POWERGAS, Nigeria’s biggest Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) distributor and pioneer in “virtual gas pipeline supply and the Austrian clean tech company ETEFA have stroked an alliance initiating a pilot project under the Clean & Environmentally Sustainable Transportation (“CEST”) Program, for refurbishment and conversion of city buses and trucks in Lagos and the Niger Delta from diesel to gas.
L-R General Manager, Powergas, Sumeet Singh; Director, Powergas, Aloy Duru; Commercial Counsellor, Austrian Embassy, Nella Hengstler; Managing Director, Powergas, Pulak Sen and CEO, European Technologies for Africa (ETEF), Johann Rieger
This was revealed at a Press Briefing on Flare Gas Recovery in Nigeria organised by POWERGAS Nigeria, ETEFA and with the support by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the Commercial Section of the Austrian Embassy in Nigeria.
Natural Gas Flaring is one of the biggest environmental disasters of Nigeria. Annually over 7 billion Standard Cubic Meter (SCM )of Natural Gas is being flared in Nigeria, leading to casualties of up to 2,500 individuals in the Niger Delta Region (due to gas flare related pollution & emissions), contributing to 20% of the entire Greenhouse Gases (GHG) of the country causing a massive waste of energy and financial resources. Gas Flare Monetisation Projects can potentially save Nigeria over US$ 2.5 billion per year by reducing fuels costs in the transportation and power generation sector by over 30%.
In his welcome address, Managing Director, Powergas Nigeria, Mr Pulak Sen, reiterated the company’s commitment to positively contributing to the clean environment of Nigeria. He said, “As a company, Powergas is committed to providing an environmentally friendly fuel source to spur economic growth and industrialisation in conjunction with reducing the carbon footprint. we believe that Natural gas fired power generation emits up to five times less nitrogen oxides than comparable diesel generation and near-zero particulate matter. Today, Nigeria’s annual diesel importation is the same as the natural gas being flared”.
In his keynote speech, the CEO ETEFA GmbH, Mr Johann Rieger, emphasised the need for Natural gas compared to diesel as it is the most environmentally friendly energy sources. He said, “The quality of the imported diesel (according to United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)) hardly fulfills EURO 1 emission standards because of its high Sulphur content. Diesel imports are US Dollar dependent, hence increasing the cost of fuel and decreasing the country’s scarce forex reserves.
Natural Gas on the other hand is one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources. With abundant reserves of 188 tcf (Trillion Cubic Feet), Nigeria has the largest gas reserves in Africa. As a domestically available natural resource, effective utilization is extremely important for import substitution (of liquid fuels) and forex savings. Gas Flare Reduction Program sponsored Projects can clean and process flare gas into Natural Gas, along with other by-products like Propane, Butane, LPG, etc.
According to him, If all of Nigeria’s Gas Flare is captured and processed – it can power up to 200,000 city buses (public transport) or 200,000 trucks (commercial transport), or even double Nigeria’s power generation capacity, while significantly improving the quality of the air (lower carbon & particulate emissions). In other words, recovery and utilization of flare gas will contribute positively to the Nigerian economy by bringing down fuel and energy costs – which will have a trickle-down effect on food prices, transportation costs and ultimately rein in Inflation. And the good news is that with the available gas reserves, it is still not too late! The introduction of gas-fired city buses for public transport would significantly lower ticket prices for passengers. This would especially have a positive impact on the lower income populace who spend up to 40% of their monthly income on public transport.
For this reason, the 18 months pilot project of the CEST Program which targets include improving environmental and health conditions by reduction of emissions, lowering the cost of public and commercial transportation, while fostering local talent employment with technology transfer and strategic knowledge sharing will surly change the environmental landscape of Nigeria.
On the partnership of the two companies, POWERGAS will provide all the necessary infrastructure for CNG Supply and ETEFA will supply highly efficient gas engines and associated technology. Eventually, ETEFA intends to locally manufacture gas-fired buses, trucks and engines in Nigeria with its Nigerian partners.
High-impact and technology transfer driven, the Sponsors (Powergas and ETEFA) understand the importance of education and the supporting value-chain for local talent. As part of the CSR aspect of the Program, they plan to strongly support basic education and to sponsor education for under-privileged children by partnering with acclaimed agencies like BRIDGE Nigeria Academy. Bridge is a social enterprise that leverages technology to provide life-changing education to children and help them attain their full potential. They offer proven high-quality education and teaching standards with impressive low fees.