By Lydia Legbo
A Professor of Chemical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Minna Engr. Prof. Joseph Onyebuchi Okafor has asserted that the use of rotary drier for shea nut processing will enhance the quality of shea butter products obtained in Nigeria.
Prof. Okafor stated this on Thursday September 2, 2021 at the University Auditorium, Main Campus, Gidan Kwano while delivering the 89th inaugural lecture of the University titled “Process Engineering: A neglected tool in waste management and product upgrade in Nigeria.”
The don disclosed that the rotary drier designed and fabricated by his research team has helped local producers of shea butter attain Grade A of the product, which is of high premium in the international market.
“We conceived the idea to design and to fabricate a rotary dryer for Shea butter processing by the local processors in Nigeria to enhance the quality of Shea butter product”, he said.
He further stated that with this dryer in operation, grade A Shea butter which is of high premium in the international market has been achieved In the country.
According to him, the traditional methods of shea butter production namely; sun drying, oven drying and manually operated rotary dryer gave inconsistent results that were below the African Standard for Unrefined Shea Butter (ARSUSB), thereby negatively impacting yield, product quality and pricing.
Prof. Okafor also expressed concern that the world environment is threatened by incessant pollution with untreated industrial waste such as effluents from dry cleaning services, bottling companies, domestic, chemical and allied industries.
He identified adsorption process as an efficient means of removing contaminants in industrial waste water.
Explaining further, he said one of the most useful attributes of activated carbon is its ability to be economically regenerated and reused even after the spent material has become fully saturated with adsorbate’s.
In his remarks at the occasion the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, FSSSN who said the lecturer has paid his dues to the University thanked him for taking his time and resources in preparing for the lecture.
He also thanked dignitaries for gracing the occasion.
Photos: Elijah Yisa