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Generating electricity, cooking gas from urine, biodegradable waste

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
18 March 2021   |   3:03 am
The Federal Government is partnering with an indigenous firm, Lumos Laboratories Nigeria Limited, to establish a comprehensive waste management system for the production of biogas

Using urine to generate electricity

*FG, Lumos laboratories partner to establish a waste management system
for production of biogas from urine in correctional centres nationwide

The Federal Government is partnering with an indigenous firm, Lumos Laboratories Nigeria Limited, to establish a comprehensive waste management system for the production of biogas from urine and biodegradable wastes that would be used to generate electricity and cooking gas in correctional centers across the country.

Speaking at a workshop in Abuja, the Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Charles Ike, said the technology would be deployed to Kuje correctional centre and all correctional facilities in the country as well as public places like markets and abattoirs among others.

He noted the technology that will produce renewable energy that can deliver clean and climate-smart energy is an indigenous technology for converting urine and feces into biogas for electricity generation and cooking gas.

He said the workshop was organised to engage with critical stakeholders on the project and get their input and buy-in.

Also, speaking, the inventor of the technology and the Lead Consultant for Lumos Laboratories, Ejikeme Patrick Nwosu, said the use of firewood fossil fuel and carbon-rich fuels causes deforestation, environmental and climatic disorders adding that no nation can claim to be strong until it is energy independent.

Nwosu, who is also a chemist, observed that Nigeria could tackle her energy crisis by deploying indigenous technology.

He said: “Nigeria is not energy independent despite its huge population and high tonnes of wastes being generated in the country. If we manage the wastes well, we will generate energy that could be used to solve our nagging energy problems. We are collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Environment on how to manage wastes from the correctional centres into gases for cooking and generating electricity and to keep the correctional facilities clean.”

Nwosu stated that the bye products of the technology are used to produce fire-resistant paints.

On his part, Deputy Comptroller, Corrections, Water and Sewage Treatment at the Nigeria Correctional Service, Raymond Jatau, said the deployment of the indigenous technology is a highly beneficial initiative and a solution that came at a very challenging time when facilities that were designed for very few inmates are now under pressure due to serve the increasing number of inmates across the country put at 67,000 inmates.

He said: “We generate huge waste which is not properly disposed of, thereby making our host communities always engage us and complain. We try our best to bring waste disposal trucks but they end up disposing them into the environment.”

The Guardian had, in 2017, reported that Nwosu and his team of researchers had fabricated equipment that converts urine into flammable gases, biomethane, and hydrogen-rich gases, with 100 per cent indigenous technological inputs.

Nwosu, a graduate of Pure and Industrial Chemistry from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (NAU), Anambra State with Masters of Science degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo State, told The Guardian that a blend of these gases- biomethane and hydrogen-rich gases- can be effectively used to run a gas turbine generator to give the nation over 11,250 megawatts hours of electricity.

Biomethane is a 100 per cent renewable energy source produced by the natural breakdown of organic material: green waste, household waste, agricultural waste, food industry waste, and even industrial waste.

Nwosu further explained: “According to the 2011 National Agricultural Sample Survey, Nigeria was endowed with an estimated 19.5 million cattle, 72.5 million goats, 41.3 million sheep, 7.1 million pigs, and 28,000 camels. If these animals are properly ranched, the wastes collected and processed over 10,000 Megawatts of electricity will be generated as well from these animals.

“From this analysis, it is obvious that the solution to epileptic power supply we encounter is within our reach. By end of this year or the latest 2018 first quarter, I hope to develop the most efficient means of running cars fully on urine. The research is ongoing and I have no doubt what a determined mind can achieve.”

He added: “We have also put up another plant (digester) that converts solid biodegradable wastes to biomethane. These plants are located somewhere in Abuja outskirt. In the plant, we have been able to generate and use the produced gases to cook for long times and to power generators.”

Nwosu is hopeful that some of the private firms and donor agencies his team has written to will respond positively so that they can make this technology available in homes, hospitals, prisons, and others.

“We are not relenting though; we will be installing this plant at some private farms and facilities any moment this year,” he said.

Nwosu, in 2014, obtained a patent for his pioneer work in converting urine into flammable gases. The breakthrough raised the hope of the world using urine to solve its energy crisis.

Nwosu got Patent No NG/P/20/2013/699 for developing a process for conversion of urine into hydrogen-ammonia-rich flammable gases and fire-resistant materials.