It’s cheaper to Run generators with coking gas than petrol, says Obin
Philip Obin is the Managing Director of Potech Limited, an ICT and marketing firm which also promotes Club 080, an empowerment programme that aims to empower Nigerian youths. Obin spoke with TOBI AWODIPE about hybrid carburetor, a modern technology that allows the running of generators with cooking gas, and its advantages
What is the hybrid carburetor about and how does it work?
The hybrid carburetor is just like any carburetor in a generator with the difference being that this type of carburetor allows you to run your generator with either cooking gas or petrol, whichever is available to you. It is easy to install and converts your existing petrol generator to also run on domestic gas (LPG or CNG).
Cooking gas has recently become scarce in the country with prices witnessing a staggering 40 per cent increase. How do you intend to cope seeing that it is the power behind this whole concept?
No matter how high the price climbs, 12.5kg cannot be sold for more than N4,000. The recent increment in gas price is not unconnected to the recent increment in petrol price. Whenever petrol price increases, all other crude oil products follow suit. So, it is normal as petrol usually controls the pricing of its other by products in Nigeria.
But beyond price, gas is cleaner, safer, always available and ‘greener’. We are talking about global warming and how to reduce carbon emissions and this is a sure way of achieving that. Using gas, the carbon emission is almost zero and there is no physical smoke when it is in use. Gas is far safer than using petrol. Even with the increase in price, it is still more economical than using petrol. Can you use N3,000 or N4,000 petrol for 10 days, at five hours daily? We all know this is not possible.
Most Nigerians are thinking of how to cut costs, especially in the area of buying fuel seeing that the economy is in recession. How affordable is using gas in the long run?
The average Nigerian doesn’t make long term plans; we always like the cheap, quick alternative to solving issues. Admittedly, the price of the carburetor is on the high side, judging with today’s economy. The carburetor goes for N25, 000 and N35, 000 respectively, depending on the KVA, and you would also need a gas cylinder, regulator hose and clips if you don’t have them, but these are all one off costs. This hybrid carburetor is an alternative for people that cannot afford to spend millions on inverters and solar systems. My aim is to make life easier for Nigerians that may not have the resources for the afore-mentioned but still want electricity at an affordable cost.
The best part is that the carburetor has a six-year life span if you use gas alone with the generator. The hybrid carburetor allows the use of both gas and petrol so if one runs out of gas and is unable to get immediately, one can still make use of petrol with it, though I would advise you try as much as possible to avoid petrol so that the carburetor and the generator last longer. However, this device is not compatible with I Better Pass My Neighbor (smallest Tiger generators) and generators with capacities above 10KVA.
How safe is it considering gas is very flammable?
It is very safe. If for instance, the hose breaks and the gas is leaking and there is fire nearby, fire would burn from the hose but there would be no explosion. What causes fire explosion is when a cylinder is leaking in an enclosed place like a kitchen, the gas fills up the room easily and when there is ignition, it explodes. But because the cylinder and the generator are outside, it would be harder for it to explode because there is enough ventilation to disperse the leaking gas. I have been running my generator with gas since August last year and sold over 10, 000 units and nobody has ever come to report any explosion or fire incident to me.
How long does it last?
A 12.5kg cylinder on a 2.5KVA generator would guarantee you 40-50 hours of electricity, depending on the load on the generator. Now, if you want to calculate it by price, that is about N60 per hour, or 10 days if you run it for five hours daily, four days if you run it 10 hours a day. At the end of the day, it is far cheaper than petrol and it does not experience scarcity like petrol.
When you buy the carburetor, anyone can fix it for you. To borrow a tech word, it is simply ‘plug and play’. Simply remove your old carburetor and replace it with this one in the same space and connect it to the cylinder. You do not need to call a generator electrician to do it for you but if you would feel more comfortable having it fixed professionally, that is not a problem either.