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Solar Paint Converts Light to Electricity

A paint containing titanium dioxide and semiconducting cadmium nanocrystals can convert sunlight to electricity. Christopher Intagliata reports Instead of installing solar panels on your roof—how about just giving your house a new paint job? Of course you’d have to be sure to use solar paint. That’s what a group of Notre Dame researchers has created, detailing the recipe in the journal ACS Nano. [Matthew P. Genovese, Ian V. Lightcap, and Prashant V. Kamat, “Sun-Believable Solar Paint. a Transformative One-Step Approach for Designing Nanocrystalline Solar Cells”] The paint contains nanoparticles of titanium dioxide—which gives whiteness to sunscreen and powdered sugar. The particles are coated with semiconducting cadmium nanocrystals, and mixed with water and alcohol, to create a golden yellow paste. The researchers dubbed the product “Sunbelievable.” They brushed it onto a conductive glass electrode, and attached that to a counter-electrode, to create a complete circuit. When they shined light on the tiny solar cell, it pumped out a small current. The efficiency of the light-to-electricity conversion was only about one percent—much lower than the 10 to 15 percent efficiency of conventional silicon cells. But the researchers say this paint is relatively cheap, can be made in any color, and doesn’t require a clean room to manufacture, like silicon cells—just a bench top. If they can up the efficiency a bit, a future Tom Sawyer could make an electric fence.

Nepra determines wind power rates

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has determined tariff for wind power at Rs 13.96 per unit for the first two years of operation, which would be lowered down to Rs 14.66 per unit for 3-5 years, then Rs 14.47 during 6-9 years and finally to Rs 5.735 per unit from the 11th year of operation, sources disclosed this scribe. They said that the reference tariff has been calculated on the basis of net annual benchmark energy generation of 138.7GWh at an annual net plant capacity factor of 31.99 per cent for installed capacity of 49.5MW. This tariff does not account for adjustment for carbon emission reduction receipts which would be distributed between the power purchaser and producer as per the prevailing government policy. It is to be mentioned here that the tariff is applicable for a period of 20 years, commencing from the commercial operations date. For the generation of 50MW, the government has issued licences to nine parties for the purpse. including Fauji Foundation, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim, Islamic Infrastructure Fund, Tapal Group, Gul Ahmed Energy, Metro Power Company, Younus Brothers Group, Sapphire Energy and Three Gorges.

Geothermal in Pakistan

Most of the high enpathalpy geothermal resources of the world are within seismic volcanic activity. A global seismic belt passes through Pakistan and the country has long geological history of geotectonic events. Pakistan possesses a good regime for goethermal energy. Many hot water springs, some generating surface water temperature upto 83oC lie in the North of Pakistan. Geothermal sites have also been identified in Balochistan and Sindh. Although detailed survey have not been conducted. In Tibet, which occupies more or less the same geological position in Himalayan mountain ranges as Pakistan, more than 6000 surface indications of geothermal energy resources have been discovered with an estimated potential of 800,000 KW. It is estimated that over 5,000 MW of Geothermal resources can be commercially tapped in the short run.

Biofuels in Pakistan

Pakistan being the agriculture country is having huge prospects for energy plantation i.e. Jatropha Curcas, Castor, Sukh Chain etc. Around 35 million hectares of marginal / degraded land is available in different parts of the country that is best suited for this purpose.

Currently, Paistan consumes around 08 million tons of petroleum diesel per annum; half of which is imported. The Government of Pakistan (GoP) has set indicative target of Biodiesel blending; 5% by volume of the total diesel consumption by the year 2015. This share by volume is to be increased to 10% by the year 2025. This share by volume is to be increased to 10% by the year 2025. GoPs targets of biodiesel blending make it a potential sector for investment.

Biomass in Pakistan

The availability of biomass in Pakistan is also widespread. Urban areas of Pakistan generate over 55000 tones of solid wastes, 225 000 tonnes of crop residue and over 1 million tonnes of animal manure are produced daily. More than a total of 15 million layer-chicken and 528 broiler chicken birds were approximately produced in 2003 with a share of 22%, 68%, 3.5% and 6.5% of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP provinces respectively. According to unofficial estimates, hardly 5 to 10% poultry farms have membership of Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA). As per livestock Census 2006 there are 56.9 million animals (Buffaloes, cow, and bullocks) in Pakistan. On the average the daily dung dropping of medium size of animal is estimated 15 kg per day. This would yield 854 million kg dung/day. Assuming 50 % connectivity the availability of fresh dung comes out to be 427 million kg/day. Thus 21.35 million M3 biogas can be produced through bio-methanation. In addition it will also produce 450 million tonnes of bio-fertilizer per day, which is essential requirement for sustaining of the fertility of agricultural land.

It is estimated that the potential production of biogas from livestock residue is 8.8 to 17.2 billion cubic meters of gas per year (equivalent to 55 to 106 TWh of energy). Additionally, the annual electricity production from bagasse (the fibrous residue remaining after sugarcane or sorghum processing) is estimated at 5700 GWh.

Wind Energy in Pakistan

Wind energy is another important area where Pakistan can benefit by exploiting it in efficient manner. This sector is getting worldwide attention with the development and availability of inexpensive technology that allows its easy conversion to useful energy. Recognizing the vast potential that wind energy offers, a number of initiatives in Public and private sector have been taken. Pakistan has 1000 Km long coastline, which could be utilized for installation of wind farms. There are regions in the mountainous areas of Pakistan, which has the potential for wind energy generation.

The Wind Map of Pakistan developed by National Renewable Energy Labs (USA) has identified that wind with good to excellent speeds is available in many parts of the country, establishing a total potential of about 340,000 MW. The Gharo – Keti Bandar Wind corridor, in the South of Pakistan, having an approximate potential of 50,000 MW in the most attractive to investors at this point due to good resource potential as well as its close proximity to major load centres and the National Grid.

Pakistan Wind Power Density (W/m2) at 50-m Above Ground Level

Solar in Pakistan

Pakistan lies in an area of one of the highest solar insulation in the world and has immense solar resources, suitable for both Photovoltaic (PV) and Thermal i.e. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) applications. There are certain regions of south, Quetta valley and Central Punjab that receive maximum solar radiation. The Annual Direct Normal Solar Radiation for CSP is in the range of 7-7.5 KWh/m2/day in many parts of Balochistan and between 6.5-7 KWh/m2/day in other parts of Balochistan. 5-5.5 KWh/m2/day in Southern Punjab and Northern Sindh and around 4.5-5 KWh/m2/day in rest of Pakistan (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Pakistan Direct Normal Solar Radiation (Annual)

The Annual Flat Plate Titled at Latitude Solar Radiation indicates immense potential for PV, which is in the range of 7-7.5 KWh/m2/day in most of Balochistan, 6-6.5 KWh/m2/day in most of Sindh, Southern Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan and in the range of 5.5-6 KWh/m2/day in rest of the country (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Pakistan Flat Plate Tilted at Latitude (Annual)

This means that there is a vast potential for converting the untapped solar energy source for useful means. This potential can be exploited to produce electricity, which can be provided to off-grid communities in the northern hilly areas and the southern and western deserts. According to the Pakistan Energy Book 2004-05, solar energy falling on 0.25% Balochistan province would be adequate to meet the current requirement of the country with 20% efficient devices.

Seasonal Maps (Direct)

Direct Normal Solar Radiation for Winter (December, January, February)

Direct Normal Solar Radiation for Spring (March, April, May)

Direct Normal Solar Radiation for Summer (June, July, August)

Direct Normal Solar Radiation for Fall (September, October, November)

Seasonal Maps (Latitude Tilt)

Solar Flat Plate Tilted at Latitude Winter (December, January, February)

Solar Flat Plate Tilted at Latitude Spring (March, April, May)

Solar Flat Plate Tilted at Latitude Summer (June, July, August)

Solar Flat Plate Tilted at Latitude Fall (September, October, November )

Thar Coal Se Gas Bana’nay Ka Mansooba

Pakistan to have solar photovoltaic power plant

Pakistan’s first Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Power Plant is being planned by the Wah Industries on its own premises, in a village called Sanjwal, some 100 kms west ofIslamabad. According to estimates, the sun radiates more energy in one hour than is the energy consumed by the whole world in one full year. It is often acknowledged that solar energy is the future. Experts say that sometime in 2020-25, solar electricity may be competing with conventional electricity in terms of cost and prices. One USD per watt or even lower prices is the target of Western governments and companies, which in effect is being implemented by the Chinese companies with their ever-lower prices. The National Institute of Silicon Technology (NIST) now named PCRET (Pakistan Council of Renewable Technologies) was founded more than three decades ago to learn and develop solar PV technology, particularly solar cells. The capacity of the proposed plant is 1 MW costing Rs 337 million, although of any consequence in view of the huge gap and loadshedding, it is sufficient for introductory purposes.

The wasted solar solution

THE MOST embittering aspect of the mass misery over electricity is that the crippling shortages never had to happen.Pakistan could have adopted solar energy years ago if government priorities had focused less on protectionist privatisation and more on people. The number of solar-electrified homes inBangladesh recently numbered a million. This year, half a million more solar systems will be installed. The cost inBangladesh for a small home to run four energy-saver lights, a TV and a fan is $300 (Rs26,700), repayable in installments. Solar power systems have been installed inBangladesh’s prime minister’s office and even its central bank. Why can’tPakistan take similar steps? Pakistan’s per capita energy consumption is below half the average for developing countries, 1/8 of the world average, 1/25 of developed nations and 1/60 of the average American. InKarachialone, during the month of June this year, there is a shortfall of 600 megawatts against a demand of 1,787 megawatts. Japan, the world’s third largest economy, generates 30 per cent of its power from nuclear plants. But after an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukishima nuclear plant, they have scrapped future nuclear reactors to plan for 10 million solar-powered homes instead. While militarily beating a bloody path to the fossil fuel fields of the world, theUSis nevertheless planning a giant solar plant in theArizonadesert to serve the country. It recently awarded two billion dollars to two solar companies.Saudi Arabiais going further, recognising that even its vast oil reserves are finite, and gearing to produce and export a full quarter of the world’s solar electricity needs. Solar system companies entered our markets a decade ago, yet progress remains sluggish. The earth receives more free energy from the sun in one hour than what the whole world uses in a year. So it’s clearly absurd to throw money after finite fossil fuels. KESC produces 55 per cent ofKarachi’s electricity and its market is spread over 6,000 square kilometres. Not only are the distribution lines old and falling apart, it is unable to meet demand or contend with theft of 40 per cent of the electricity by the kunda mafia. A basic uninterruptible power supply (UPS) unit averages Rs20,000 and a small generator costs Rs37,500, with monthly running costs of Rs1,000 and Rs6,000 respectively. A solar fan and two energy-saver lights supported by a solar panel cost Rs26,000 — the minimum need for a shop operating on direct current. Nothing could be cheaper or cleaner. Unfortunately, most people cannot afford the start-up costs. Narrowly viewing solar panels as a revenue source, the government overtaxes them at 30 per cent, thereby foolishly stifling commerce which could ultimately fetch far more revenue. A survey showed that, encouragingly, 90 per cent of shopkeepers favoured solar power. What stalled them were fears of KESC retaliating for ‘taking away its market’ (even though it simply cannot serve all of it) and disconnecting them from the grid. To derive maximum energy, solar panel brackets need be connected to tracking devices to move with the angle of the sun. This requires more space, and of course, cost. But then, it yields 40 per cent more energy. For the moment, solar systems could supplement KESC supply until independent stand-alone systems, which could avoid conflict with KESC, are affordable. But the state could catalyse the process by introducing solar power into its offices and for street lights. Those who lose the most from lack of electricity are the masses — workers dependent on running factories and offices, home-based, piece-wage women workers and other poor people who constitute the overwhelming majority. Their minimum need is a solar lamp with a panel, which costs Rs5,000. Industries, companies and contractors could assist their workers with acquiring these. If long-term loans can be extended for houses and cars, why can’t they also be extended for much smaller loans for solar systems? The government considers solar power prohibitively expensive, yet thinks nothing of pursuing multi-billion dollar dams and other white elephants.