By Michael Eboh
Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, has unveiled a pilot plant for the production of Zeolite catalyst, an important chemical substance for petroleum refining and for a variety of applications in the petrochemical industry.
The PTDF, in a statement in Abuja, stated that its Executive Secretary, Mr. Femi Ajayi commissioned the plant located in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, shortly after the close-out and end of tenure lecture by the PTDF chair occupant, Professor A.S Ahmed, who discovered the novel technology.
According to the PTDF, the major raw material used in the development of the product is the Kankara clay, obtained from Kankara local government area of Katsina state.
Ajayi, who was represented by the General Manager, Nigerian Content Department, PTDF, Ms Jacquelin Guyil, stated that in recognition of this breakthrough, the PTDF had filed for and obtained the intellectual property right and patent on Zeolite Y catalyst, while the IPR/P on Zeolite ZSM-5 is being processed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
He further stated that the PTDF had commenced the process of developing an acceptable and implementable template on the research commercialization with a view to reaping dual benefits of achieving its mandate and opening a window for additional source of revenue.
He said, “Further to this sound success, our humble expectation is that oil and gas operators will buy-in and collaborate with PTDF in a bid to effectively standardize this noble research product for national use by the existing four refineries.
“In line with the vision of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, PTDF will continue to fund and support the production of locally synthesized Zeolite for both national and international use.
“It is our desire to ensure that our hard-earned foreign exchange is saved by making the Zeolite catalyst locally available for industrial use.”
Ajayi further stated that the PTDF had already successfully patented five researches and is also processing three more that have met the highest expected standards for commercialisation.
“Let me appeal to the next chair occupant to ensure that the successes recorded in Zeolite development and deployment is not only sustained, but have more products synthesized for global industry use.
“PTDF is willing to collaborate with all stakeholders to domicile research products of high standard for global use, while developing the capacity of our local researchers, in-country.”
Ajayi reiterated the Fund’s resolve to continue to invest in research as one of the vehicles through which the PTDF mandate is being achieved.
He said, “In Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the issue of Zeolite development is today a success story. It is with delight and high sense of fulfillment to note the tremendous breakthrough in application of novel technology in Zeolite development for industrial use in the country.
“I congratulate the chair occupant Professor A S Ahmed whose tenure is coming to an end as well as Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for this great feat.”
In his response, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ibrahim Garba, thanked the PTDF for endowing a professorial chair in the university, described the effort as a practical demonstration of a collaboration that provides solutions to problems.
He pointed out that the PTDF’s epoch making effort in research has strong potential in realizing Nigeria’s dream of becoming an industrialized nation using local content.
He said, “We have taken time to develop this idea, conceived and executed it. We are happy that after five years’ effort we are able to bring a unique product through a novel process on Zeolite Y and ZM-5 and we are happy with the collaboration between PTDF and ABU.
“We hope that PTDF will continue to give us support, as we have all the potential to develop any other kind of novel process for the growth of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and the country as a whole.”