Tobi Oluyitan is a researcher from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom and is part of the team conducting analysis and waste characterisation currently in Nigeria. In this interview with YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, she speaks on her work so far and the future of biofuel in Nigeria.
Why are you in Nigeria?
I am here to do physical waste characterization; I am basically collecting Nigeria waste data. We are working with the Energy from Waste Department at Cranfield University; basically what we are working on is recovering useful energy or materials from the waste being generated. What I am working on now is a project focused on investigating the recovery of liquid fuel and base chemicals that can be used in manufacturing industries. It is the prerequisite for Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT) which is used to process plastic rich waste to liquid fuel
How feasible is waste to energy production?
Waste to energy production is actually very feasible in Nigeria. From the data we have gotten so far, Nigeria is actually very rich in plastic waste; we are rich in low density and high density prolyphylene and polyprophelene that could be found in pet bottles. Out of the seven classes of rich plastics, Nigeria is very rich in four types. That is what we have discovered from the physical waste characterization and having them so much in our waste will enable us recover liquid fuel from them once they pass through the advanced thermal heat process. There is a very good possibility of biofuel production in Nigeria. As we all know, electricity supply in Nigeria is very sporadic and bad. So if we start the advanced thermal plant in Nigeria, we will recover fuel from these waste products and you can use it to power your generator and we would be less dependent on the fossil fuel being used right now and the usual fuel scarcity will be eradicated.
Are you saying it is a good substitute for fuel?
Yes, it is a potential and effective substitute for fossil fuel.
Will your findings be used practically or it is for mere documentation?
This is a preliminary stage, it is not just for documentation; you know you cannot site a plant without feasibility study. What we are doing now is like feasibility study to know if we have the required materials in the required quantity. We already have a demonstration plant in Cranfield University and we already have samples of liquid oils that we got through waste. This is just bringing that technology to Nigeria but before you can do that, you need to know the available data and raw materials that you have so that you can put it in a model before coming down to put it in a plant. But I will say it is very feasible to have a plant in Nigeria.