Biomass Energy Potential in Pakistan

Pakistan is experiencing a severe energy crisis these days which is resulting in adverse long term economic and social problems. The electricity and gas shortages have directly impacted the common man, Industry and commercial activities. The high cost of energy mix is the main underlying reason behind the power crisis. The main fuel for the local power industry is natural gas however due to the continued depletion of this source and demands elsewhere the power generation companies are now dependent on furnace oil which is relatively expensive.

The way out of this crisis is to look for fuel sources which are cheap and abundantly available within the country. This description and requirement is fulfilled by biomass resources which have been largely ignored in the past and are also available in sufficient quantities to tackle the energy crisis prevailing in the country.

The potential to produce power from biomass is very promising in Pakistan. Being an agrarian economy, more than 60% of the population is involved in agricultural activities in the country. As per World Bank statistics, around 26, 280, 000 hectares of land is under cultivation in Pakistan. The major sources of biomass energy are crop residues, animal manure and municipal solid wastes

Agricultural Residues

Wheat straw, rice husk, rice straw, cane trash, bagasse, cotton sticks are some of the major crop residues in Pakistan. Sugar cane is a major crop in the country and grown on a wide scale throughout Pakistan. During 2010-2011, the area under sugarcane cultivation was 1,029,000 hectares which is 4% of the total cropped area. Cane trash which constitutes 10% of the sugar cane is currently burned in the fields. During the year 2010-11, around 63,920,000 metric tons of sugarcane was grown in Pakistan which resulted in trash generation of around 5,752,800 metric tons. As per conservation estimates, the bioenergy potential of cane trash is around 9,475 GWh per year.

Cotton is another major cash crop in Pakistan and is the main source of raw material to the local textile industry. Cotton is grown on around 11% of the total cropped area in the country. The major residue from cotton crop is cotton sticks which is he material left after cotton picking and constitute as much as 3 times of the cotton produced. Majority of the cotton sticks are used as domestic fuel in rural areas so only one-fourth of the total may be considered as biomass energy resource. The production of cotton sticks during 2010-2011 was approximately 1,474,693 metric tons which is equivalent to power generation potential of around 3,071 GWh.

Animal Manure

Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest producer of milk. The cattle and dairy population is around 67,294,000 while the animal manure generation is estimated at 368,434,650 metric tons. Biogas generation from animal manure is a very good proposition for Pakistan as the country has the potential to produce electrical energy equivalent to 23,654 GWh

Municipal Solid Waste

The generation or solid wastes in 9 major urban centers is around 7.12 million tons per annum which is increasing by 2.5% per year due to rapid increase in population and high rate of industrialization. The average calorific value of MSW in Pakistan is 6.89 MJ/kg which implies power generation potential of around 13,900 GWh per annum.

About Naseem Aziz

Naseem Aziz is an expert in energy efficiency, renewable energy, biomass energy and cogeneration. He has rich consulting experience in CDM, energy efficiency and biogas projects, especially in the sugar industry. Currently, Naseem is working with Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works as solar thermal and biomass consultant. He is also involved in high-pressure compressor project at Underground Coal Gasification project. Naseem is based in Pakistan and can be reached at pakways@gmail.com
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9 Responses to Biomass Energy Potential in Pakistan

  1. Kaukab Mughal says:

    A very good article, but you see in Pakistan overall problems are different in nature, negative Politics, poor administration and other multiple problems don’t let us to progress in utilizing natural resources, we are not ready to accept these technologies. Wheel is already invented and in Pakistan we are trying to invent it again…… Solar is faliure,…. LED s a faliure….. Biogas… coa letc etc all are failure, Un counted blessings of ALLAH, you name a product in which Pakistan is deficent, but we have Power – Gas – Water – Humane resource, etc etc issues in our country.
    So at least we should dream GOOD, for the time being and HOPE to have brighter future for PAKISTAN…………..

    • Naseem Aziz says:

      Kaukab Sahib,
      Thank you for reading the article with interest, I can see that you share the on ground realities. We will have to find a way out, I have not lost hope and working with organisations which support this idea and are making effort to promote Biomass based power plants in Pakistan.
      Best Regards,
      Naseem Aziz.

      • Kaukab Mughal says:

        Mr Naseem, Thanks for sharing views,
        Will you please call me on 03232307832 or give me your contact no so that I can call you and discuss some thing important in relation to Solar sys project.
        with REGARDS

  2. Kamal says:

    Dear Mr Salman,
    aoa
    I am Major M Mustafa Kamal, Presently undergoing an MBA degree programme at Rawalpindi.
    Sir read and copied few of your articles for reference, and wanted to thank and COMMEND you for the great jobs you are doing.
    I pray for your wellbeing, sir.
    Sincerely
    Kamal
    03338106752

  3. Robert Orr says:

    Naseem is right, there is no shortage of potential power and agricultural resources in Pakistan, it is blessed with many millions of animals who can provide energy and fertilizer, 14km of coastline that could provide wave energy, endless sun to provide solar PV and thermal energy, and a wind corridor envied by many other nations. Despite this and the efforts of experts like Naseem, and AEDB, UNIDO and others, little progress has been made. Unless this is addressed at top Governmental level, the loadshedding, loss of production, personal misery, and as in the case of Landhi, where I have tried and invested for many years to produce energy and fertilizer from the thousands of tons per day of dung, the environmental degredation of the land and sea will continue.
    I wish Naseem and Pakistan Godspeed as they navigate this difficult, but ultimately necessary mission.

  4. Robert Orr says:

    Typo, that should have read 1400 km of coastline

  5. Irfan Ul Hai says:

    Dear Naseem
    I am also working on Biomass Gasification and I would like to go back Pakistan and to have a chance in Alternative Energy Sector, Can you please help me in this matter

    Regards
    Irfan

  6. Mr Naseem, thanks for your work on alternatives. Perennial grass’s such as GIant King Grass offer attractive yields and animal feed support benefits for new projects. Thanks again,
    Richard

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