Exploring Locational Criteria to Optimise Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria

Shehu, Basiru (2022) Exploring Locational Criteria to Optimise Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Energy is one of the important building blocks of any economy and the sustainability of its supply is crucial. Renewable energy sources are being explored with the objective of harnessing their potential to address demand shortages and provide sustainable clean energy. Biofuels, as one of these renewables, continue to expand and their share in global energy consumption continues to increase. Apart from lower net carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels and their role as transitional fuel sources in global shift towards renewable energy, biofuels offer other benefits such as increasing the volume of liquid fuels, improving air quality, expanding trade, import substitution and energy diversification. Therefore, there are strong environmental and economic arguments for the Nigerian Government to embark on deployment of renewable energy, including biofuels. Despite abundant biomass resources, biofuel programmes have not been fully operationalised in the country, partly because biofuels vary in their favourability profiles which depend on local conditions and practices, as well as spatial conflicts between land designed for energy production and other land uses such as agriculture or nature reserves. Consequently, there is a need for robust and detailed approaches to this location-related problem. Although Spatial Multi-criteria Analysis (SMCA) as a support tool has been applied to biofuel production analysis, accounting for multiple stakeholder opinions has been one of the major challenges. In Nigeria, there have been few attempts to apply spatial analysis to locational problems related to biofuel production. In addition, these studies are limited in terms of scope, were based on feedstock other than energy crops, and provided superficial analysis of suitability of the identified sites. The goal of this thesis was to show how to improve the robustness and transparency of spatial analysis in Nigeria through answering some spatial questions about biofuel production, which extends our knowledge of GIS and is relevant to practice. Robustness implies detailed exploration of the required environmental criteria and incorporation of the expert decisions on the criteria preferences. This work transparently demonstrates detailed application of the combined geospatial and multi-criteria methods to make the academic contribution transferable. The technical goal of the work was to conduct spatial optimisation for biofuel production in the country through detailed assessment of environmental criteria, modelling land suitability for cultivating sweet sorghum, sugarcane, cassava, oil palm and jatropha as biofuel crops in Nigeria and modelling optimal sites for biofuel processing and/or blending. This will provide support for spatial decisions regarding establishing biofuel processing plants or expanding the existing ones. Analytical Hierarchy Process (pairwise comparison) was adopted as the multi-criteria analysis method due to its robustness regarding stakeholder inclusion. Weighted overlay was adopted as method of land suitability modelling and supply area modelling was adopted as the method of site optimisation. The analysis showed that northcentral geo-political zone of Nigeria has the largest areas of land that is very suitable for cultivating sugarcane, cassava, oil palm and jatropha, while northeast has the largest areas of land that is very suitable for cultivating sweet sorghum. Based on these, three sizes of service area were considered assuming worst, average and highest crop yields scenarios to optimise processing/blending sites. Existing petroleum depots were considered as the candidate sites. Ilorin petroleum depot was found to be the most optimal location for processing/blending biofuel in Nigeria based on all the crop yields scenarios, within 300 km service area. However, assuming worst case yields scenario within 100 km service area, Maiduguri depot was found to be the best location for sweet sorghum and sugarcane biofuel processing/blending, but Yola depot was suggested as replacement for sugarcane. Ibadan was found to be the best for oil palm and jatropha, but Ikot Abasi depot was suggested as replacement for oil palm. Aba was found to be the best for cassava, but Makurdi was suggested as replacement. This work had demonstrated how robust integration of GIS tools with MCDM techniques could improve the effectiveness of spatial decision-making process regarding positioning biofuel production in developing countries like Nigeria. It is therefore concluded that this work will serve as a point of reference for state-of-the-art application of spatial multi-criteria evaluation analysis, not only for the biofuel industry, but also for other sectors of environmental management such as river basin management, land use or settlement planning. The tendency of a biofuel programme in Nigeria to succeed would greatly be enhanced by adopting sustainability strategies along its value chain through climate smart agriculture, designing and/or adopting a suitable feedstock supply model, effective land use management, realigning policy objectives, enforcing policy directives and balancing between strong and weak sustainability strategies. This will create a conducive environment for stimulating biofuel programme, delivering energy source diversification, economic growth and sustainable development for Nigeria.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Priestnall, Gary
Ives, Chris
Keywords: biofuels, biomass, renewable energy sources, Nigeria
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery > TJ807 Renewable energy sources
T Technology > TP Chemical technology > TP 155 Chemical engineering
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Geography
Item ID: 71795
Depositing User: Shehu, Basiru
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 12:47
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2023 12:47
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/71795

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