ICCI for harnessing biomass potential to cope with crisis

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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan possesses tremendous potential for generating renewable energy from biomass and government should give special focus to harnessing this cheap energy source for power generation which is available in plenty in the country, said Zafar Bakhtawari, president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

He said many countries including EU, USA, Germany, China, India, Brazil and Japan are exploiting biomass for energy production but Pakistan has so far ignored this important cheap and abundant energy resource despite facing acute energy crisis. He said the country’s excessive reliance on furnace oil for power generation is the main cause of the prevailing energy crisis which has already created multiple problems for economy including closure of business & industry, loss of jobs, lowering of exports and overall economic stagnation. He called upon the government to give special incentives to investors for bringing latest bio energy technologies in the country in order to tap the unharnessed potential of biomass resources.

Zafar Bakhtawari said biomass energy can be used as a short-term strategy, requiring as low time as 18-24 months as being an agrarian country Pakistan has numerous sources of biomass like agricultural residues, animal waste, municipal solid waste and industrial waste.

He said accordingly to some study reports, if 50 per cent of the biomass potential is utilized for power generation, it can easily replace more than 30 per cent of the total power generated from expensive imported furnace oil. Exploiting biomass for energy would also bring additional income to the farmers and create more business opportunities for traders who will buy biomass raw material from the farmers, process it and sell it to power operators. It will also increase lot of employment in the rural areas.

He said initially government should install a chain of small biomass-based power plants ranging from 15MW to 50MW in areas where the biomass is available in plenty. It will save the transportation costs and reduce line losses. As a second option, government can go for micro power plants of enhanced capacity based on gasifier and biogas plants using agricultural biomass and animal waste as the feedstock.

Zafar Bakhtawari said installation of municipal solid waste-based power plants in cities will generate sufficient electricity and resolve the problems associated with garbage collection and disposal.

He stressed that the new energy policy should have provisions to fully harness biomass energy potential to produce cheap energy which will help in accelerating industrial & commercial activities and reviving the economy.

Courtesy:   Nation

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