Zenith Agroethanol Nigeria Ltd is the Partner of the Month of July! In this interview, the Managing Director, Mr. Olaoluwa Bamikole shares their activities in the clean cookstoves sector.
Give us a brief introduction about your organisation
Zenith Agroethanol Nigeria Limited was registered in 2006 as an ethanol/bioenergy consulting company in Nigeria for clean and renewable energy development. In 2008, the company was registered in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as biofuels consulting company named Zenith International LLC, USA.
The company has over 12 years experience in Africa, Europe, Asia, United States and Canada in the area of biofuels, solid biomass and conversion of agricultural wastes to briquettes for clean cookstoves and all forms of clean energy technologies that mitigate climate change and improve both community environment and health of community/municipal dwellers. We have capabilities in documentation of business plan, feasibility study, marketing of renewable energy technology, clean energy activation and development couple with data gathering and Research & Development.
What does your organization seek to achieve in the Nigeria cooking energy market?
We seek to ensure a modest ethanol production plant is built in Nigeria to provide and promote ethanol fuel for ethanol cookstoves users in Nigeria.
Can you tell us about your clean cooking activities including your achievements?
Our recent achievement in Nigeria is the building and commissioning of ethanol plant (Jesmond Valley Company Limited) in Eminpa Village in Edu LGA, Kwara State on the 25th June, 2018. We have been involved in the design and process technology of ethanol plants in Thailand, Guatemala, Capetown, Zambia, etc.
What are your biggest challenges in implementing your clean cooking activities?
Adequate funding is one of our major challenges. We desire to invest in modest ethanol plants across the 774 LGAs in Nigeria but funding has been a challenge. Low investment and awareness of ethanol in Nigeria is another challenge in implementing our clean cooking activities.
What are the opportunities identified in the country that can facilitate the growth of your clean cooking activities?
One of the opportunities we have identified in the country that can facilitate the growth of our clean cooking activities is intensive awareness including training of our law makers and the commercial banks on the business opportunities in ethanol production. Also educating them on the benefit of using ethanol over the traditional fuels like firewood, charcoal etc will help in the growth of our clean cooking activities. The huge population of Nigeria is a great market for our products.
What are the benefits of your clean cooking activities to the consumers?
Our customers attest that our ethanol fuel is better than every other cooking fuels like firewood, charcoal, kerosene etc and it is environment friendly. Our cooking fuel is also very fast to cook with and do not have any negative impact on their health.
Job creation and the empowerment of women seem to be increasingly important. How do your clean cooking activities help drive employment generation and the empowerment of women?
Our ethanol plant in Kwara has employed 15 direct staff and 120 sugarcane out-grower farmers to support the production plant. Most of these employees and farmers are women. We also train plant operators in process optimization, assist in plant operations, plant audit and documentation of the standard operating procedures for achieving both ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 that leads to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). We engage women at different stages of our activities.
If you are asked to advise the federal government of Nigeria on policy options, what are the three most important things the government can do to expand the clean cookstoves market?
One of the major challenges in the clean cookstoves market is low level of awareness. The federal government of Nigeria as a matter of priority should promote clean cookstoves legislation and awareness in the country. The government should also encourage a change in the attitude of commercial banks and regulatory agencies at the Nigerian Ports. Finally, the federal government should encourage synergy among government ministries such as Federal Ministry of Environment, Power, Agriculture and Finance. These efforts of the federal government will promote the use of ethanol fuels in Nigeria.
If an enabling environment is not created by government, what future risks do you envisage?
It is a fact that cooking in an open fire increases the death rate in the country. If the government does not create an enabling environment, there will be increase in death rate. The rate of unemployment will also increase as increase in clean cooking activities leads to increase in employment rate. If the government does not create an enabling environment to promote the use of clean cooking, there will be unwarranted migration leading to war/killing like in the case of farmers versus Fulani herdsmen.
What are your suggestions for moving the cooking energy market forward in Nigeria?
To move the clean cooking industry forward, we need to have appropriate policy and legislation in place. The federal government should also give tax incentives/tax holiday to clean cookstoves promoters. There should be reforms of commercial bank so they can support the industry better. Finally, clean cooking should be added to the school curriculum.
Is there any other thing you would like to share?
Zenith Agroethanol Nigeria limited is a member of technical committee on standards for ethanol in Nigeria, member of Nigerian alliance for Clean Cookstoves, member of Renewable Energy Association in Nigeria, member of Council for Renewable Energy of Nigeria. The company is also a member of Ukrainian Biofuels Association.
Kindly visit www.zenithrenewable.com to know more about their activities
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