The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has said that the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has announced a breakthrough in refining crude oil with local raw materials.
This was part of statement issued by Mr Kalu Otisi, Head, Press and External Relations, PTDF in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement said that the breakthrough was the outcome of a four-year intensive research on the production of Zeolite Catalyst using clay by a team of researchers.
It said the team was led by Prof. Abdulkarim Ahmed, Chair holder, PTDF Endowment in Chemical Engineering, ABU.
Zeolite catalyst is an essential additive in the conversion and refining process of heavy gas oil into usable gasoline and petrochemical products in refineries.
It said the design and fabrication of the pilot plants would be commissioned in November.
It quoted the Executive Secretary, PTDF, Dr Oluwole Oluleye, as commending the researchers for the effort.
“Oluleye said the discovery would reduce the huge capital flight on the importation of the raw materials for use in local refineries.
“He said NNPC imported zeolite catalyst worth 12 million dollars in 2011.
“The application of novel techniques in zeolite catalyst production will not only offer huge opportunities for entrepreneurial development of sustainable refinery and petrochemical products but will also create job opportunities for Nigerians.’’
The statement said PTDF was supporting refining and petrochemical operations as epitomised by the various research programmes it was funding.