Energy, power and fuel are not only a requirement to run an economy but they are turning out to be the biggest problems across the world. Energy is the helping hand of a nation. The economic engine and the wheels of agriculture, business and industry need energy to move in advance. Unluckily in Pakistan, due to energy crisis (increasing gap in energy demand against capacity) Pakistan’s economic, industrialized and social development has been greatly constrained. On fossil fuels imports Pakistan is spending almost 20% of its foreign exchange annually $7 billion is being eaten away in import of conventional energy resources that is equivalent to 40% of total imports by the country, but the country still lacks far behind in drumming the huge potential of alternate energy resources.
The profile of Pakistan’s primary energy resources shows that Pakistan is highly depending on conservative sources of energy. Its share in energy supply mix is highly reliant on oil, liquid petroleum and natural gas. At present, Pakistan get 30 percent generation from water and 70 percent from thermal while in 1974 this ratio was reversed. At present electricity consumption by Pakistan produced by different means is shown as following
· Coal consumption per capita (0.03 tons)
· Oil consumption per day per 1000 people (2.2 barrels)
· Gas consumption per capita (187 cu meters)
· Electricity consumption per capita (430kW/hr)
Alternative energy is the scorching issue in today’s world of economy. Pakistan being a resourcefully rich country and equipped with many alternative energy options that are there even to the extent of renewable energy. In such alarming conditions the renewable and sustainable energy resources are the best alternative to the conventional fuels and energy sources. Bio fuel (Bio ethanol, Biodiesel, Biogas)is one of them.Bio fuels areproduced from biomass, usually of agricultural origin.Bio energy is energy of biological origin, derived from biomass, such as livestock manure, municipal waste, energy crops and fuel wood. The main bio energy feed stocks are
– Forest residues
– Fuel timber
– Annual (cereals, oilseed rape, sugar beet)
– Perennial (Reed canary grass, miscanthus and short rotation coppice)
– Animal manure
Currently Pakistan has a cultivable area of 21.2 M ha out its total area of about 80 M ha. The cultivable area is dropped from 22.3 M ha from 2002. It was mainly because of scarcity of water and elevation in soil salinity. Even then the cultivable area of about 27% is not bad indeed. Pakistan’s land as rich in natural species of plants like Brassica, Pongamia pinnata & Ricinus communis are considered as plants that bear seeds that can firmly produce bio diesel in Pakistan. It estimates that Pakistan has almost 159 million animals that produce almost 652 million kilogram of manure daily from cattle and buffalo only, which can be used to generate 16.3 million-cubic-meters biogas per day and 21 million tones of bio fertilizer per year. Pakistan has almost 3,000 MW power generation potential in sugar industry through biogas, but it is hardly producing some 700MW.The bio fuel produced from above mentioned sources used in number of ways like
• Bio ethanol
– Used as neat ethanol (E95, blend of 95% ethanol and 5% water).
– Used as E85 (85% volume ethanol with petrol) in flex-fuel vehicles.
– Used as blend smaller than 5% volume (E5) in ordinary petrol or as its derivative ETBE.
– Current maximum 5% in diesel blends otherwise can only be used in modified diesel engines.
If we see Pakistan’s perspective of bio fuel our sugarcane can produce excellent bio fuels viability. Existing sugar mills are producing below capacity sugar output and sugarcane cultivation is getting lesser viable every year. The substitute use of sugarcane for bio fuel can bring innovative change to sugarcane cultivation in Pakistan.
Even the waste of Sugar production can utilized in this regard. As we consume 85% of our sugarcane for sugar production the byproduct of sugarcane i.e. molasses can be utilized as a source of bio fuel. After adding a little value we can use the best out of our sugarcane production and provide handy earning options for sugarcane sector. This can even economically add efficiency by producing bio fuel that would be cheaper and environment friendly.
In this energy dilemma food scarcity is also a big issue, Food security exists when all people all the times, have physical and economical access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for active and healthy life. Population growth has also contributed to the growing demand for food. According to the World of Food Science, since 2000 the population growth has grown by more than 800 million and continues to grow by more than 80 million annually. So in future it might be threat to nation to produce electricity via bio fuels.
Bio fuels cannot be blamed for the recent food crisis. According to Alfonso Rivera Revilla, Chairman of the Insight Group PLC, “Not all Bio fuels are equal; the Moringa oleifera tree used as bio fuel has a higher recovery and quality of oil than other crops, the tree has no direct competition with food crops. It has also no direct competition with farm-land as it can be grown for food and fuel at the same time. The Moringa tree thrives in land where most agricultural produce would not survive and apart from bio fuel its greatest contribution is its nutritional value to underdeveloped countries.” Bamboo tree also consider being help in this way of production of electricity as also it easy to grow and help in reduction green house gases. Best way to overcome the problem is to produce sufficient crops and trees which help in production of energy then utilize this biota in production of energy.
Bio fuels shall unquestionably be the step towards economically practicable & environment friendly Pakistan. We have no deficient in resources and talent to covert these thoughts in a fairy story of success but the biggest want of time is to put our socks up and bring approach and performance in to change our future for betterment. We need to fuel our will to create a new and dynamic Bio fuels scenario for our greatest Pakistan.