How Nigeria can generate electricity from cassava peels

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From: Bamidele Fashube

A consortium formed by PyroGenesys, University of Leicester, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Mobinet, Babban Gona Farmer Services, ICMEA-UK and Koolmill Systems has perfected the move on the conversion of cassava peels to electricity through the use of advanced thermal technology.

It said the low-cost, environmental friendly technology will transform the way off-grid communities in Nigeria receive electricity through its innovative technology.

Speaking on the partnership, George Marechera, the Managing Director of Agridrive, on Monday, said the AATF is participating in the initiative to ensure increased income for cassava farmers and also contribute to energy sources.

“There has been a lot of attention on production and use of clean energy and this initiative offers an opportunity for AATF to contribute to that realization through its social enterprise Agridrive.

“Nearly two-thirds of the world population that does not have access to electricity lives in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These communities can use solar power, but it is expensive for them and many people cannot afford a solar home kit,” he said.

According to him, the project, which involves the use of cassava peels, is already being implemented in Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Edo and Delta states, Nigeria with plans for expansion into other states and countries in Africa.

He explained that the innovation, among other benefits, would help reduce post-harvest losses in cassava and also allow farmers to get additional income from wastes.

While noting the challenge of epileptic power supply in the country, he said the consortium was initiated to utilise agriculture waste for clean energy.

Marechera noted that a feasibility study conducted on the use of crop wastes (cassava) to generate energy on one of the activities carried out from June 2019 to June 2020, showed that cassava peels have the highest energy potential.

“This feasibility study was based on the cassava mechanisation and agro processing work that AATF is currently implementing in Nigeria, once commercialised, the initiative will benefit over 1.5 million cassava farmers through increase of income from sell of cassava peels.

“This work will also benefit more than 4 million households who will access clean and affordable energy,” he added.

On his part, PyroGenesys’ Chief Executive Officer, Simon Ighofose, explained that PyroPower turns agricultural waste materials into renewable heat and electricity using an advanced thermal technology called pyrolysis, meaning no more fossil fuels.’

“Waste agro-residues are converted into biochar smokeless fuel briquettes for cooking, replacing firewood and wood-derived charcoal use, a cause of severe deforestation and human health issues,” he said.

He added that the consortium will test the case for installing the first PyroPower pilot plant in Nigeria, using satellite geo-spatial data analysis to identify suitable locations for future PyroPower installations.

“We have set an initial target of installing 100 commercial systems to generate clean, low-cost electricity over the next two years. We’re also looking at selling electricity using Mobinet’s SIMPAY mobile payment system in Nigeria for cashless transactions,” he stated.

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