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Thursday 15 November 2018
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OPINION: NIGERIA ENERGY CHALLENGES: WATER TO THE RESCUE

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OPINION: NIGERIA ENERGY CHALLENGES: WATER TO THE RESCUE

By Peter Oladipupo
@oladipupowp

The Opinions expressed by Sayelba Times Contributors are their own
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If the government is serious about diversifying the nation’s economy and reducing dependence on oil while building a sustainable society for the future, then one thing it must do is to initiate and accelerate efforts towards Hydrogen fuel research and developments.
A situation where there is no single Hydrogen energy research center in any public institution in Nigeria is simply not acceptable, to say the least. Governments’ incentives to individuals, establishments, and research establishments that are interested in Hydrogen research and development would be essential to get this promising technology off the ground.


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Energy is fundamental to man’s existence. We use energy to fulfill our daily needs. From preparing our meal in our homes to flying jets in the air, energy is involved. It will not be out of place therefore to suggest that man can not survive without energy.

There are various sources of energy: renewable energy, fossil fuel (oil), nuclear, coal etc. Before the modest beginning of the oil era in the mid 19th century, man has always gotten its energy primarily from coal. Undoubtedly, oil is the predominant source of energy in the world today. It is the mainstay of the Nigeria economy with revenue form oil accounting for about 70% of government’s earnings in today. It also represents about 14% of our GDP.

This high dependence on Oil has brought severe consequences on the Nigeria economy in recent times with the dip in oil price in the international market causing the Naira a devaluation of approximately 40% in 4 months.

Similarly, government budget has been badly affected with capital budget reduced by over 40% in the 2015 budget compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, the demand for energy continues to rise in Nigeria due to the continuing increase in our population and the need to improve our living standards. This is the case even amidst oil conflicts, pollution and greenhouse issues resulting from the use of fossil fuels, which pose threats to our national life. These facts underpin the need for government to begin to pay genuine attention to the development of alternative sources of energy.

In a bid to address the crisis associated with the production and usage of oil as the major energy source, scientists and engineers across the world have engaged in various researches to secure alternative sources. Various non-oil energy sources, such as solar, ocean-thermal, wind, waves, thermonuclear, geothermal, etc., are being considered. There is a general consensus that the best source of energy is one that is renewable and sustainable. Hence, out of several alternative sources, Hydrogen energy is being considered by many as the ideal.

Hydrogen is the most abundant and lightest element in the universe. It burns with a colorless flame with heat and water as the only by-products, which is a great environmental advantage of Hydrogen over oil. It can be produced by the photo-electrochemical splitting of water using solar energy. In this case, only sufficient quantity of water and solar energy from the sun are essentially needed; resources which are available in abundance in Nigeria.

The most publicized application of hydrogen fuel is in transportation. Hydrogen gas can be stored in an on-board tank until combined with oxygen in a fuel cell, where the electrolysis process is essentially reversed; releasing chemical energy via an electrical charge. This electricity can then be used to power electric motors in cars, buses, other vehicles, boats, and even jets. Recent developments such as the production and use of Hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles in some countries have contributed unprecedented impetus to research on the production, transmission, storage, and distribution of Hydrogen fuel.

Since 1999, when Iceland announced its plan to become the first Hydrogen-based economy in the following 30–40 years, other governments and businesses have keyed in to such plans and begun to seriously consider the hydrogen option. In 2000, South Pacific island of Vanuatu joined Iceland in making steps towards widespread hydrogen use and deriving 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

Similarly, Hawaii, another island rich in renewable resources such as geothermal and wind energy, yet heavily dependent on oil imports, invested in Hydrogen research in 2001, hoping to eventually export Hydrogen to other states and nations. And California, the United States’ largest gasoline consumer, began developing the world’s first “Hydrogen highway” in 2004. In order to accelerate research, development, and demonstration work on Hydrogen, former President of the United States, George Bush, announced plans to appropriate $1.2 billion in 2003.

On the other hand, very little is being done concerning research and development efforts on Hydrogen energy source in Nigeria. Hydrogen research is one that can not be neglected by any country that is serious about protecting its future in the world’s energy and sustainability mix as Hydrogen is undoubtedly the fuel of the future.

It should be emphasized that hydrogen and fuel cells have the capability of producing a green revolution in transportation by removing carbon dioxide emissions completely. Only last week (March 9), the first world solar-powered plane, independent of energy from oil, was launched and took off from Abu Dhabi. One is then poised to ask the question! Where is the most populous black nation in all of these developments?

If the government is serious about diversifying the nation’s economy and reducing dependence on oil while building a sustainable society for the future, then one thing it must do is to initiate and accelerate efforts towards Hydrogen fuel research and developments.

A situation where there is no single Hydrogen energy research center in any public institution in Nigeria is simply not acceptable, to say the least. Governments’ incentives to individuals, establishments, and research establishments that are interested in Hydrogen research and development would be essential to get this promising technology off the ground.

The government should spring into action and develop a Hydrogen energy master plan with concentration on research and developments efforts at the moment, with a view to commercializing hydrogen production process and storage in the long term.

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Peter Oladipupo is a First Class Chemical Engineering Graduate of the University of lagos, an inventor, a Hydrogen energy researcher developing means of producing Hydrogen fuel from Water in Nigeria.

He is the founder of STEM-Ed foundation, an organization established to simplify science and technology concepts for students in secondary school through project-based pedagogy.

[email protected]
07081541910



SAYELBA TIMES is an independent news group that focuses on original investigative reporting about critical issues facing all Niger Delta States including other parts of the world. Our contents are positive, creative, truthful and relevant.


What do you think?

4 thoughts on “OPINION: NIGERIA ENERGY CHALLENGES: WATER TO THE RESCUE

  1. Moses

    Excellent points raised Peter. Excellent.
    Shall we assume then that innovative ideas do not get to reach where they would matter or that we are bent on sitting this oil dependency out?
    It’s sickening knowing the right thing and being stalled from doing it!

    Reply
  2. Seun

    Nice piece!
    It’s all about being proactive as a country. Setting long terms goals and actively taking steps to actualize such goals.
    Keep up the good work.

    Reply

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