Agri­cul­ture: A case for re­new­able en­ergy

Daily Trust - - FOCUS - By shittu Su­raj and Bankole Falowo

Nigeria, like other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, is fac­ing se­ri­ous en­ergy chal­lenges. It is clear that en­ergy sup­ply and price vo­latil­ity have con­tin­ued to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in de­ter­min­ing the level of eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­tries.

It has also been re­ported that eco­nomic growth in Nigeria will re­quire mas­sive in­fu­sions of sus­tain­able en­ergy in the near­est fu­ture. This in­creas­ing en­ergy in­puts we are yearn­ing for will not only be re­quired for elec­tri­cal power pro­duc­tion for home and in­dus­trial use but also for agri­cul­ture pro­duc­tive pur­poses.

Kano and Ji­gawa states, for ex­am­ple, have heav­ily in­vested in wind tur­bine ir­ri­ga­tion farm­ing and wind­mill ma­chines for pro­vid­ing clean wa­ter for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and graz­ing live­stock, re­spec­tively. Ondo State has de­vel­oped techville, a tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tive vil­lage that is fully pow­ered by so­lar en­ergy, Ogun State has also been work­ing on bioethanol project.

Re­new­able en­ergy has been de­fined as the en­ergy de­rived from nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring and re­plen­ish­able en­ergy flows with pos­i­tive Life Cir­cle As­sess­ment value. These in­clude So­lar, Wind, Hy­dro, Tidal, Geo­ther­mal and Biomass en­ergy re­sources– all of which are mostly driven by so­lar en­ergy.

They are in­ex­haustible source of en­ergy so­lu­tions that can pro­vide a com­pet­i­tive al­ter­na­tive to petroldiesel and gaso­line gen­er­at­ing sys­tems that are in­creas­ingly un­der cost pres­sures - ris­ing fos­sil fuel costs; fre­quent ser­vic­ing re­quire­ments and prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with in­creas­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal emis­sions.

The con­cerns on the eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and na­tional se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions of the en­ergy sources have trig­gered sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in some re­new­able en­ergy sources, such as small hy­dro power, Wind, So­lar, and Bioen­ergy (Bio­fu­els such as Bio-diesel, Bioethanol, and Bio­gasetc.).

As a re­sult, many pro­gres­sive gov­ern­ments have adopted re­new­able en­ergy sources that would sup­port the de­vel­op­ment

Kano and Ji­gawa states, for ex­am­ple,

have heav­ily in­vested in wind tur­bine ir­ri­ga­tion

farm­ing and wind­mill ma­chines for pro­vid­ing clean

wa­ter for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and graz­ing live­stock,


of al­ter­na­tive sources of en­ergy for elec­tric­ity sup­ply, street light­ing, home power, sus­tain­able wa­ter sup­ply and ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter sup­ply.

For agri­cul­tural pur­poses, so­lar en­ergy can be used to dry an­i­mal skin ei­ther through- open or me­chan­i­cal dri­ers, pow­er­ing pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tions, pre­serv­ing meat prod­ucts, dry­ing veg­eta­bles & crops, agri­cul­tural prod­ucts fu­mi­ga­tor, thrash­ing ma­chines and wa­ter sprayer. In farm of­fice build­ings, it can be used for bulb light­ing, cook­ing, and wa­ter heat­ing. It can also be used for farm an­i­mals’ vac­cine re­frig­er­a­tion (so­lar re­frig­er­a­tor), wa­ter pump­ing and pu­rifi­ca­tion (so­lar pump) and for lift/pres­surised wa­ter ir­ri­ga­tion sup­ply.

An­other con­tend­ing re­new­able en­ergy al­ter­na­tive for agri­cul­ture pur­poses is wind Power. It is an­other very at­trac­tive re­new­able source whose pri­mary en­ergy is free. The use of wind power can be categorised into two, namely: wind­mill and wind tur­bine.

Wind tur­bine is a ma­chine that con­verts the ki­netic en­ergy in wind into me­chan­i­cal en­ergy. If this me­chan­i­cal en­ergy is used di­rectly by ma­chin­ery, such as a pump or grind­ing mill, the ma­chine is usu­ally called a wind­mill. If the me­chan­i­cal en­ergy is con­verted to elec­tric­ity for pro­duc­tive uses, the ma­chine is called a wind tur­bine.

Wind­mills are proven tech­nol­ogy that of­fers su­pe­rior ben­e­fits over any other me­chan­i­cal pump­ing sys­tem. For in­stance, in ab­strac­tion of ei­ther sur­face/un­der­ground wa­ter into stor­age reser­voir for sheep, a cat­tle graz­ing is pump­ing wa­ter for live­stock through an­i­mal trough, and do­mes­tic farm ir­ri­ga­tion. Its ap­pli­ca­tion may also in­clude; fill­ing reser­voirs for fish ponds and grind­ing grains into flour meals as feed for farm an­i­mals.

Biomass as any or­ganic mat­ter that is avail­able on a re­new­able or recurring ba­sis, in­clud­ing agri­cul­tural crops and trees, wood and wood wastes and residues, plants (in­clud­ing aquatic plants), grasses, residues, fibers, and an­i­mal wastes, mu­nic­i­pal wastes, and other waste ma­te­ri­als.

Biomass, such as wood, straw, crop residues and ma­nure, con­tains stored en­ergy. Like­wise, Bio­fu­els are liq­uid fu­els pro­duced from biomass and the types in­clude bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas and bio-methanol. Plants such as – Ja­t­ropha Cur­cas, Neem seeds, etc. have been used to pro­duce these bio­fu­els since they have high oil con­tent and good de­sir­able prop­er­ties re­quired as fu­els.

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