The Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC) has fabricated 250kg per day caustic soda production plant, the Director-General of the Council, Prof. Hussaini D. Ibrahim, has said.
The council said it collaborated with the National Research Institute of Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria, to design and fabricate the plant in order to tap from its world market.
The global caustic soda market was valued at $36 billion in 2018 and it is projected to reach $55.8 billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 5.50% from 2019 to 2026.
Experts said limestone was one of the major raw materials for the production of caustic soda, which according to them, Nigeria has in abundant.
The DG said the plant had since been commissioned by the Minister of Science and Technology, adding that a number of investors have shown interest in investing in caustic soda production locally.
‘’Our plan is to ensure the establishment of this project in nearly all the states of the federation, where limestone is available in commercial quantities.
“Some of the states include Cross River and Ebonyi States; and also in Akwa Ibom, Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Sokoto, Bayelsa, Borno, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Ondo, and Ogun where limestone has been reported to occur in commercial quantities,’’ he said.
Experts believe that caustic soda can be used in many sector including manufacturing, petroleum, food sectors.
According to them, a lot of opportunities are available in caustic soda production for local utilization and for export in Nigeria.
This is premised on the fact that limestone, which is the major raw material, is abundantly available in the country.
The RMRDC’s DG noted that Nigeria has over 180 million tonnes of limestone in various deposits across the country.
But despite this, he said in the last five years, the country imported caustic soda valued at more than N28 billion for use by manufacturing firms and in the oil and gas sectors of the economy.
He added that the value of imports of commodity group 2815, which consists of caustic soda, potassium hydroxide and peroxides of sodium to Nigeria, totaled $66 million in 2018.
He said the need for this situation to change cannot be overemphasized, adding that the Council has put in place plans to promote investment in caustic soda production in collaboration with the state governments.
‘’This is important as the project will provide avenue for Nigeria to earn foreign exchange from exportation of caustic soda while at the same time satisfying local demand,’’ he informed.