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Biomass Potentials In Nigeria

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Biomass as the solar energy stored in chemical form in plant and animal materials is among the most precious and versatile resources on earth. It provides not only food but also energy, building materials, paper, fabrics, medicines and chemicals. Biomass has been used for energy purposes ever since man discovered fire. Today, biomass fuels can be utilized for tasks ranging from heating the house of fueling a car and running a computer.

In the urban centers of the country, the principal energy sources are electricity and fossil fuel; while firewood and charcoal are peripheral, although also important sources. In the rural areas, firewood remains a principal source while the use of electricity and fossil fuels is increasing.

In both the urban and rural areas of Nigeria, the generation of energy from livestock manure, crop chaff and offer agricultural biomass is not widely practiced despite the fact that studies; (Sasse, 1984; Kovacs, 1985; Evans et al 1985; and Waddle, 1990), have shown this to be possible and hold much potential for areas of the world suffering from energy shortages.

The poor energy supply situation in Nigeria calls for investigation into alternative sources of energy so as to ensure cogent improvements.

India and China for example, are developing countries whose energy supply situations used to be as precarious as Nigeria’s present, but the two countries had since improve the situation through, research and widespread application of biomass technology (Moulik 1985).

Biomass is considered to be one of the key renewable resources of the future at both small-and large-scale levels. It already supplies 14% of the world’s primary energy consumption (Hall et al 1992). But for three quarters of the world’s population living in developing countries biomass is the most important source of energy. With increases in population and per capita demand, depletion of fossil-fuel resources, the demand for biomass is expected to increase rapidly in developing countries. Biomass is likely to remain an important global source in developing countries well into the next century (Hall et al 1992).

Even in developed countries, biomass is being increasingly used. A number of developed countries use this source quite substantially; e.g in Sweden and Austria 15% of their primary energy consumption is covered by biomass. Sweden has plans to increase further use of biomass as it phases down nuclear and fossil-fuel plants into the next century. In the USA, which derives 4% of its total energy from biomass (nearly as much as it derives from nuclear power), now more than 90% MW electrical power is installed in facilities firing biomass.

There is an enormous biomass potential that can be tapped by improving the utilization of existing resources and by increasing plant productivity. Bio-energy can be modernized through the application of advanced technology to convert raw biomass into modern, easy-to-use carriers, such as electricity, liquid or gaseous fuels, or processed solid fuels. Therefore, much more useful energy could be extracted from biomass. This could bring very significant social and economic benefits to both rural and urban areas. The present lack of access to convenient sources limits the quality of life of millions of people throughout the world, particularly in rural areas of developing countries. Growing biomass is a rural, labour-intensive activity, and can, therefore, create jobs in rural area and help rural-to-urban migration, whilst, at the same time, providing convenient carriers to help promote other rural industries.

1.1. General Statement

The poor energy supply situation in Nigeria necessitates investigations



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