Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nigeria Is Looking At Ethanol To Create Alternative Jobs

Green Energy Society of Nigeria (GESON) Director General Mrs. Tokunboh Jakande, left, believes green energy in the form of ethanol could create over 500,000 jobs yearly in Nigeria. Nigeria's She believes Nigeria's Vision 2020 plan can work only if employment is created. Mrs. Jakande believes investing in a sub-sector, such as green energy, can successfully address the unemployment problem. We hear you Mrs. Tokunboh, and we have an office in Nigeria, but we are not sure that this is the best use of limited resources in Nigeria.

GESON is working with Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to write 'off-take' agreements on the use of ethanol products in the country. The agreements involve the timing of a government pronouncement on the use of ethanol in Nigerian cars. Nigeria is looking at 2011 as the year all cars will blend at least 10 per cent ethanol with fossil fuel. Nigeria is also the largest consumer of power generators and two stroke engines that contaminate the environment.

GESON is encouraging the government to develop feedstock that could be used for production of large quantity of biofuels to reduce the level of fossil fuel consumption in the country. GESON wants Nigeria to stop importing ethanol since the country can produce it locally to reduce the rate of capital flight from their economy. At present, GESON is working with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that a sufficient quantity of ethanol needed for daily is produced.

According to Jakande, Nigeria's annual carbon footprint stands at 100 million metric tonnes. She believes this could be significally reduced by using biomass for electricity production, solar, ethanol and hygro as alternatives to fossil fuel.

AAEA has real doubts about this biofuels proposal as a significant jobs creator. We are also doubtful about the Nigerians depending on cellulosic ethanol production because the practice has not even been significantly developed in the United States or anywhere else yet. Moreover, biofuels production requires large amounts of farm land for cultivation of the feedstock, such as sweet sorghum, even if it does not compete with the food chain. Ultimately corn would be the best way for them to produce ethanol, and that would compete with the food supply. There are better ways to generate employment. Traditional farming would probably be much better than trying to jumpstart an ethanol industry. Ethanol production in America has not been very successful, even with significantt government mandates and massive government subsidies. (Vanguard News Online, 1/16/10)

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