By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – Dr Victor Okereke, a researcher at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), said on Tuesday that the institution had recorded a major breakthrough in biogas technology.
Okereke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that the technology was developed using waste materials harnessed from pig, cow, goat and sheep sourced from the university livestock unit.
He said the breakthrough was an important milestone which, if properly harnessed, could be used to generate electricity to power the university and its host communities.
According to him, biogas is methane gas produced from agricultural waste, manure, food and animal waste that can be used as renewable energy source with little or no carbon footprint.
“Presently, the gas extracted from the dung (faeces) is used to generate power to pump water for the animals in the farm and later process animal products for sale.
“Going forward, we intend to increase the stock of animals in the farm to derive enough dung which will be enough to generate electricity to power the university community.
“But to achieve expansion of this project, we will need all the necessary support that we can get.”
Okereke, who is an agricultural microbiologist, said that biogas, a renewable energy source, has high sustainability rating without any harmful impact on the environment.
He said that the technology had potential to address the nation’s electricity challenges which has taken its toll on the economy over the years.
The university don said that UNIPORT, through its waste-to-wealth scheme, had produced capable researchers and manpower from its Faculty of Agriculture.
“From the look of things, the future of affordable cheap and reliable energy lies in biogas utilization sourced from animal dung, among other end-uses.
“We understand that one cow’s waste can produce can produce electricity to light two 100 watts light bulbs for 24 hours.
“This is indeed a useful technology that makes economic sense, particularly in this part of the world, where power supply is a luxury enjoyed by a privileged few,” he said.
NAN reports that aside electricity generation, biogas can also be used as fuel to power cooking gas and auto engines, among others.