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Turning waste into energy in Nigeria

Turning waste into energy in Nigeria


One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Ikenna Ubah is a 27-year-old chemical engineer who abides to this saying. Ubah uses readily available waste to produce affordable and environmental-friendly briquettes in Nigeria where most of the population still relies on charcoal for heat.

The briquettes are the product of the low-pressure compaction of biomass like sawdust, agricultural waste, paper, among others. They are environmentally-friendly, entirely renewable, and easy to implement.

“I started collecting waste to convert to renewable biomass energy because of the amount of waste that fills everywhere in my street and people use inefficient firewood and charcoal for cooking which destroys their health,” said Ubah the founder of Ubabio Biomass energy solutions.

After a year in production, Ubah’s briquettes are proving a popular alternative to charcoal, firewood, and kerosene with local users.

“The charcoal used to catch fire very fast, it lasts longer than other charcoal, it helps me to cook very fast and it makes my environment to be very neat because it does not have smoke,” said restaurant owner Igwesi Chika.

The World Health Organisation indicates that tens of thousands of Nigerian women die annually from complications linked to smoke inhaled while cooking with firewood.

“We are not only saving the environment, we are as well providing healthy alternatives to people who work in spaces were they have to burn stuff because it does not emit carbon monoxide, it is environmental friendly and even when it is done burning you use the remains as organic fertilizer,” added Business coach Ifedi Ralph.

With present near energy crisis, particularly in the country’s troubled north, there is high potential of biomass briquette becoming a preferred substitute fuel for nearly all energy uses for cooking and commercial process heat.


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