Biofuel an energy resource idea for Pakistan in recent energy calamity

Fakir Syed Iqtidaruddin November 21, 2011


Naseem Sheikh


Energy is the lifeline of a nation. The economic engine and the wheels of industry, agriculture and business need energy to move forward. Unfortunately in Pakistan, due to energy crisis (increasing gap in energy demand versus capacity, Pakistan’s economic, industrial and social growth has been greatly constrained. Pakistan is spending almost 20 per cent of its foreign exchange on fossil fuels imports. Annually $7 billion is being eaten away in import of conventional energy resources that is equivalent to 40 per cent of total imports by the country, but the country still lacks far behind in tapping the vast potential of alternate energy resources.

A silhouette of Pakistan primary energy resources shows Pakistan is highly depending on conservative sources of energy. Its share in energy supply mix is highly dependent on oil, liquid petroleum and natural gas. The primary commercial energy supplies during 2007-2008 were 62.9 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe). The share of natural gas in primary energy supplies during 2007-2008 was 47.5% followed by oil 30.5%, hydro electricity 10.9%, coal 9.2%, nuclear electricity 12%, LPG 0.7%, and imported electricity 0.1%.

It is of high concerning that NEPRA has increased power tariff by 94.9 percent for domestic, 67.6 percent for commercial and 77 percent for industrial consumers during the period of Mar, 2008 to August, 2010. At present, Pakistan get 30 percent generation from hydel and 70 percent from thermal while in 1974 this ratio was reversed.

Current electricity consumption by Pakistan produced by different means is shown as following

Gas consumption  per capita

187 cu meters

Electricity consumption per capita


Coal consumption per capita

0.03 tons

Oil consumption per day per 1000 people

2.2 barrels

Pakistan has almost 3,000 MW power generation potential in sugar industry through biogas, but it is hardly producing some 700MW. A research Study conducted by the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, suggests that the country’s energy demand is expected to increase three fold by 2050, but supply position is not inspiring in anyway. In such alarming conditions the renewable and sustainable energy resources are the best substitute to the conventional fuels and energy sources. 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 tonnes of bio fertiliser per year. It can easily compensate around 20 per cent of nitrogen and 66 per cent of phosphorus requirement in the crop fields, the study estimates.

Brazil would invest in Ethanol and Bio Fuel sector in Pakistan to overcome the prevailing energy crisis of the country. The Brazilian Embassy would facilitate the Pakistani business community to enhance the bilateral trade between the two countries. This was stated by the Brazilian Ambassador Alfredo Leoni while talking to the traders and industrialists during his visit to the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI).

Ali Raza, occasion President RCCI said that Brazil has achieved immense progress in agriculture, mining and service sectors. “Brazil must help Pakistan for the betterment of the said sectors in the country”, he added. Trade volume between the both countries is around $170 million which is very low; it is need of the hour to promote the trade activities between the two friend countries.

In this energy…predicament 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 biofules.

However many believe Biofuels cannot be blamed for the recent food crisis. According to Alfonso Rivera Revilla, Chairman of the Insight Group PLC, “Not all Biofuels are equal; the Moringa oleifera tree used as biofuel 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 biofuel 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.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writer are his own. Business Recorder takes no responsibility for consequences arising from decisions based on the above article.



Copyright Business Recorder, 2011


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