Nigeria: Cassava-based ethanol plant to catalyze economic growth, says minister

In a significant move poised to transform multiple sectors of the economy, Chief Uche Nnaji, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, announced the establishment of a cassava-based ethanol plant.

Speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) and Montserrado Investments Ltd., Nnaji emphasized the plant’s potential to drive economic growth and promote sustainable development.

“This agreement is a testament to our collective efforts to support the Nigerian government’s commitment to transitioning to clean cooking fuel,” Nnaji stated. “By facilitating the production and use of ethanol derived from cassava, we are taking a vital step toward reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and embracing renewable energy sources.”

The plant, set to be located in Ekiti State, is a key part of the ministry’s initiative to advance Nigeria’s bio-energy value chain. The project aims to harness the economic potential of the cassava-to-ethanol industry, providing significant benefits including the enhancement of the profitability of the cassava value chain, which will support local farmers and stimulate employment across the sector.

The initiative is also expected to reduce the use of kerosene and wood as cooking fuels, thus protecting citizens from harmful carbon dioxide emissions, preserving forests, and improving Nigeria’s carbon footprint.

Nnaji highlighted the collaborative effort between the Ministry, Montserrado Investments, and FIIRO, which will focus on designing, building, and operating the ethanol processing plant according to international best practices for environmental sustainability and efficiency. The project will also establish a reliable supply chain for cassava, ensuring fair trade practices and economic benefits to local communities.

In addition to the economic and environmental advantages, the initiative aims to promote public awareness about the benefits of using ethanol as a clean cooking fuel, encouraging its adoption among Nigerian households. Although the pilot project will be located in Ekiti State, plans are in place to replicate it across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji, represented by Seun Fakuade, Commissioner for Innovation, Science, and Digital Economy, highlighted the project’s potential impact on Ekiti State and beyond.

Dr. Jummai Adamu Tutuwa, Director General of FIIRO, praised the institute’s expertise in bioethanol production from cassava. “FIIRO’s work in this domain exemplifies the institute’s capability to align traditional agricultural practices with modern industrial applications. Bioethanol production from cassava serves as a quintessential example of how science can contribute to sustainable development,” Tutuwa said. “FIIRO’s innovative processes have demonstrated how cassava can be efficiently converted into bioethanol, unveiling a new horizon for the energy and agricultural sectors and also the production of other items from cassava including bread, fufu, cassava flour, cassava chips, etc.”

A representative of Montserrado Investments added that the company, which focuses on energy infrastructure in emerging markets, is currently developing a 50,000-litre-per-day ethanol distillery in Ekiti.

This project represents a significant step forward in Nigeria’s efforts to promote renewable energy and sustainable development, with far-reaching benefits for the economy and the environment.


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