By Dotun Akintomide
The adoption of anaerobic digestion of food waste as a sustainable technology for waste management system will ensure a reduction in tonnages of unmanaged wastes in Lagos State, a chemical engineer, Dr. Olorunwa Tijani had said.
Anaerobic digestion of food waste is a series of biological processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. One of the end products is biogas, which is combusted to generate electricity and heat as well as be processed into renewable natural gas and transportation fuels.
According to Tijani, amongst waste treatment options, which include; recycling and material recovery, aerobic composting, incineration, and sanitary landfill, anaerobic digestion is highly favoured for Lagos due to its potential to divert wastes from landfills, as well as reduce immediately, the green house gas (GHG) emissions, thereby effectively mitigating against the major cause-source of global warming and climate change.
Presenting a paper titled: “Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste: A case study for inclusion in the waste management strategy for Lagos,” he said the method should be considered as a potentially viable alternative for the recovery of valuable energy in the form of Methane (CH4) explaining that its end product is a digestate which can be used as fertilizer for agriculture.
This much, he said at the 10th year remembrance lecture organized for a prominent Fellow of the Society, late Cosmas Olufunsho Odunaiya jointly hosted by the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, (NSChE), Lagos/Ogun Chapters; the Odunaiya family and the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) in Lagos.
Tijani explained that given the huge Lagos population, lack of existing data on waste management and the fact that waste management is region specific, there is need for the development of a technology that can be localized, simple and cheap to design and operate.
“When considering implementation strategies for a place like Lagos, it is important to restate key challenges that might thwart the development of sustainable biogas-producing anaerobic digestion technologies, which are pertinent to most urban environments in developing countries.”
Tijani urged government on the need to introduce Anaerobic Digestion units in places where food wastes are already available in abundance; initiate food waste AD systems in residential communities with strong existing local leadership; encourage the public to provide their food waste to the digester; assign trained supervisors to a sub-set of AD locations with a local manager and initially focusing on locations where pilot systems will be trialed.
“Large families who produce a substantial amount of food waste would be encouraged and educated to develop their “own” home digester to produce biogas for home cookers, livestock farmers like: cattle and poultry farmers, would be encouraged to also adopt the use of AD and the need to establish a government-industry and academic-public steering group who would have the responsibility of AD performance and promotion,” he stated.
In their goodwill messages, a former Rector of LASPOTECH and also a student to the diseased, Prof Adefila, lauded Oduaniya’s contributions, strengths and passion directed at mentoring young professionals towards greatness.
The program was well attended by Odunaiya’s former colleagues, close associates, family members, current engineering students of LASPOTECH, Fellows and members of NSChE across the country.