A National Stove Eligibility Laboratory (NSEL) has been commissioned at the National Centre for Energy Research and Development (NCERD), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State with funding from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC). The NSEL was commissioned and declared officially open for operation by Prof. E.J. Bala, Director General, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), on September 17, 2015. The event had in attendance, the Vice Chancellor, UNN; the Director General, ECN; representatives of the Directors General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Executive Director, International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) and members of staff of the UNN.
The establishment of the laboratory is a direct result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ECN and ICEED on July 4, 2013 to support clean cookstoves testing and development in Nigeria.
The Acting Director, NCERD, Dr. P.E. Ugwuoke in his welcome address expressed gratitude to the GACC for providing funding for the purchase of a Laboratory Emissions Measuring System (LEMS). Dr Ugwuoke thanked ECN and ICEED for providing the opportunity for the Centre to host the laboratory. He appealed to the ECN and ICEED to continue to support the NSEL by using their influences in the clean stove sector to persuade stove producers and promoters to send their stoves for testing and certification.
Prof. E.J. Bala, in his Keynote Address said that the need for national cookstove facilities in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized because over 70% of Nigerians depend on biomass, primarily fuelwood for cooking. He also mentioned that the burning of fuelwood on the traditional 3-stone stove aggravates deforestation. Professor Bala expressed hope that the establishment of NSEL at NCERD, UNN will promote research and development activities in the cookstove sector.
The representative of the Director General, Standards organization of Nigeria (SON), expressed willingness to work with the NSEL to help standardize the cookstove sector in Nigeria. Already, the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has worked with SON and other stakeholders in developing a national interim standards for biomass cookstoves.
The Vice Chancellor, UNN, Prof. B.C. Ozumba in his opening remarks thanked the ECN, GACC and ICEED for making the UNN the first Nigerian University to host a biomass stove testing facility in Nigeria. The laboratory according to him will enhance teaching and research activities in the University.
According to the Executive Director, ICEED, Ewah Otu Eleri, the establishment of the Centre was conceived as a result of the need to ensure that clean cookstoves being produced and/or imported into Nigeria have undergone tests and their quality assured. “The development and/or importation of clean cookstoves in Nigeria has over the years been done without recourse to standards and certifications, except for LPG stoves. This has made it difficult to independently verify stove advantages being claimed by various manufacturers and distributors. The establishment of the NSEL at UNN is expected to bridge this gap in the clean cookstoves industry in the country”, Eleri said. He further thanked the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves for providing financial support for the equipment and training for the lab, the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves for making testing and standards for clean cookstoves in Nigeria a priority, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria for providing leadership in developing Interim National Standards for Biomass Energy Cookstoves in Nigeria and the National Centre for Energy Research and Development at UNN for hosting the laboratory and providing support to the project.
The event ended with the cutting of the tape to declare the laboratory open by Prof. E.J. Bala and Prof. O.C. Iloeje and a tour of the facility by dignitaries.