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Countries pledge to achieve net-zero targets

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By Mercy Kelani

This pledge has pushed energy-deficient nations to create net-zero strategies.

The concept of disruption has been a trendy topic for the last 20 years, sparking conversations among people worldwide, major tech companies, global organizations, and the media. It highlights the fast-paced technological progress in industries like banking, finance, information technology, and agriculture, shaping daily lives and economies locally, nationally, and globally. Industry 4.0 has brought about a noticeable shift towards digitization. Despite this, the excessive use of Earth’s resources by humanity is accelerating climate change and global warming. As a result, terms such as renewable energy, climate change, and sustainable development are now commonly discussed in various international organizations and academic institutions, including the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Also, the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking and the emphasis on ESG demonstrate the growing popularity of this trend. During COP21, the Paris Agreement was established to set a goal for nations to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Participating countries have pledged to achieve net-zero emissions targets and have detailed plans on how to reach them. This pledge has pushed energy-deficient countries and those heavily reliant on fossil fuels to create their own net-zero strategies, finding a balance between energy security, fairness, and environmental preservation.

Utilizing current technologies for sustainable utilization of resources.

Nigeria, depending heavily on natural resources for its economic stability, seems to have limited options for diversifying its economy. Hence, the focus is on utilizing current technologies for sustainable utilization of resources. Nigeria has a wealth of resources, such as oil, coal (639 million tonnes proven reserves, natural gas (200 tcf), 2.75 billion tonnes unproven reserves, and 250 million tonnes lignite proven reserves), and solar energy reaching up to 2400 kWh/m2. Nigeria is exploring innovative solutions like Blue Hydrogen (Blue-H2) and Carbon Capture, Storage (CCUS) and Utilisation, to drive its socioeconomic growth alongside environmental preservation.

Following the success of the In Salah project in Algeria, Nigeria is keen on replicating similar achievements by injecting 3.8 million metric tonnes of CO2 into a depleted gas reserve without any leakage from 2004 to 2021. The International Financial Corporation (IFC) partnered with the Federal Government of Nigeria to host workshops in 2022-2023, focusing on carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and increasing awareness among industries such as cement and oil and gas, including regulatory agencies and MDAs.

CCUS and H2 technologies can revolutionize energy sustainability.

More so, Nigeria could tap into brown-H2 resources from coal mines and blue-H2 from solar energy systems, taking advantage of high levels of sunlight similar to the Sahara Desert. Surface facilities worldwide have limited storage capacity for H2, totalling around 270 tons in existing tanks. This is why subsurface geostorage at a depth of 2 km is the preferred method. The Niger Delta province has many depleted and near-depleted reservoirs, with over half of them at depths greater than 2 km. When it comes to CO2 geostorage, the optimal depth is approximately 0.8 km.

Furthermore, Nigeria’s ambitious net-zero goals rely heavily on CCUS technology and the use of hydrogen, leveraging the country’s vast fossil fuel and renewable energy resources, well-established pipeline infrastructure, and highly skilled labour force. Encouraging the development of CCUS and hydrogen infrastructure requires collaboration from various stakeholders, including private enterprises, local financial institutions, government funding bodies like NSIA in Nigeria, global entities such as World Bank, IFC, and IRENA, and the upcoming African Energy Bank. In Nigeria, CCUS and H2 technologies have the power to revolutionize energy sustainability by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and securing energy sources, particularly with the country’s heavy dependence on gas turbines for electricity.

Related Article: NUPRC Plans to End Gas Flaring by 2030

Unfortunately, progress is hindered by insufficient policies, regulations, and incentives. To accelerate implementation, global partnerships are crucial for securing funding, sharing expertise, and transferring technology for capturing carbon and producing hydrogen. In Nigeria, the utilization of solar-powered mini-grids is essential for sustainable energy. Private sector involvement is key for the success of CCUS and H2 projects, with incentives needed across the value chain. By adopting this strategy, Nigeria can progress towards a renewable energy future as outlined in the 2060 net-zero target and the nation’s Energy Transition Plan and NDC.

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