Biogas digester designed by yours truly.
There are indications that some countries who had close allies with China are waking to the reality if the impending crush of their economies if they do not find alternatives to survive without Chinese products.
Nigeria has been a parasitic country when it comes to importation from China over the years. It got worse that even goods made in Nigeria were not patronized by her citizens and some local producers decided to mask their products with the "made in China" label to earn patronage. In fact, the number of known business men who shuttle CHina on monthly basis for clothing, house wares, printing equipment, phones and petrol generators is alarmingly much.
As the economy of China continues to fold up with the spread of Conora Virus, it seemed like a spell was lifted off the eyes of our leaders on why they need to encourage and support local content development. At last, we can be hopeful that an ugly situation can better the economies of some nations.
On March 11, 2020, it sounded funny at first when I saw this newly submitted "BILL FOR AN ACT TO PROHIBIT/BAN THE IMPORTATION/USE OF GENERATING SETS TO CURB THE MENACE OF ENVIRONMENTAL (AIR) POLLUTION AND TO FACILITATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE POWER SECTOR" pulished in several local and national dailies - Premiumtimes, Pulse, Guardian and Vanguard. After fully consuming the details of the submissions, I rather did say "maybe COVID-19 happened for our good".
Power supply is one of the biggest challenge we face as a country and we've received lies upon lies by successive administrations as how to better the situation. A typical community receives power supply 2 out of 10 days in a month and everyone is constrained to using power generating sets to power their houses and business premises. In some areas, they rarely see electricity for years.
Currently, I run a fuel generator for 10 hours a day in my Creativity hub and for the past 2 years I've not used electricity. Having been exhausted with such as my monthly power expenses (running cost only) runs into $40. I decided to collaborate with an undergraduate student in my university to design, construct and test-run the Biogas digester above pictured.
Some Technical Information on Biogas and the Designed Machine
The biogas-digester was meant to produce gas using raw poultry waste. Made up of digestion tank and cover, thermometer, gas discharge pipe, gas valve, pressure gauge, material level indicator, solar plate, storage cell, gas tanks, mixer unit with stirrer and support frame, the machine operates at a handling capacity of 0.22m3.
The machine constructed in the Engineering Workshop, University of Uyo was examined using a substrate of concentration ratio of 1:2 and 1:3 waste-water ratios which yielded cooking gas 0.894L/kg and 0.375L/kg of poultry waste in 24 days for the two substrate ratios respectively. Sincerely, at the test level, this machine could reduce cost associated with the purchase of cooking gas and it helps to preserve the environment being an alternative energy system.
Bio-digester on build
While I didn't intend to bug you with technical details of the machines, it was necessary to express how effective a machine which cost about $300 to build could do to home and the environment, yet, we couldn't secure a funding for the the mass production of the Biogas digester because our leaders are in the business of importing costly generating sets from China for our use. The one I currently use costs about $250.
Biogas technology describes the phenomenon where organic matter containing cellulose is fermented in the absence of air (aerobically), combustible gases but majorly (methane) is formed. This technology is one of a number of village-scale technologies that are currently enjoying a certain level of patronage among governments that care about environmental health. Biogas production is often suggested in situations where animal wastes are used as a major source of household energy. We rear animals in Nigeria at subsistence and commercial levels, and such alternative system to power generation would be cheap.
With the increase in wastes generation in our cities and suburbs, a future of bio-fuel utilization can be so beneficial to the ecosystem. Very peculiar about agricultural waste, is the possibility of anaerobic digestion which is a good approach for agricultural waste utilization because it can produce biofuels sufficient for domestic and cottage uses.
I see the coming of Conora Virus as such which will redirect the attention of Nigerians to sustainable power generation especially as our legislators are debating that importation of generating sets shall be viewed as an offence against the law and will attract attract an imprisonment term not less than ten years.
Prohibition/Ban on Importation of generating sets. Any person who- Imports generating sets; or Knowingly sells generating sets shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than ten years.(Source)
COVID-19 as Catalyst to Innovation and Tech Development
I see a new era of building of alternative energy systems such as Solar energy, biogas, across the nations and this would be better for our economy. This is because there will be a reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels which are already so costly for a common Nigerian to afford even for cooking purposes.
I am not in any way happy that the deadly Conora Virus is destroying lives, rather, it sounds good that some economies are already beginning to adjust their priorities to reduce their dependency on China markets and products. It's good because it's starting back here in my own Nigeria.
Occurrences such as this have the potency of enhancing innovations if adequate research and analysis are made by the relevant sectors. It is not time to cry over spilled milk, rather, it's time to look out for solution to build economies that are already falling following Conora outbreak in China.