Greener Journal of Biological Sciences Vol. 3 (1), pp. 001-012, January 2013
© 2011 Greener Journals
Manuscript Number: 010613363
The challenge of biodiesel production from oil palm feedstock in Nigeria
Sylvester C. Izah and Elijah I. Ohimain*
Bioenergy and Environmental Biotechnology Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
*Corresponding Author’s Email: eohimain @ yahoo.com
Nigeria has joined the league of countries seeking for alternatives to fossil fuels. Biofuel has emerged as a credible alternative and blend stock for the dwindling petroleum resources. Nigeria is committed to blending biodiesel with petrodiesel up to 20%. This paper evaluates the challenge of biodiesel production from oil palm feedstock in Nigeria. The study found that biodiesel production in Nigeria could be challenged by feedstock supply shortages, poor quality of the feedstock, technological challenges and poor policy framework. Oil palm in Nigeria is mostly processed by smallholders, producing oils of low quality due to high free fatty acid (FFA), moisture and impurities above limits for biodiesel production. Pretreatment techniques, which are used to upgrade the oil, could increase the cost of the resultant biodiesel. Because of the poor quality of the feedstock, enzymatic transesterification is a more feasible method for biodiesel production. The paper concludes by suggesting the use of inedible oil as feedstock, production of lipase for enzymatic transesterification and upgrading the Nigerian policy and incentives.
Keywords: biodiesel, biofuel, challenges, feedstock, microbial lipases, Nigeria.