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Nigerian Billionaires lead search for ‘yeast’ stations



It is 3pm in the afternoon and you are standing in the old town of Bern in Switzerland. You hear the bellowing of the bell as you gaze at the imposing Zytglogge. Its structure standing firm and its cogs turning as it has been for 800 years. It will most likely continue ticking that way for another 800. There will be no need to worry about interrupted power supply or the additional cost of running a diesel generator.

Approximately 278km away is Davos where the 2015 World Economic Forum was held. There, the African Energy Leaders group was unveiled, created by a group of entrepreneurs and African leaders including billionaires Mr. Elumelu, Aliko Dangote; Donald Kuberuka President of the Africa Development Bank, Prime Minister Daniel Duncan of Cote D’voire and President John Mahama of Ghana. The aim of this group is provide effective solutions to the energy crises that Africa faces.

According to, one million people in Africa share an average of 91-megawatts of electricity, while in the U.S, the same number of people consume an average of 3360-megawatts.
With the vast potential that Africa possesses, this is welcome news, perhaps in the near future we can have nuclear power plants or even tap into geo-thermal energy. There are also possibilities of generating minute amounts of electricity from plants. It all depends on how they pursue the different avenues available.

There is currently a collaboration between scientists in Australia and the U.S to produce bio fuel out of yeast. The genetically engineered yeast is fed sugar so that it produces limonene, this is what gives oranges their scent, but because this limonene is toxic to the yeast, it limits the amount that can be used as biofuel. Further research is being conducted into how to improve output. There has however been a successful initial test run. So who knows? In the near future, we might have yeast stations as alternatives to petrol stations.

-Patrick Oke Jnr

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