Biomass are resources generated from plant materials like wood that can be degraded. i.e. convertible materials. And principally, it is the result of what is called photosynthesis. That is plant materials capturing energy from the sun and storing them. For example, if wood is dry and you put light its ignited. The process is very simple, the sun shines so the plant keeps capturing the energy from the sun and then it dries up. So when you put light its ignited, so it is the energy that it has stored from the sun that it releases, that is what is called biomass in a very simple term, all these woods that we use to cook, the sawdust, even animal waste is also a source of biomass energy.
Proponents of burning wood and other biomass say it is more reliable than solar or wind, because it can supply power continuously, not just when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Its use reduces the need for fossil fuels, they say, and carbon released while burning biomass doesn’t harm the environment because it is offset by carbon removed from the atmosphere when the organic material was growing.“Palm oil is carbon-neutral, while with fossil fuels, the more you use the more CO2 is emitted,” said Masaru Kubo, vice president of Osaka-based Sankei Energy Co., which built a 2-megawatt plant to burn the fuel. “We think using palm oil will help deter global warming,” he said, adding that he’s hopeful there will be more certified palm oil available to ensure the sustainable use of the fuel.
The Japanese government’s goal is for biomass to provide as much as 4.6 percent of Japan’s power by 2030, or as much as 7.3 gigawatts. As of March, the country had about 3.2 gigawatts of biomass capacity. Nigeria is very rich in Biomass resources but not yet products, with a lot of plants, blessed with an environment and geography that supports the growth of anything. If you travel between Lagos and Ibadan, you’ll see kilometers of forest, but if the rate at which we use these resources, although they are reliable, but we are depleting them at a faster rate than we are creating them, we cut woods today or one tree from the forest, nobody plants another one to replace them, but overall we have adequate biomass resources for biomass energy in Nigeria because there are waste like saw dust, wood chips which should not waste away. We can convert them into energy and at the same time also, biomass sources like waste. For example, Lagos generates so much waste everyday, those waste can be converted into energy by simply putting them in a small device called “Bio-Digesters”, so it can digest those waste through bacteria and the rest, scientists know more about that, and you can even use it to cook in your house. We have so many resources, biomass energy in Nigeria.
Impact of biomass in the Nigerian economy
Biomass will add to our revenue generation. Firstly. instead of importing energy sources, we produce locally, it conserves our foreign exchange. Secondly, this energy is used by industries. One of the major reasons why unemployment is high and why we don’t see too many entrepreneurs out there and manufacturing companies are shutting down is because energy is insufficient. So, if we have adequate energy, there will obviously be more employed people. I mean in China, India, America or wherever it is because energy is very regular. That’s why people can set up a small factory in their own house and make products, so the Gross Domestic items (GDP) is increased. In addition, it generates employment, which of course, have its own income impact and multiplier. So it’s a win-win situation.The renewable energy program of the government must come up with cutting edge technology that seeks to harness the country’s potentials in Biogas Energy generation.
Fikayo Owoeye writes for Nairametrics