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FUOYE don tasks govt on petrochemicals alternatives



A Professor of industrial chemistry at the Federal University Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State Prof. Cicilia Akintayo has urged the federal government to put up modern based chemical plants that would assist in producing bio-based chemicals.

Akintayo said this would serve as perfect alternative to petrochemical products which have been a threat to human existence and environment.

The university don made the disclosure in a maiden inaugural lecture delivered during the weekend at the large lecture theatre Hall, Faculty of Science, FUOYE entitled: ‘The place of plant oil derived products as sustainable replacement for petrochemical products in industries’.

She explained there is need for a paradigm shift from petrochemicals which constitute biological hazard to a sustainable alternative where environmental impact will be reduced.

She added application of natural products can provide sustainable alternative to petroleum based products through adequate and proper designing of bio-based products.

Akintola opined a transition towards bio-based products will guarantee economic, social and environmental sustainability.

She, however, urged the government to make a shift from monolithic oil- based economy to a diversify one based on systematic utilization of raw materials.

“Since Nigeria as a country require adequate development strategies that are consistent with her natural resources endowment, then, there would be need to explore renewable products.

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“The products from petrochemicals are wonderful and increasingly succeed in synthesising new, useful and highly competitive substances.

“But they are cast aside because of their biological hazard and environmental impact.

“So, there is huge cry for bio-based chemicals to replace petrochemical because biomas doesn’t contribute to carbondioxide in the atmosphere in contrast fossil fuels used by the latter,” Akintola said.

Speaking further, she said adequate priority needed to be given to bio-based chemical plant taking cognizance of the social benefits attached to it.

She, however, appealed to the government to take it as a national project, noting local chemical needs is an urgent requirement for bio-based economy and which is good for national prestige.

This, she further said, would have multiplier effects on the economy, noting there will be rise in industries, reduction of unemployment and stabilise economic recession.

According to her, government needs to invest more in her universities, especially in the area of research, adding that chemical research was the driven force of chemical industrialisation.

“It is research that will improve the existing technology and provide abundant locally raw materials as alternative to the currently used one,” Akintola said.

Commenting on Akintayo’s lecture, Prof. Shoremekun said: “The main thrust of Prof. Akintayo’s research is the need for the country to move away from our reliance on petrol chemical products, particularly petrol, and begin to rely on bio based chemicals that are less hazardous.

“But the tragedy is that the Nigerian oil industry has remained fixated since 1958 till date, such that Nigeria lacks a viable petrol chemical industry.”

This, he said, explains why the country has to rely on importing virtually everything, saying “the basis of industrialization can be found on two platforms which are Petrol chemical industry and the steel industry.

“And we all know what happened to the steel industry. What the lecturer has done is to project for us the future where she is hoping the country would not lose that third platform,” he said.

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