The study explores the potential of biogas generation as an alternative source of energy for the University of Uyo. The research examines the use of Wastes on campus to exploit biogas production. The concept was waste – to –energy, which addresses tripartite sustainability problems such as reduction of environmental pollution, recycling waste for energy generation (biogas) and transmutation into bio- fertilizer through an anaerobic digestion process. The study was carried out in two different experimental procedures by co-digestion of cow dungs and paper waste and co- digestion of cow dungs, waste water and quail dropping. The results from the first experiment demonstrated that 6000ml of raw biogas was obtained from 7.82kg of combined waste (cow dungs and paper waste) and 8500ml of raw biogas was obtained from 8kg of waste (cow dungs, quail droppings and waste water). A scrubbing technique involving two chemical tests were conducted to obtain pure methane from raw biogas by removing impurities such as carbon(iv)oxide and hydrogen sulphide. Chemical scrubbing involving the use of ordinary water and sodium hydroxide solution and scrubbing involving the use of ferric chloride solution with sodium hydroxide solution were conducted. Test for combustibility of the purified gas from both experiment indicated positive results as obtained gas supported burning.
1.1 Background to the Study
In contemporary times, increasing concern for environmental health, eco-friendly waste management and sustainable energy production constitute the focus of many trade bodies, regulatory agencies, states and countries of the world. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are two key components of sustainable energy that provide significant environmental benefits. This environmental gain is usually seen in terms of ‘sustainable development’; which is a term that is now commonplace in a number of waste management, energy generation and rural development plans (Duerr et al.,2007).
Energy, which is a driver of economic growth, is obtained from various primary sources that are not limited to coal, petroleum, nuclear but also incorporates renewable sources from wind, solar and biomass. Of all these, the most widely used source is the non-renewable fossil fuel which account for more than 80% of global primary energy consumption (Awwad et al., 2007, cited in Oyedepo, 2012), with its attendant environmental pollution.
To date, there is global energy crisis as a consequence of declining quantity of fossil fuel coupled with the unprecedented rising crude oil prices. The crisis demands greater attention to alternative energy sources and upgrading of existing technologies. Hence it is critical now not only to focus on sustained economic use of the existing limited resources but to identify new technologies and renewable resources that have the potential to carter for the increasing energy demand in addition to possessing other positive attributes such as being sustainable, globally available, cheap and easy to exploit. Such technologies should Have the capacity to positively contribute towards actualization of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, MDG (B-Africa. 2008, UN. 2008).
Nigeria is not left out from such immense dependence on fossil fuel. A country endowed with primary energy resource with a record of the world’s tenth largest reserves of crude oil estimated to be about 36 billion barrels (about 4.896 billion tonnes) of oil equivalent in 2006 (Dayo, 2008), is yet to attain sustainable development with resultant effect on the environment.
As Nigeria is a populated country in Africa, it has significant resources of organic waste. Rapid urbanization, industrialization and agricultural activities have created environmental concern such as environmental pollution from municipal, industrial and agro-allied waste. Waste, which is an output of any operational system has continue to grow with more attention to an effective waste disposal management system. No doubt, there has been infinitesimal prospect into waste to energy technology(WTE) as a waste management strategy (Akhator et al, 2016, Tsunato et al.,2015; Agbo et al., 2011; Amber et al.,2012; Suberu et al.,2012). This is majorly the focus of this research. The study underscores this prospect in one of the higher institutions of learning in the country, from a paradigm shift on clean and healthy waste disposal method towards a sustainable approach. This approach embodies the concept of the four R’s, such as reduce, re-use, recycle and renewable energy which has generally been accepted as a useful principle for waste handling (Kothari, et al. 2010).
Waste-to-energy technology has been a viable waste management strategy in establishing sustainable waste disposal, delivery renewable energy and providing better end products such as biogas generation and farm manure in comparison to other disposal methods (landfills or incineration). Hence biogas, a waste-to-energy strategy, do not only provide renewable energy in the form of heat, electricity, fuel and methane gas for cooking from low/ negative value organic waste (Kothari, et al. 2010), but also minimizes environment pollution by anaerobic digestion process. To this end, this research examines the generation of energy from an organic waste known as Biogas. The interest in such renewable energy is driven by the rapidly shrinking reserve of fossil fuel due to increasing demand for primary energy, fuel price spikes, global warming- from flaring and greenhouse gas emission; and most importantly the availability of organic waste.