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Biofuel: Don urges govt to invest in massive oil crops plantation

By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo

A PROFESSOR of Renewable Energy (Mechanical Engineering) at the Osun State University, Osogbo, Prof. Oguntola Jelil Alamu has tasked the Nigerian government on the need to engage in massive oil crops plantation dedicated primarily for biofuel use.

Delivering the 10th inaugural lecture of the university with the theme: Sourcing Renewable Fuel for Diesel Engines, the former Vice-Chancellor of the university asked the federal government especially to make an aggressive use of domestic, renewable energy-options like palm kernel oil (PKO) as a means of decreasing its dependence on refined petroleum product imports.

Doing this, Alamu said would not only reduce the nation’s reliance on single-commodity economy, but would also strengthen the nation’s energy security.

Fastest growing alternatve fuels

The researcher added that biodiesel is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing alternatve fuels in the world besides providing environmental benefits with lower emissions unlike that of the petroleum that has high emissions profile.

He said, “In sourcing for renewable fuel for diesel engine, Oguntola Jelil Alamu and his research collaborators processed PKO biodiesel, optimised and characterised it as diesel fuel. Biodiesel from coconut oil and a few non-edible oil crops such as castor oil was also processed, optimised and characterised as diesel fuel.

Fuel properties of the biodiesel produced were tested following the ASTM standards while engine performance test was conducted on diesel engine to obtain results for torque and power at various engine speeds. Generally, results obtained were found to be in good agreement and within limits set by a number of International Standards for biodiesel.

The results will, no doubt, contribute to baseline data needed for future replacement of conventional diesel with renewable biodiesel to power diesel engine.

The don emphasised the need for the Nigeria biofuel policy to be implemented with total commitment saying that the nation should produce renewable feedstock such as vegetable oils and fats to keep the cost of biodiesel competitive with petroleum.

“Globally, there is the dire need for massive oil crops plantation dedicated primarily for biofuel use. Nigeria can decrease its dependence on refined petroleum product imports by an aggressive use of domestic, renewable energy options.

The Nigeria biofuel policy should also be implemented with total commitment. This will not only reduce reliance on single-commodity economy as well as abate importation of refined petroleum products in Nigeria, but it will also strengthen the nation’s energy security.

Alternative renewable fuel, found in vegetable oils is characterised by high viscosties thus limiting their applicatons as fuel. However,the use of transesterified vegetable oils as fuel has been yielding successful results besides being a domestic, renewable resource that provides environmental benefits with lower emissions.

Due to its clean emissions profile, ease of use, and many other benefits, biodiesel is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing alternatve fuels in the world. With minimal subsidy, biodiesel is cost competitive with petroleum diesel, and millions of users have found and enjoyed the benefits of the fuel.

The future of biodiesel lies in the world’s ability to produce renewable feedstock such as vegetable oils and fats to keep the cost of biodiesel competitive with petroleum, without supplanting land necessary for food production or destroying natural ecosystems in the process.

Creating biodiesel in a sustainable manner will allow this clean, renewable, and cost effective fuel to help ease the increasing shortages of petroleum, while providing economic and environmental benefits well into the 21st century,” he stressed.


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