It has become very disheartening nowadays that the purportedly great nation on the African continent, Nigeria, which arrogated to itself, “The Giant of Africa,” cannot produce sufficient energy to meet up its domestic consumption, let alone its industrial and export purposes. The protracted and dastardly energy upheavals in Nigeria are worrisome, hence the need for other proactive energy alternatives.
It would be recalled that, the nation has been incessantly undergoing the rigmarole of impotent policy permutations in its bid to ameliorate its protracted and hydra-headed power supply challenges. Meanwhile, billions of Naira had been gulped by the power sector through a concatenation of successive administrations, but without any monumental achievement. However, all efforts made by the government have been proving perilously abortive. Consequently, most commercial activities and investments in the country seem to be at the brink of comatose or more precisely, they are drastically tilting towards moribund.
Many times in the past, the nation’s energy and power technocrats had exerted strenuous efforts to develop policies capable of revolutionizing the power sector, particularly, in the field of biogas production (i.e. production of gas from organic materials); however, such efforts seldom yielded any positive results.
Nevertheless, the intensive biogas research embarked upon by the Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil (KUST), has started proving the affirmative, as startling results have started emerging. In fact, the research would go a long way projecting the reputable citadel of learning and research (KUST), to a superlative stature, vis-à-vis its peers in the same area of research.
Further, KUST has indisputably presented splendiferous potentials for exploring biogas in quantities capable of sustaining both domestic and commercial purposes. Importantly, if provided with all the requisite support and enabling environment through collaborations and synergies with all stakeholders (public and private, NGOs, et al.), KUST can pride itself of unleashing and breaking the insurmountable jinx of power conundrums in the nation.
Recently, KUST had in its bid to turn around its fortunes as well as those of its proximate and distant environs with the ever available, cheap, and sustainable resources, landed at a novel discovery, by producing domestic gas from organic substances, using highly scientific techniques. During the process, a group of scientists from the departments of Biology and Microbiology (KUST) had dexterously manipulated some methane bacteria, using chicken droppings and cow dung to produce high quality gas that could sustain the energy needs of most laboratories at the university.
Dry chicken droppings and cow dung were added to a container called anaerobic digester, which contained 500 ml of distilled water, and the was left at room temperature. Eventually, gas production had commenced from the chicken droppings after 24 hours of set up, and attained the average of 2.8gm after three (3) days. The cow dung on the other hand, had started producing gas after two weeks of the experimental set up, and the gas fully produced up to a volume of 2.4cm3 after 4 weeks of set up. Moreover, some bacteria were isolated and identified from both substrates (cow dung and chicken droppings). The isolated bacteria included Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (formers of acid), as well as Methanobacterium sp, and Methanococcus sp (formers of methane gas).
Above all, it was observed from the flammability test of the experiment that, the gas produced by chicken droppings yielded dull and fluctuating flame whereas that the cow dung was stable and highly flammable. Similarly, the chicken droppings and cow dung used a substrate in this research were obtained from the University of Science and Technology Wudil, poultry and cattle farms, respectively. The chicken droppings and cow dung were sun-dried and ground into powdered form, using a wooden mortar and pestle.
In conclusion, it is hoped that the ‘KUST Biogas Project’ would be whole-heartedly embraced and given a pulse of boost by all stakeholders for its relative affordability, environmental friendliness, sustainability, and renewability. Besides, the management of KUST should create an enabling environment for external synergic collaborations with the various departments concerned (microbiology and Biology, et al.), to establish a small (domestic) scale plant for biogas production. Most importantly, this would in turn provide a healthier and cheaper alternative source of energy (organic source) than the hazardous commercial acetylene gas for laboratory as well as other uses at the university and its immediate environs.
The team of scientists, who undertook the research included Alhaji Muhammad Abdullahi Abbas (Left), Hajara Dau (Middle) and Professor Ismail Ahmed (Right).