ABU makes breakthrough in petrochemicals, develops refining material
The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has
disclosed that it has recorded major breakthroughs
following researches it carried out in
petrochemicals and automobile engineering.
The vice chancellor of the university, Prof Ibrahim
Garba, who revealed this when he featured on the
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja,
yesterday, said the university, with the assistance
of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund
(PTDF), successfully developed a petroleum refining
material called zeolite, using a kind of clay called
According to him, zeolite, which is a natural
mineral, can be used in refining petroleum products
in the country.
He, however, decried that the mineral was not
available in commercial quantity in the country.
“The Petroleum Technology Development Fund
(PTDF) has commissioned a research to develop
one kind of material that is used in petroleum
refining which is called zeolite – and there are two
“They found that if we can convert certain minerals
to zeolite it will help. This research has succeeded
in converting a clay mineral which is called kaolin
to two types of zeolite which can be applicable to
“The university has even received a patent
certificate from former President Goodluck
Jonathan. It is now ready to go into semi
commercialisation to produce it in large quantities
and that has been successful.
“PTDF is also ready to join hands with the Raw
Materials Research and Development Council
((RMRDC) to take it to commercial scale,’’ he said
Garba also stated that ABU had developed a mini-
refinery in its Chemical Engineering Department to
train prospective engineers in the practical aspect
of petrochemical engineering.
According to him, the mini-refinery, which refines
one barrel of crude oil per day, was built with the
support of RMRDC.
The vice chancellor said: “We also have what we
call the petroleum or petrochemical mini-refinery.
We developed a small refinery that will refine one
barrel of crude oil a day.
“We do not intend to refine petroleum for our own
consumption, but because we have a chemical
engineering department, we train engineers that
would go into the industry,” he said.
Explaining why the university went into such a
venture, he said: “We found that, in this part of the
country, there are not many oil facilities. We found
that if we develop this mini-refinery, our students,
when they are really taking their degrees, should be
able to know the entire working of a refinery.
“It is quite a big edifice that we built and that also
came with the support of RMRDC, and it is doing
The vice chancellor said the institution had also
produced an eco-marathon car through a contest
organised by Shell, globally. He challenged
universities in the country to produce vehicles that
are fuel efficient.
Garba further disclosed that ABU won two awards
with its Eco-Marathon Car, adding that both
universities of Lagos and Benin participated in the
two contests in which ABU’s car came tops.
“There is also another research in the engineering
department whereby we produced what we call the
ABU Eco-marathon car. So, ABU has developed
one. We participated in two events and we won
“University of Lagos tried and came close and
University of Benin also, but I think ABU is the one
that has won the award,’’ he said.