Thursday 19 December 2019

Kube-Atenda Community, Ibadan, Nigeria Commissioned Waste-to-Electricity Facility - A CIRCLE Research Uptake

by Dr Taiwo Hammed Babatunde, Cohort 3, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Members of the Kube-Atenda Community after the unveiling of the smokeless pyrolytic chamber
In September 2019 I won a second round of the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement programme (CIRCLE) Research Uptake Fund. The fund provided grants to alumni of the CIRCLE Visiting Fellowship programme to conduct activities aimed at ensuring the uptake of their CIRCLE research findings by end-users. The current uptake focused on scaling up of waste buy-back established my CIRCLE project at Kube Atenda community, Ibadan, Nigeria. Before this uptake activity, the community had been faced with a major challenge of transporting wastes collected at the centre to the companies that would utilize them in the city. As such, wastes started to accumulate in heaps around the centre while some people were reverting to their old management practices that are not environmentally friendly. According to the chairman of Kube-Atenda community, Elder Abraham Odeyale, ‘disposal of wastes has long been a major challenge in our community. Once upon a time, wastes were being burnt or disposed of in the community stream, but we had been taught to desist from such disposal methods. Therefore, the community members had been paying a token fee for a waste contractor to clear our wastes. However, the waste collector had been unavailable of late’.

Against this backdrop and in ensuring that community people permanently stop disposing of their wastes on illegal dumps, in open spaces, in water bodies or burn them openly, I invented and installed a smokeless pyrolytic chamber that converts various solid wastes to renewable energy and useful by-products. The uniqueness of the chamber is that:
    1. The entire unit is completely covered to reduce gaseous emission into the atmosphere.
    2. No heat loss; heat generated during the burning of waste is reused through the production of syngas and injecting it into the furnace.
    3. Smoke is recycled into black oil or diesel after treatment.
    4. Since there is no gaseous emission, it can be operated safely at any convenient place.
    5. All materials used are locally available.
    6. The unit powers itself and can be used to treat hazardous wastes, hospital waste and agricultural wastes without polluting the environment.

The smokeless pyrolytic chamber and young members of the Kube-Atenda community

The smokeless pyrolytic chamber
Through community joint efforts, various activities that were carried out to ensure the success of this research uptake included:
    1.  Creating awareness of buy-back centre
    2. Building people’s capacity in waste to wealth concept for wealth creation and poverty reduction
    3. Monitoring and evaluation of previous uptake activities
    4. Fabrication, installation and test-running of newly invented pyrolytic chamber for converting accumulated waste to energy and useful by-products
    5. Production of simplified and harmonized manual
    6. A one-day hands-on training workshop on the operation of the newly invented plant
    7. Dissemination of the simplified manual was organized in the community

Elder Odeyale also said that the power situation has been problematic too. “Most of the time, darkness has been what we reckon within this community. But with this project, light has come, and we believe it will be extended." The facility will reduce the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of from the community. The facility generates gas that powers a generator for electricity supply and produces oil from which diesel and kerosene can be distilled. The electricity supplied is used to power a phone-charging centre that financially empowers the youths who are managing the centre. The electricity generated also powers streetlights and thereby improves security in the area. The project holds great promise in that it is scalable. To produce more gas and subsequently more electricity, a bigger generating set is needed, coupled with an increase in the waste fed into the pyrolytic chamber. The current setup powers a 2.4kva generator.

Phone-charging centre powered by electricity generated from the smokeless pyrolytic chamber
The centre has become a study area for the young and mid-career researchers and postgraduate students in the University of Ibadan and beyond. This research uptake will meet the community people’s needs in the area of community development, clean environment, people's capacity building in waste to wealth concept for wealth creation and poverty reduction, improved health and improved self-esteem. Also, the uptake activities will facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policymakers, practitioners and other development actors in the state in general.

Study area for young and mid-career researcher and postgraduate students
I am of the opinion that the success story and experiences I have acquired from this uptake will advance my capacity in executing the ACU Blue Charter Fellowship research on marine plastic pollution I am currently undertaking at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom.

For more information on this project please contact