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Towards achieving a green economy in Nigeria
For any country to achieve a green economy, it needs a sustainable, clean and environmentally friendly energy source to power its economy, as well as a clean transportation system amongst others. But for Nigeria, there is still the issue of impacts on the environment, climate change and health from the extrapolation of current energy sources and systems. If one considers the activities of oil and gas in the Niger Delta, one will see that the release of greenhouse gases during the production of these energy sources is contributing a lot to global warming and climate change, whereas the oil spillage in that region has brought about environment degradation by making the land and sea to be unproductive with health-related issues such as cancer.
Moreover, if one considers the number of vehicles on our roads and the generators in use both for domestic and industrial purposes, one would imagine the quantity of C02 released into the atmosphere, also contributing to the issue of climate change.
Furthermore, if one considers the number of trees that are fallen daily, either for the purpose of cooking or for the manufacture of furniture; one would see that the environment has been exposed to erosion and desertification. Thus, the need for a paradigm shift in the way we produce and use energy towards mitigating the impacts on our environment. Hydrogen, a clean energy carrier that can be produced from any primary energy source and fuel cells which are very efficient energy conversion devices; provide a solution to these problems.
Hydrogen and fuel cells by enabling a so-called hydrogen economy hold great promises for meeting in a unique way, our concerns over having a green energy source and a clean transportation system.
Hydrogen can be produced from both renewable and non-renewable energy sources that, thanks to future technologies such as CO2 sequestration which no longer emit greenhouse gases. One of the chief advantages of hydrogen is its ability to produce energy without emitting pollutants or CO2.
There are many pilot projects presently on building a hydrogen economy most especially in the area of transportation and power generation. In the area of transportation, several automobile manufacturers in USA, Germany and Japan have developed vehicles that use the hydrogen fuel, ranging from cars, buses, motorcycles and even spacecrafts.
The distribution of hydrogen for the purpose of transportation is also currently being used around the world
The question now is, how Nigeria can take advantage of such a green energy source. With a large reserve of natural gas that presently end-up being flared and good potentials in renewable energy sources that are yet to be harnessed; the country can reap the benefits of the hydrogen, economy. For this to be achieved, both the government and the masses would have to be included in the crusade. For the government, it has to devise polices in areas concerning the generation of the hydrogen fuel and its distribution just like how it has been done in the oil and gas industry.
I see a new Nigeria emerging, one that would be built from the debris of the present situation, hewn out of the doldrums of environmental degradation and this can only be achieved if we all come together as a nation and work towards achieving a Green Economy.
Muhammed Tanimu Maidoki,
NYSC/NESREA CDs Group.