Energy is a critical enabler and an indispensable commodity which is required for the economic growth and development of any nation which accounts for human existence. It is an asset and resources for mankind without which human survival will be impossible. The industrial growth of any country is determined by the availability and utilization of energy in that country (Ebotion, 1996). Energy is also an essential input to the growth and development of the various sectors of every country’s economy. However, in any industry, the three top operating expenses components are often found to be energy (both electrical and thermal), labor and materials.
If one were to relate to the manageability of the cost or cost savings potential in each of the above components, energy would invariably emerge as a top ranker thus energy production and management constitutes a strategic area for cost reduction, (Cape and Kennedy, 1997).
In Nigeria for example; in spite of recent reforms, the challenges ahead are tremendous.
A growing economy like ours requires massive energy to power for domestic and industrial uses. Recent es¬timates have shown that; to achieve the Vision 2020 goal of making Nigeria one of the twenty largest economies in the world energy must be available and affordable to all its citizens.
As the world is currently moving fast towards globalization, industrial and technological advancement; sufficient generation and utilization of energy sources that are clean and eco-friendly has become an important issue. However, these energy sources are non-renewable and are getting fast depleted. Finding fossil fuel now involves deep sea exploration, as most oil shores are already being depleted, which results in increase in drilling cost.
Eventually, the scarcity of the raw sources has led to geometric increase in the price of fossil fuels in the market over the years. The combustion of the fossil fuels contributes to the emission of the largest greenhouses’ gases like carbon dioxide, CO2 into the atmosphere which is increasing global warming. Many countries have now moved towards generation of cleaner and greener energy as an alternative energy source.
One example of green energy that could be used is landfill gas. Landfill gas is preferred over fossil fuels as it is much cheaper and environmentally friendly, Demirba?,(2001). The sources for landfill gas production could be from readily available raw materials like cow manure, fruit and vegetable waste, food processing industries, poultry as well as municipal solid waste (MSW), Steffen et al (1998). Landfill gas emits less nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide than gasoline or diesel, Rasi et al (2007).
The energy released, which is about ~22 MJ/kg, allows landfill gas to be used as fuel for heating purposes such as cooking or to power motor vehicles, McKendry, (2002). Landfill gas also may be made transportable via pipelines, or by compressing in gas cylinders as landfill gas can be compressed; the same way natural gas is compressed to CNG.
Landfill gas could also be used for electricity generation. However, before the landfill gas can be supplied for energy application, it needs to be cleaned and purified as there is the presence of entities like CO2 and H2S which can affect the calorific value, quality, quantity and also the performance of the whole system for landfill gas production. Upgrading landfill gas to near natural gas quality is a multiple step procedure. Various technologies are available in order to remove contaminants or trace elements from landfill gas being produced, leaving more methane per unit volume of gas, Ryckebosch et al., 2011.
Renewable energy are energy resources that are naturally replenished within human timescale and these include; sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat, Tester et al (2012). Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services, Edenhofer et al (2011
Renewable energy has more often replaced conventional fuels in four areas: electricity generation, hot water/space heating, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services. Power generation through hydroelectric energy which provides about 16.3% of the world’s electricity. When hydroelectric is combined with other renewable such as wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and waste: together they constituted 21.7% of total electricity generation worldwide in year 2013.
Biogas produced from wastes in landfill can reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, beyond finding solutions that are environmentally friendly and sustainable to contribute to the energy matrix of local communities in Nigeria. The use of bio-methane, as a supplement to natural gas, is capable of bringing about substantial reductions in greenhouse gases, while creating flexibility in gas supplies across the universe. The intensification of human and industrial activities in the last few decades has generated increase in the production of municipal solid wastes (MSW), hence becoming a serious problem for the society. Consequently, the uses of large landfills in urban centers are still common, which causes sanitary problems in most states of Nigeria.
Another important area of interest of bio-methane is that it can serve as a source for renewable hydrogen. Although methane can be derived from numerous sources, environmental benefits are gained using renewable feedstock in its production from such waste dumps sites. Continuous improvement of renewable energy and technological diversification of energy sources would result in significant energy security and economic benefits. It would also reduce environmental pollution such as air pollution caused by burning of fossil fuels and improve public health, reduce premature death due to pollution and save associated health costs that amount to several billion of naira annually in Nigeria.
Renewable energy production from biomass and subsequent purification into more useful products such as bio-methane is currently a very costly and capital intensive process, which is often due to the dispersed nature of biogas sources and economies of scale. However, this research is intended to design, construct and carry out performance evaluation of an efficient, cost effective bio-methane production system that both domestic and industrial methane gas users can easily acquire and put into.