Nigeria is an oil rich nation with an average crude oil production of about 2 million barrels of oil per day, making it the 11th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the largest producer in Africa.
In sharp contrast, the country, according to the International Energy Agency still has about 70 million people without access to electricity and clean cooking.
Nigeria is blessed with a significant amount of biomass which are useful in the production of biofuels, and other bioproducts. The biomass resource in the country is potentially about 144million tonnes per year.
Britannica defines biofuel as any fuel that is derived from biomass—that is, plant or algae material or animal waste.
Since such feedstock material can be replenished readily, biofuel is considered to be a source of renewable energy, unlike fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.
Biomass is estimated to account for about 80 per cent of the total primary consumption of energy in Nigeria: while oil, natural gas and hydro stands at 20 per cent in total.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a large demand of biomass is for activities such as heating and cooking, especially in the rural areas.
Biofuels are made from biomass, a natural available resource in the form of agricultural materials and waste in the form of wood, garbage, landfill gas and alcohol fuels.
It is estimated to be able to produce about 47.97 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE).
Most of the biomass potential in Nigeria is in the form of fuelwood, biogas and biocrops.
About 90 per cent of the energy consumed by rural people is from biomass.
There are various grades of biofuels that can be made from these biomass of which the most common examples are biofuels from the processing of agricultural products.
A good case is the production of bioethanol from sugarcane processing, and the generation of biodiesel from palm oil.
Based on the abundance of biofuel resource, it is expectedly able to solve a bulk of the energy security issues that the nation has.
But despite this huge benefit that biofuels could bring to the development of the nation’s economy, it is still not being given the attention it should.
A major reason for this could be attributed to the cost comparison in the production of the conventional fossil fuels. The cost of producing biofuels is still higher than that of fossil fuels which the country has in abundance.
Ethanol, a member of the biofuel family, according to a report by (Azocleantech.com, 2013), derived from sugarcane costs above $0.40- $0.50/litre of gasoline (petrol) equivalent (lge), it is compared to gasoline prices ranging from $0.3- $0.4/lge.
Ethanol from sugar-beet, maize or wheat may cost around $0.6-$0.8/lge which can be further reduced to $0.4-$0.6/lge. This high level of cost poses a discouragement to shifting towards the energy fuel.
Also, the low cost of an alternative renewable power source, solar photovoltaic, calls the attention of many energy investors away from investing heavily in biofuel production in Nigeria.
On the other hand, countries in North America increased their consumption of biofuels from 276.675 thousand barrels per day in the same 2005 to 941.86 thousand barrels per day in 2012.
This indicates that the Nigerian government and politicians are not doing enough for optimization and utilization of renewable energy.