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Rjeas Research Journal in Engineering and Applied Sciences 1(3) 149-155 Rjeas

Emerging Academy Resources (2012) (ISSN: 2276-8467)



Edirin. B. Agbro 1 and Nosa. A. Ogie2

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun
Corresponding Author: Edirin. B. Agbro
Biomass is the major energy source in Nigeria contributing about 78 % of Nigeria primary energy supply. In this
paper, a comprehensive review of biomass resources and biofuel production potential in Nigeria is given. The
study adopted a desk review of existing literatures on major energy crops production in Nigeria. A brief
description of the current biofuel developmental activities in the country is also given. A variety of biomass
resources exist in the country in large quantities with opportunities for expansion. Biomass resources considered
include agricultural crops, agricultural crop residues, forestry resources, municipal solid waste and animal
waste. Agricultural crop residues included those produced from the processing of crops like cassava, rice, maize,
yam, oil palm, millet, groundnut and sorghum. It is concluded that given the large availability of biomass
resources in Nigeria there is immense potential for biofuel production from these biomass resources. With the
very high potential for biofuel production, the government as well as private investors are therefore encouraged
to take practical steps towards investing in agriculture for the production of energy crops and the establishment
of biofuel-processing plants in Nigeria.
Emerging Academy Resources

KEYWORDS: Biomass resources, Agricultural crops, Waste, Biofuel, Nigeria

INTRODUCTION and wind, biomass is a storable resource, inexpensive
Currently, 85% of the worlds energy demand is met and has favourable energetic efficiency. Biomass
by combustion of fossil fuels which are depletable. resources available in the country include:
The global energy demand is expected to grow by Agricultural crops, agricultural crop residues, fuel
about 50% by 2025, the major part of this increase wood and forestry residues, waste paper, sawdust and
coming from rapidly emerging countries. Given the wood shavings, residues from food industries, energy
growing world population, increasing energy demand crops, animal dung/poultry droppings, industrial
per capital and global warming, the need for a long effluent/municipal solid waste. (Ugochukwu, 2010 ;
term alternative energy supply is clear (Vancoillie Sambo, 2009; Ajueyitsi, 2009; Tayo, 2008).
and Verholst, 2010; Sandia National Laboratories,
2010). Biofuels offer the advantage of coming from There is hardly any detailed documentation of the
large, mainly under-utilised biomass resources that various biomass resources available in Nigeria in
are sustainable and renewable in a closed carbon literature. The purpose of this paper is thus to make a
cycle that reduces environmental input (Sandia comprehensive review of the biomass resources
National Laboratories, 2010). Biofuels apply to solid, available in Nigeria. In addition a case is also made
liquid or gaseous fuel produced from biological of the potential for biofuel production in Nigeria.
materials (biomass) which can be used for the
generation of power, heat or fuel for motive power. METHODOLOGY
(Ugochukwu, 2010; Agba et al., 2010; Bamikole et The method adopted for the study involved extensive
al., 2008; Leo et al., 2007). The biomass constitutes literature survey of the internet. Sources used
the feedstock destined for conversion into biofuels. includes reports and publications of various private
The use of biomass as a source of energy has two and government institution.
main advantages: First is its nearly unlimited
availability and second is the fact that it can be used Nigeria Energy Resources
without essential damage to the environment. In The energy resources in Nigeria include: Crude oil,
addition, biomass resources are considered renewable natural gas, coal, tar sand and renewables (biomass,
as they are naturally occurring and by comparison hydro, solar, wind e.t.c) (Abiodun, 2007)
with other renewable energy resources such as solar

Research Journal in Engineering and Applied Sciences (ISSN: 2276-8467) 1(3):149-155
A Comprehensive Review of Biomass Resources and Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria

The primary commercial energy sources remain

crude oil and natural gas and are the most developed 8%
source of fossil energy nationally. These are
Wood land
complimented to a lesser extent, by domestic coal 12%
which was once in high local demand in the colonial Arable
period for the steam locomotives and today is used land
marginally in local coal-producing States as cooking 33%
fuel (Obioh and Fagbenle, 2009). Current estimated
oil reserve in Nigeria is 35.9 billion barrels with daily Permanent
production capacity of 2.4 million barrels of crude pasture
oil. The 35.9 billion barrels of oil reserve will be 44% Permanent
depleted by 30-35 years period (Abiodun, 2007). crop

The non-commercial energy sector is dominated by

primarily biomass. Biomass resources in the country Fig 2: Land use estimate in Nigeria (Obioh and
include wood, charcoal, grasses and shrubs, residues Fagbenle, 2009)
and wastes (agricultural, forestry, municipal and
industrial), and aquatic biomass. The crops grown include: cassava, yam, cocoyam and
sweet potato. Tree crops like cocoa, oil palm, rubber
Energy Supply and timber constitute the areas main commercial
In 2005, the gross energy supply was 105 MTOE products. Cocoa grows mostly in the southwest; oil
with contributions coming primarily from oil (14 %), palm is predominantly in the southeast. The main
natural gas (7 %) and biomass (78 %) and hydro (1%) export in Nigeria before the discovery of crude oil
as illustrated in figure 1. Biomasses make the largest was cocoa, groundnut, cotton, oil palm and rubber.
contribution to the primary energy supply. After the discovery of crude oil, there was reduction
in the cultivation of these crops due to the reliance on
Oil Natural gas Biomass Hydr0 revenues from oil. Presently, Nigeria is the fourth
1% 14% highest producer of cocoa and the highest producer of
cassava in the world (Osaghae, 2009).
Biomass Resources in Nigeria
78% Biomass resources in the country include Agricultural
crops, wood, charcoal, grasses and shrubs, residues
and wastes (agricultural, forestry, municipal and
industrial), and aquatic biomass. Total biomass
Fig 1. Nigeria Energy supply for 2005 (Osaghae, potential in Nigeria, consisting of animal and
2009; Obioh and Fagbenle, 2009) agricultural waste, and wood residues, was estimated
to be 1.2 PJ in 1990 (Obioh and Fagbenle, 2004). In
Nigeria Agricultural Land Area and Use 2005, research revealed that bio-energy
Nigeria, with a population of about 140 million and a reserves/potential of Nigeria stood at: Fuel wood
growth rate of 3.3 % (Obioh and Fagbenle, 2009), has 13071,464 hectares, animal waste, 61 million tonnes
a total land area of 923, 768 km2 (comprising 910, per year, crop residues, 83 million tonnes (Agba et
768 km2 of land and 13000 km2 of water). Out of this, al., 2010)
approximately 33 % (300,550 km2) is arable, 3.1 %
(28,235 km2) is under permanent crop, 44 % is under Agricultural Crops
permanent pasture, 12 % is under forest and In Nigeria, agricultural crops that have potential as
woodland and approximately 0.3 % (2,820 km2) is biomass feedstock for biofuel production include
under irrigation (Osaghae, 2009; Obioh and sugar cane, cassava, rice, maize and sorghum for
Fagbenle, 2009; Abiodun, 2007) and (Sambo, 2009). ethanol and oil palm, groundnut, coconut, cotton,
Fig 2 shows land use estimates in Nigeria. This soyabean, jatropha and sesame (locally called
indicator shows that there is high potential for the biniseed) for biodiesel. (Agba et al., 2010). The
production of agricultural produce which are biofuel production data of some major agricultural crops in
feedstock. the country together for year 2004 is presented in
Table 1. Table 2 shows estimate of biofuel
In Nigeria, agriculture has remained the largest sector production potential of some major agricultural crops
of the economy. It generates employment for about in Nigerian in 2007.
70 % of Nigerias population and contributes about
40 % to the gross Domestic Product (GDP) with
crops accounting for 80 %, livestock 13 %, fishery 4
%. (Jekanyinfa, 2007; Abila, 2010 )

Research Journal in Engineering and Applied Sciences (ISSN: 2276-8467) 1(3):149-155
A Comprehensive Review of Biomass Resources and Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria

Table 1: Estimated crop output in Nigeria in the year tonnes of residues. While that from other crops
2004 in Million Metric Tonnes including oil palm, sweet potato, sugar cane and
CROP PRODUCTION DERIVABLE coffee, range from 200 to 400 thousand metric tonnes
(Metric Tonnes) BIOFUEL TYPE respectively.
Cassava 45,000000 Bioethanol
Yam 33,500000 Bioethanol The quality of crop residues available for energy is
Millet 8,000000 Bioethanol highly dependent upon special environment and
Maize 7,500000 Bioethanol
Sorghum 11,000000 Bioethanol
utilization intensity. Furthermore, seasonal
Rice 4,600000 Bioethanol availability will seriously constrain the use of
Potato 1,000000 Bioethanol residues. Estimates of crop residues availability
Cowpea 3,000000 Biodiesel depend largely on the effectiveness of harvest
Groundnut 2,800000 Biodiesel methodology, the residual quantities required to
Oil Palm 1,000000 Biodiesel
Sugar cane 800,000 Bioethanol
protect the soil from erosion and the density and
Sweet potato 3,000000 Bioethanol dispersion of the residue relative to the feasibility of
Cocoyam 2,000000 Bioethanol collecting the material. In North American, 62 % of
Cotton 500,000 Biodiesel all residues occur between October and December
Coffee 200,000 Biodiesel while in Nigeria, about 80 % of the residues occur
Cashew 180,000 Biodiesel
between April and September. (Odia , 2006)
Cocoa 150,000 Biodiesel
Plantain 250,000 Bioethanol The quantity of crop residues that can be realistically
used is considerably less than the total produced.
Source:(Osaghae, 2009; Agba 2010) Environmental constraints and harvesting difficulties
limits what can be captured for energy to between 20
Table 2: Nigeria Biofuel Production crops in 2007 and 50 percent.
Crop 2007 Biofuel Derivable Nigerias
Average type biofuel production Table 3: Estimated national output of the processing-
Yield(MT) derivation yield rank based biomass residues in 2004, in metric tonnes
(L/Ha) (global)
Crop residue Total amount
Sesame 100,000 Biodiesel 696 7th (Metric tonnes)
Palm oil 1,300,000 Biodiesel 5,950 3rd Cassava 29,000000
Palm Kernel 1,275,000 Biodiesel 5,950 3rd Yam 22,000000
Groundnut 3,835,600 Biodiesel 1,059 3rd Millet 11,000000
Soybean 604,000 Biodiesel 446 11th Maize 3,500,000
Coconut 225,500 Bioethanol 2,689 17th Rice 1,800,000
Sugar cane 1,506,000 Bioethanol 6,000 51st Potato 600,000
Cotton seed 212,000 Biodiesel 325 16th Cowpea 4,050,000
Cassava 34,410,000 Bioethanol 4,000 1st Groundnut 6,000000
Sweet corn 6,724,000 Bioethanol 172 10th Oil palm 400,000
Source: (Abila, 2010) Sugar cane 300,000
Sweet potato 2,000000
Cocoyam 1,500,000
Agricultural Crop Residues
Coffee 400,000
Agricultural residues are classified into crop residues Cashew 300,000
and agricultural industrial by-products. Crop residues Plantain 9,450,000
are the materials left on the farm after harvesting the Sorghum 2,500,000
target crops. Crop residues in Nigeria include straw, Source: (Osaghae, 2009; Jekanyinfa, 2007)
leaves and stalk of cereals such as rice, maize/corn,
sorghum, and millet, cassava stalk/peelings and cocoa Forestry Resources
pods. Agro-industrial by-products, on the other hand, Nigeria has a total of 1,160 constituted forest
are produced mainly after crop processing, and reserves, covering a total area of 10,752,702 hectares,
include cocoa husk, coconut shell and husk, rice representing about 10 % of the total land area. Most
husk, oil seed cakes, sugar cane bagasse, and oil palm of the forests in Nigeria are man-made for the
empty fruit bunch (EFB). (Ajueyitsi, 2009; Dominik purpose of timber exploitation, and in some cases for
and Rainer, 2007) fuel wood and furniture making industries. The total
plantation heterage in Nigeria was estimated as
Table 3 shows the production output of some major 269,000 hectares in 1988. They compose of 109,377
agricultural crop residues and by-products generated hectares of Gmelina arborea and 159,623 hectares of
in the country in 2004. These mass of residues were others. The free areas, which are land use types
calculated by using the processing residue to product located outside forest and games reserves, are
ratio. As shown in table, cassava has the highest 9,136,726 hectares. These have major forest types
output of residues generated and its estimated value dominantly trees/woodland/shrubs (5,611,392 ha),
is about 29 million metric tonnes, and that from yam lowland rain forest (1,187,488 ha) and freshwater
is about 22 million metric tonnes. Crops which swamp forest (1, 430,175 ha) (Ojonigu et al. 2010,
include groundnut, maize, rice, sorghum, and Oladipo, 2010).
cocoyam have output from 1.5 to 6 million metric
Research Journal in Engineering and Applied Sciences (ISSN: 2276-8467) 1(3):149-155
A Comprehensive Review of Biomass Resources and Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria

Fuel wood bioenergy is presently not exploited and yet

Fuel wood is the most widely used domestic constitutes an environmental problem.(Ajueyitsi,
renewable energy resource in rural Nigeria and 2009).
especially by low income groups in the urban areas.
Over the 1989-2000 period, fuel wood and charcoal Table 4: Biomass resources and estimated quantities
constituted 32 and 40 % of the total primary energy in Nigeria (2004)
consumption with 39 million tonnes estimate in Resource Quantity Energy value
national demand in 2000 (Sambo, 2009). Table 4 (million tonnes) ( 000 MJ)
Fuel wood 39.1000 531.0000
gives year 2004 estimate of fuel wood and some Agro-waste 11.2444 147.7000
other waste resources in the country. Fuel wood Saw dust 1.8000 31.4333
forms the largest percentage of the non-commercial Municipal solid 4.0750
energy (about 37.4 % of the total energy demand) and waste
will continue to dominate the non-electricity energy Source (Sambo, 2009)
needs for the majority of people in the country.
Municipal Solid Waste
Presently, about 80 million cubic metres, equivalent Municipal solid waste (MSW) is generated by
to 43.4 x 109 kg (or 43.4 million tonnes) of fuel wood households, commercial and industrial sectors as
with an average daily consumption ranging from 0.5- result of concentration of population, and activities in
1.0 kg of dry fuel wood per person is being consumed urban areas. Millions of tonnes of household waste
in the country annually for cooking and domestic are collected each year with vast majority disposed
purposes (Ohunakin, 2010). The energy content of off in landfill dumps. The waste takes many forms
the fuel wood that is being used is (6.0 x 10 9MJ) out including plastics, paper, textiles, glass, metal, wood,
of which only between 5-12 % is the fraction that is and other organic waste. The biomass resource in
gainfully utilized for cooking and other domestic uses MSW comprises the putrescibles, paper and plastic
(Sambo, 2009). and average 80 % of the total MSW collected.
Municipal solid waste can be converted into energy
Forest Residues by direct combustion, or by natural anaerobic
Forest residues include wood residue or wastes from digestion in the landfill. At land fill sites the gas
logging and wood-processing activities. Logging produced by the natural decomposition of MSW
residues are the unused portions of trees cut during (approximately 50% methane and 50% carbon
logging operations and left in the woods. These dioxide) is collected from the stored material and
include stumps, branches, leaves, off-cuts, and scrubbed and cleaned before feeding into internal
sawdust. wood processing residues, or primary mill combustion engines or gas turbines to generate heat
residues, are composed of wood materials(such as and power. The organic fraction of MSW can be
discarded logs, bark, sawdust and shavings) anaerobically stabilizes in a high-rate digester to
generated at manufacturing plants sawmill, veneer obtain biogas for electricity or steam generation
mill, plywood mill, or pulp mill- when round-wood (Salman, 2008; Milbrant, 2009).
are processed into primary wood products. Forest
residues can be used to generate heat, electricity, According to Ogwueleka (2009) about 25 million
liquid fuels and solid fuels (compressed wood such as tonnes of municipal solid waste are generated
pellets, briquettes, or charcoal briquettes (Milbrant, annually in Nigeria. It is estimated that Americans
2009). produce 4.4 pounds of waste per day, or 229 million
tonnes of trash annually nationwide (CleanTech
Badejo (1995) stated that the quantity of wood waste Biofuel, 2008). Table 5 shows waste generation rates
generated in the saw mills is estimated at about 3.87 and breakdown density for urban areas in Nigeria.
million m3 of which saw dust accounts for about 20 The waste generation rates ranged from 0.66- 0.44
%. According to him, the number of saw mills in kg/cap/d as opposed to 0.7-1.8 kg/cap/d in developed
Nigeria rose from over 500 in 1975 to 1200 in 1981. countries. The waste generation rate is typical of low
These mills are estimated to produce well over 1.7 income towns. The rate of waste generation is highly
million cubic metres of wood waste annually. Saw influenced by the population income.
dust in its original form attracts no commercial value
rather it constitutes disposal problems to millers (who Table 5: Urban solid waste generation (2007)
expend money for transportation to disposal sites), City Population Tonnage Density Kg/capital
per month (kg/m3) /day
fire hazard as a result of its burning and pollution of
Lagos 8,029,200 255,556 294 0.63
the environment. Kano 3,248,700 156,676 290 0.56
Ibadan 307,840 135,391 330 0.51
According to Ohunakin (2010), about 42 t of sawdust Kaduna 1,458,900 114,433 320 0.58
is generated every from 100 t of timber produced Port-Harcourt 1,053,900 117,825 300 0.60
Makurdi 249,000 24,242 340 0.48
with an average of about 4.39 x 106 m3 of log split
Onitsha 509,500 84,137 310 0.53
and plywood processed annually in Nigeria. The Nsukka 100,700 12,000 370 0.44
potential for sawdust generated can therefore be Abuja 159,900 14,785 280 0.66
estimated at 1.8 million tonnes annually. This form of Source:(Ogwueleka, 2009)
Research Journal in Engineering and Applied Sciences (ISSN: 2276-8467) 1(3):149-155
A Comprehensive Review of Biomass Resources and Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria

Animal Waste prospect for new employment in regions where the

Estimates made in 1985 give the number of cattle, majority of populations typically resides.
sheep, goats, horses and pigs as well as poultry in
Nigeria as 166 million. These produce 227,500 Von Braun in Abila (2010) classified Nigeria as one
tonnes of animal waste daily which come to 2.2 x 109 of the countries with very high potential for energy
MJ taking the calorific value of animal dung to be crops production. This classification of potential was
9,800 MJ/tonne. Animal waste can be converted to based on the assessed countries capacity relating to:
biogas and estimates show that this is of the order of the availability of arable land
5.36 x 109 m3 which has energy content amounting to the availability of water, and
2.93 x 109 kWh (Sambo, 2005). The most recent the level of current food security of the
documentation of animal waste reserve estimates in country.
the country is given by Dayo (2008) and Iloeje
(2004) as 61 million tons per year. Table 6: Current ethanol demand in the country
Use Substitution Annual consumption
Livestock manure is used as an organic fertilizer, (million litres)
building material and energy source. It can be used as Tansportation E 10 gasolene blend 1300
Household Parrafin (replacement with 3750
fuel in two ways: either burned directly or cooking and ethanol based cooking gel
anaerobically digested to produce biogas which is lighting fuel
then burned. Biogas is a more efficient source of Manufacturing Industrial ethanol demand 90
energy than raw manure and the residue from the bio- sector (wines, chemical, raw
materials, solvents,
digesters (spent slurry) can be used as valuable
pharmaceuticals etc
fertilizer. Under controlled and optimized conditions, Total 5140
a bio-digester can convert feedstock into biogas in a Source: (Elijah, 2010)
few days. Small-and medium-scale digesters (up to 6
m3) provide biogas for single-household cooking and Current State of Ethanol Production and
lighting in rural communities. Large scale digesters Utilization in Nigeria
can supply biogas in large volumes for electricity The current quantity of ethanol produced in Nigeria is
generation, heat, steam, and transportation fuels given in Table 7. Based on an installed total
production (Milbrant, 2009). Livestock manure production capacity of 134 million litres per annum,
refers to animal garbage. The quantity of manure and based on the assumption that these factories
produced generally depends on amount of fodder operated at 100 % capacity throughout the year, it is
eaten, the quality of fodder and the live weight of the clear that the current production of ethanol in the
animal. (Duku et al., 2010) country is barely able to meet the demand of the
manufacturing sector alone. The implication of this is
Biofuel Potential in Nigeria that a supply gap of over 5 billion litres per annum
From the perspective of available land and wide exist in the country. In addition, Alconi/Nosak,
range of biomass resources, Nigeria has significant UNIKEM and Intercontinental Distilleries with a
potential to produce biofuels and even become an production share of 118.6 million litres, representing
international supplier. Bioenergy feedstock is not nearly 90 % of the total production, rely on crude
only abundant in Nigeria, it is also widely distributed ethanol precursors, mostly imported from Brazil.
(Elijah, 2010). Table 6 shows the current ethanol Giving the fact that their feedstocks are not locally
demand in the country. At the moment potential sourced, the Nigerian farmers are thus eluded of the
crops for biofuel production in the country are additional business opportunity of feedstock supply.
cassava, sugar cane rice and sweet sorghum for Also, Dura Clean, which recently acquired the former
bioethanol; palm oil, groundnut, and palm kernel for Nigerian Yeast and Alcohol Manufacturing Company
biodiesel because of their high yield and current (NIYAMCO) is yet to begin full operations. Only the
production output in the country. Nigeria is the Allied Atlantic Distilleries Ltd. (AADL), which
largest producer of cassava in the world and has the began operations in 1999, is producing 30,000 l/day
largest capacity for oil palm plantation which serves of ethanol from locally sourced cassava feedstock.
as a great source for biodiesel (Abiodun, 2007). It is The challenges which present itself as a business
interesting to mention that Nigeria could also be a opportunity in the country, is how to locally produce
major player in the biofuel industry given the over 5 billion litres per annum to meet the demand
enormous magnitude of various waste/residues for liquid transport and domestic cooking fuels. In
(agricultural, forestry, industry and municipal solid) 2007, Nigeria imported 123 million litres of ethanol
available in the country. from Brazil, which translate to about 2 % of the
current national demand. Although this is grossly
Biofuel may be of special interest in many other insufficient to meet the national demand, and thus
developing countries like Nigeria for several reasons. Nigeria will continue to import ethanol (Elijah, 2010)
Climate in many of the countries are well suited to
growing biomass. Biomass production is inherently
rural and labor-intensive, and thus may offer the

Research Journal in Engineering and Applied Sciences (ISSN: 2276-8467) 1(3):149-155
A Comprehensive Review of Biomass Resources and Biofuel Production Potential in Nigeria

Table 7: Current ethanol production in Nigeria Abiodun O. (2007). Biofuel Opportunities and
Name of Plant Feedstock Installed Development of renewable energies Markets in
Company location capacity Africa: A paper presented during the biofuel market
L/year) Africa 2007 conference, Cape Town, South Africa.
Alconi/Nosaka Lagos Crude 43.8
ethanol(imported) Agba A.M., Ushie M.E., Abam F.I., Agba M.S.,
UNIKEM Lagos Crude 65.7 Okoro J. (2010). Developing the Biofuel Industry for
Effective Rural Transformation. European Jornal of
Intercontinental Ota- Crude 9.1
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Dura clean Bacita Molasses/cassava 4.4
(Formerly Ajueyitsi O.N (2009). Optimization of Biomass
NIYAMCO) Briquette Utilisation a Fuel for Domestic use. PhD
Allied Atlantic Sango- Cassava 10.9
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Total 133.9
Source: (Elijah, 2010) Badejo S. O. (1995). Preliminary Study on the
Aconi Nigeria announced a new ethanol plant for Utilisation of Nigeran Sawmill Sawdust for the
Calabar, Cross River State Production of Water Proof Cement Bonded Ceiling
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The review critically focuses on biomass resources
currently available in Nigeria, and the potential to CleanTech Biofuel Inc. (2008).
utilize them for the production of various types of
biofuel. The review shows that a variety of biomass Dayo F.B. (2008). Clean Energy Investment in
resources exists in the country, and that there is also Nigeria, The Domestic Context. A Case Study for
immense opportunity for their conversion to various International Institute for Sustainable Development
types of biofuels using different biomass conversion (IISN).(
technologies that are currently available. Nigeria has
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