The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, says the university will soon install a mini-refinery equipment for processing of Jatropha a flowering plant.
Abdulkareem said this on Thursday in his welcome address at the 8th International Jatropha Conference, tagged: “Jatropha 2018,” organised by the University of Ilorin Jatropha Plantation Development and Maintenance Committee.
It is also in collaboration with the Society for the Conservation of Phytofuels and Sciences.
The reports that Jatropha flowering plant is locally called “Igi-lapa-lapa” in Yoruba, “bindazugu” in Hausa, Ncheogba in Igbo and “kachia” in Nupe.
The Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by the university’s Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. Lanre Ajibade, explained that once the mini-refinery was achieved, it would give people the opportunity to bring Jatropha seeds for milling, pressing and production into Biodiesel.
Abdulkareem commended individuals who made donations to the university, and the recognition that the government, through the NNPC, had shown to the University on Jatropha plantation.
The vice-chancellor disclosed that since the inauguration of the committee on Jatropha, the university had established 55 hectares of Jatropha plantation and organised international conferences since 2010 till date.
He also stated that the institution had established research journal known as the International Journal of Phytofuel and Allied Sciences and collaborated with some cooperative societies.
Prof. Abdulkareem also pointed out that the university was recognised nationally in Biodiesel production.
He added that the residence of the Jatropha Plantation in the institution had attracted investors, scholars, authors, and farmers, who have expressed interest in sharing materials and knowledge with the university.
Also speaking at the conference, former Managing Director of Martaba Farms Nigeria Limited, Minna, Niger, Alhaji Garba Madami, urged the federal government to provide an enabling environment for Jatropha farmers and investors to boost the nation’s economy.
Speaking on the topic, “Jatropha Curcas Production Strategies in an emerging economy”, Madami said that Jatropha Curcas plant could turn around the country’s economy if the necessary conditions were provided.
“Jatropha Curcas plant is a potential plant which can turn around the economy of Nigeria by farmers and investors.
“The Government must look into the future to boost the economy of Nigeria by providing the enabling environment for Jatropha farmers and investors,” he said.
He said that the production of Biofuel (Biodiesel) and Biogas had been on the drawing board for too long, adding that Jatropha Curcas plant must take the lead of oil producing plants with the potential to provide income to farmers.
“The establishment of small and medium scale industries and the production of biogas for cooking, water heating and for generation of electricity (power) will go a long way in complementing public power generation in this country,” he said.
According to him, Jatropha is a plant with a lifespan of 40 to 50 years, that grows under sub-tropical condition, best grown in aerated sandy and loamy soil, and it is neither eaten nor consumed by human beings, animals nor birds.
“Through the help of a multi-purpose oil extracting machine, Jatropha produces crude oil which is sold to generate steady income to an investor.
“The crude Jatropha oil is used for the lubrication of machines and machinery because of its high viscosity.
“It can also be used for the manufacturing of antiseptic soaps and bio-pesticides for the control of insect pests,” he said.
Madami added that the crude oil extracted from the plant was also used for the production of Biodiesel for heavy duty truck and generators, among others.
He said that it equally helped in reducing emission from engines as well as clean up the environment, adding that investors could take advantage of this to establish mini-refinery for the production of Biodiesel.
He said that Jatropha Curcas cakes could be used as animal feeds, fertilizers and the production of biogas for cooking and generation of electricity.
Addressing the gathering, the Royal Father of the Day, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, the Olofa of Offa, who was represented by the Asala of Offa, High Chief Adebayo Shittu, declared his support to the Jatropha Plant committee and prayed for God’s wisdom on the initiative.