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Nigeria Embraces Bioethanol Amid Rising Inflation

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Nigeria Embraces Bioethanol Amid Rising Inflation

As Nigeria grapples with a dramatic surge in inflation, surpassing 27% over the past year, the affordability of traditional cooking gas has become a pressing issue for many households. In response to this economic pressure, Nigerians are increasingly turning to bioethanol, a cheaper and renewable substitute for cooking gas that is swiftly gaining traction across the country.

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The escalating cost of living, exacerbated by the cessation of a fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has rendered regular cooking gas out of reach for many. In contrast, bioethanol offers a cost-effective resolution, with a litre of this biofuel costing just over $1.

Moreover, users like 43-year-old hairdresser Shola Abiodun Adeyemi testify to the fuel's efficiency, asserting that they can accomplish more cooking with bioethanol than with an equivalent amount of traditional gas.

In addition to its economic benefits, bioethanol is also hailed for its environmental and health merits. Bioethanol gel releases a significantly lower amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere compared to conventional cooking fuels, thereby offering a cleaner alternative in kitchens where families are exposed to the health risks of woodsmoke and other polluting fuels. Domestic air pollution, largely attributed to these harmful fuels, is responsible for over 93,000 deaths among Nigerian women annually, according to the World Health Organization.

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Impact on Carbon Dioxide Emissions

A widespread adoption of bioethanol across Nigerian households could remarkably reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over four million tonnes, as per United Nations estimates. This shift to bioethanol is not only economically advantageous but also environmentally friendly and healthier for families. It is preferred by users like Adeyemi, who appreciates the cleaner cooking experience, including less soot on pots and a more pleasant smell during cooking.

Despite its benefits, the transition to bioethanol is not without its challenges. While more Nigerian households are adopting greener biofuels, there are limitations, particularly during Nigeria's economic crisis. Some have reverted to wood and coal, which are even cheaper, warns Abel Gaiya, a researcher at Clean Technology Hub.

Furthermore, defective stoves could lead to leaks, explosions, and fires, emphasizing the need for government involvement. As Lilian Aremu, a business manager of Green Energy Biofuels and co-founder of Kike Technologies, asserts, more support from authorities could reduce production costs and extend the benefits of bioethanol to more people, including those in rural areas.

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