cheaper fuel alternative than imported kerosene. A growing fuel supply crisis and Nigeria’s need to move to a market-based approach for fuel pricing has made this an urgent priority.
The NABDA EMD will serve as a model for small-scale, distributed clean energy production in Nigeria. It will be available for widespread replication. A growing reliance on fuel ethanol will help to stabilize cassava prices. New markets for the by-products of ethanol production will be created. The solids from fermentation and distillation, enhanced by yeast and enzymes, will go to livestock feed, fertilizer and compost. The liquids, which have fertilizer value, will be used for irrigation.
NABDA believes that developing Nigeria’s capacity to produce ethanol from waste and non-food-grade crops will achieve energy security as well as social and economic development through the strengthening or creation of rural livelihoods. NABDA is charting a strategy for Nigeria to reduce its dependency on foreign refined petroleum fuels while diversifying its energy supply with the capacity to produce bioethanol fuel on a small scale.
Mr. Joe Obueh – Director, Project Gaia Nigeria
Ms. Gulce Askin – Project Coordinator, Project Gaia, Inc.