Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Solid waste management is an issue, particularly in fast-growing cities like Abuja in central Nigeria. It has been estimated that most cities spend 20 to 50% of their annual budget on solid waste management and collect 20 to 80% of total waste. Abuja alone generates over 14,800 tons of waste per month, including about 1,100 tons of plastic waste. However, none of this plastic is recycled by the municipality. This means that if, for example, a plastic bottle is thrown away and collected, it is very likely that it will end up in an open dump where it will cause harm to waste pickers, nearby residents and the environment. Not only do open dumps release carbon dioxide, but they also produce leachates that contaminate water. In addition, open dumps can spread infectious diseases and cause respiratory problems. How, then, can waste be given a second life as a sustainable material?
In 2009, Choji Bare founded Elbare R&D in the hope of unlocking the hidden wealth in waste. With its focus on industrial chemical research, Elbare R&D served as the ideal place to invent a process to convert plastic and rubber waste into petrol, diesel and kerosene. Later, in 2014, Green Energy was set up with 9 staff to realize the commercial potential of Choji’s innovative process. In order to convert waste into energy, Choji improved on the Fischer-Tropsch process in a way that not only conforms to international safety standards, but also produces zero pollution. Furthermore, all by-products are given a second life. For example, steel from tires is sold to the steel industry, and carbon monoxide from heating is converted into methyl methacrylate adhesive. Although Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, it relies on costly imports for domestic consumption. This has helped Green Energy offer a clean and affordable alternative to a wide range of customers, such as automobile drivers, diesel generator owners, and factories.
Currently, Green Energy can convert 12 tons of plastic waste into 13,500 liters of petrol every month. They have also begun work on a new waste-to-energy plant which will allow them to produce over 50,000 liters of petrol every day. Over the years, Green Energy has won several awards, such as the Presidential Award for Inventions and Innovations in 2012, as well as Seedstars World’s Most Innovative Startup Award in February 2015. For Choji Bare, giving a second life to waste is not only a local opportunity, but also a global one. In the next 5 to 10 years, he envisions Green Energy converting waste into energy in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
Environmental Impact: Avoided water contamination and avoided use of fossil fuels, including avoided emission of GHGs and harmful substances.
Measurement: Nigeria Federal Environmental Protection Agency
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