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Experts seek cheaper measures on climate change

By Victor Gbonegun
22 August 2022   |   2:36 am
Amid worries that problem of climate change will exacerbate by increasing emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), especially Carbon dioxide (CO2), experts have made case for cheaper and easier mitigation alternatives

Amid worries that the problem of climate change will exacerbate by the increasing emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), especially Carbon dioxide (CO2), experts have made case for cheaper and easier mitigation alternatives to be integrated into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

They lamented that measures like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) are financially exhausting and are not affordable for many developing nations including Nigeria.

The expert spoke at a workshop on: “Carbon Mineralisation Using Industrial Wastes: Affordable Contributions of Countries to Paris Agreement,” organised by the Education and Research sectoral group of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE).

Advancing the position, a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Osun State University, Dr. Luqman Abidoye, said developing nations could take advantage of abundant natural minerals and industrial wastes, rich in metallic oxides to mineralise CO2 emissions from various industrial and domestic sources, with a view to meeting NDCs of the Paris Agreement. He said this would also help to take economic advantage of the carbon credit policy.

Abidoye said myriads of these wastes could be found in steel industries, aluminium processing industries, mineral exploration sites, agricultural wastes, oil exploration industries and others.

He said: “Ocean water in Lagos and across the coast of many cities in the Niger Delta can also be harnessed to promote mineral carbonation at scale. This is an affordable option to meet Nigeria’s 2050 long-term low emission policy towards the fulfilment of the commitment to the Paris Agreement.

“The global reliance on fossil fuels is increasing. Emissions may not abate in the near term. Meanwhile, governments are introducing stricter environmental regulations to control emissions of GHG and other harmful pollutants, as well as new initiatives for environmental technology, waste recovery and recycling.”

Abidoye revealed that the average global temperature on earth has increased by at least 1.1° Celsius, storms and droughts are becoming more intense, Polar ice caps are melting, thus, causing oceans to rise. He added that low coastal areas are flooding, animals are losing their habitats and there are record-smashing heat waves.

He further said if not abated, the amazon rainforest could die off, sea level can go above 10-meters in centuries to come, and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica may vanish while low-lying places may disappear.

According to him, urgent mitigation must include carbon capture, CCS, cryogenic carbon capture (CCC), carbon mineralisation, carbon capture utilisation and storage, decarbonisation of fuel and efficiency of energy and fuel system.

He said: “The carbon capture and storage challenge, include leakage of the stored gas back into the atmosphere, contamination of the nearby aquifer, seismicity of the storage area. “Meanwhile, many countries do not possess storage capacity. Also, CCS is costly and unbearable for many developing nations. Those countries could adopt ex-situ mineral carbonation for CO2 fixation. It is cheaper to perform carbonation using minerals and developing nations and Islands with little or no capacity for storage can turn to ex-situ carbonation to save the climate,” he said.

The Coordinator, Education and Research sectoral group of NSChE, Dr. Muritala Ibrahim, said: “Each year, billions of tonnes of alkaline feedstock for carbon mineralisation could be produced from some industrial wastes associated with the manufacturing of iron and steel, coal combustion, and fertiliser. In some circumstances, mineralising these wastes might greatly minimise their disposal costs and negative environmental effects. But in developed nations, a sizable percentage of this garbage is already put to good use in ways that help the environment. By incorporating CO2 into solid rock, carbon mineralisation offers the most long-lasting method of CO2 removal and sequestration currently accessible.”

He added that to accomplish the 2050 goals, it is predicted that up to six billion tonnes of CO2 will need to be eliminated, which implies a huge opportunity for new jobs (direct and indirect jobs), new markets and economic diversification across the globe, adding that Nigeria should not be left out.

“Supports for research, start-ups and spin-off must be highly encouraged, as there is a lot of potential for utilizing CO2 to synthesize products with enhanced properties. Also, it is possible for carbon mineralization to be integrated after the energy conversion process to produce new products or integrated with the hydrogen synthesis process,” Ibrahim said.

He assured that the group would continue to enhance and encourage platforms for collaboration amongst the universities, government agencies, research institutes and industry partnerships and collaboration process for the generation and commercialisation of new knowledge for use in industry.