Nigerian waste-to-biogas scheme, others win $3.2m World Bank award

No Comments » May 27th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Energy Development Project



Monday, May 26, 2008              

Nigerian waste-to-biogas scheme, others win $3.2m World Bank award
By Chinedu Uwaegbulam, Assistant Housing & Environment Editor

A NIGERIAN entrepreneur has been named among 16 winners of the ‘Lighting Africa development marketplace competition’ with an innovative idea that would offer off-grid energy efficient lighting to 2,250 peri-urban and rural poor homes by using cassava waste to produce biogas.

The World Bank Group picked the 16 companies and organisations as winners of the Development Marketplace competition for their innovative products or services tailored to sub-Saharan Africa’s off-grid lighting market. Initially, no fewer than six Nigerians were shortlisted among finalists in the competition.

The winners were selected from among 52 competitors, and their projects were judged using five criteria; innovation, measurability of outcomes, organisational and financial sustainability, growth potential, and realism. They will use the funds to implement their projects in several African countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

Development Marketplace is a competitive grant programme that funds innovative, small-scale development projects. These projects not only deliver results, but also have the potential to be expanded or replicated elsewhere. Since its inception in 1998, the programme has awarded over $50 million to roughly 1,000 projects through global, regional, and country-level marketplaces.

Messrs Global Network for Environment and Economic Development Research from Nigeria, promoted by Dr. Joseph Adelegan and other winners will receive up to $200,000 to implement projects that offer affordable, clean, and safe off-grid lighting and that improve access to lighting for people living without electricity across the region.

The zero-emission biogas technology treats the cassava waste and produces biogas, which would drive micro turbines for low cost, safe and reliable off grid energy efficient lighting to 2,250 peri-urban and rural poor homes. The sludge acts as environmentally safe organic fertiliser for low-income farmers.

“Nigeria, the largest world producer of cassava, produces 32 million metric tons yearly out of the 168 million metric tons of total world production, and it also generates $5 billion in revenue yearly. However, despite the economic and social benefits, cassava waste is a major public health issue in Nigeria, causing water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Dr. Adelegan.

Adelegan told The Guardian that the firm plans to commence the design and construction of the bioreactor in June. “The idea is to abate pollution and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, hence improving ecosystems and human health through investment in a sustainable biogas plant. My dream of the nation taking a giant leap for a transition to low carbon is coming true. This also informed my innovation in renewable energy,” he said.

“Existing interventions used the conventional anaerobic treatment process, which has several drawbacks, such as low treatment efficiency, odour, and long retention time. These obstacles are overcome by our proven and cutting-edge anaerobic fixed film biogas technology. Consequently, both the capital investments and operating costs are lowered, resulting in a more economic system,” he explained.

The project capital budget is put at $310,000 with $200,000 and financial support from World Bank and Cows to kilowatts Partnership Limited. “The pay-back period is 3.5 years, and the productive lifetime of the plant is 15 years. The return on the investment is enormous from the lifecycle perspective. The concept is a model that can be implemented in most developing countries where unabated pollution threatens citizen’s health and an urgent need for affordable lighting exists,” Adelegan said.

“The ideas and concepts presented during this competition were far beyond our expectations, and this level of innovation and creativity is exactly what Africa needs. We are looking forward to seeing the winners implement their projects,” said Anil Cabraal, World Bank Lead Energy Specialist.

Some of the winning projects introduced a revolutionary type of energy efficient solar cell product for light emitting diodes that can also be used as a mobile phone and energy charger and a source of energy for radio. The people’s choice award went to a project that aims to use the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies, a network of solar technicians in Tanzania, and reasonably priced solar systems to reach remote areas.

“This has been one the most fruitful Development Marketplace competitions. All of the finalists were able to meet with businesses and NGOs that are relevant to their day-to-day activities. This will help broaden their reach and impact,” said Monika Weber-Fahr, IFC Manager for the Sustainability Business Innovator.

The competition took place during Lighting Africa 2008, the first global business conference for off-grid lighting in Africa, held in Accra, Ghana, from May 6 to 8, 2008. The conference is part of the World Bank Group’s Lighting Africa programme, which aims to mobilise the private sector to provide modern off-grid lighting to more than 250 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2030.

Lead sponsors include the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, the Global Environment Facility, and the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. Other supporters include Good Energies Incorporated; the governments of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom; the European Commission; and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership.



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