Nigeria closes in on methanol fuel


The country is on the verge of achieving a blend of Methanol in the production of gasoline and generation of electrical power, if the report of the Technical Committee (TC) on Methanol Fuel Technology Implementation programme set up by the federal government August 10, 2018 is anything to go by. The programme target a15 per cent of methanol to 85 per cent of fossil fuel blend in the production of petroleum motor spirit (PMS) and its utilization in the generation of electric power in Nigeria.

Presenting the committee’s report at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) in Lagos yesterday, the minister of science and technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu disclosed that the report will serve as a technical guide for further inputs from stakeholders towards implementing methanol fuel technology in the transportation and energy sectors in the country before the end of the second quarter of 2019.

Onu stated that the federal government in the next few weeks, expects members of the TC working in collaboration with the stakeholders to make it a reality, the implementation of methanol and gasoline alternative blends starting with blends of up to 15% methanol which requires virtually no modification to the existing car infrastructure.

“In the next few weeks, I expect members of the technical committee working in collaboration with the stakeholders to make it a reality, the implementation of methanol and gasoline alternative blends starting with blends of up to 15% methanol which requires virtually no modification to the existing car infrastructure.

“A full conversion of diesel vehicles to 100% methanol, utilization of methanol for generation of electricity in power plants to lower costs, while staying within the requirements of clean air international laws”, Onu stressed.

According the minister, government expects the committee to see to the construction of a local methanol production facility to encourage the development of a natural gas-based industry, and ensure consultation with various technology owners and providers based on the Executive Order No.5.

This is in addition to ensuring the use of methanol as a blend with gasoline in order to reduce cost that is more environmentally friendly than the use of either gasoline or diesel fuel for transportation.

Government expects that this will help reduce gas flaring in the country as the natural gas will be used for methanol production and not overlooking the fact methanol is equally a feedstock in the production of many important industrial chemicals.

“As we all know, Nigeria holds the largest natural gas reserves on the African continent, ranked as 9th in the world in 2016 and is among the world’s top five exporters of liquefied natural gas. The country’s oil and natural gas industry typically accounts for 75% of government revenue and 90% of total export earnings.

“Due to a lack of the necessary utilization infrastructure and low technological capacity, Nigeria still flares a lot of the natural gas it produces. This amounts to about 12.5% of the world’s total gas flaring according to World Bank estimates. However, natural gas can be used for the production of methanol.

“It is important to point out that the methanol fuel technology implementation programme would eliminate the problem of gas flaring. This technology will help add value to the huge natural gas resources of the nation”, Onu assured.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the priority attention and support his government is giving to the diversification of the nation’s economy using science, technology and innovation, saying that by this singular gesture, government made S and T the catalyst for the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.

In her welcome remarks at the occasion, Prof. Gloria Elemo, the Director General of FIIRO noted that efficient transportation and electricity generation are two key indicators and drivers of a nation’s economy, while science, technology and innovation (STI) are strategic players in actualizing both, leading to a diversified and sustainable national economic growth and development.

Elemo while acknowledging that oil and gas may have increased the country’s earnings however stated that a diversified economy through the sourcing and implementation of alternative means of efficient transportation and electricity generation in Nigeria is according to her, ‘Truly the way to go’

“It is practically impossible to envision a life today without a reliance on the input of STI in our everyday life of transportation and electricity or power needs.

“FIIRO has developed over 250 technologies with about a 100 of them available for immediate commercialization. FIIRO continues to deploy its 250 technologies suitable for job creation in all the 774LGAs in Nigeria to ensure national industrial growth and prosperity”, Elemo boasts.

Also speaking at the occasion, the minister of power, works and housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by Emmanuel Ojo, says the global energy crisis has attracted the attention of both developing and developed countries to explore and find out new means energy sources to meet ever-increasing demand for its economic activities.

He stated that the deployment of bio-fuel technology by the federal government is a major component of the country’s renewable energy development.

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