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Experts call for coal gasification to produce electricity

Coal gasification offers one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert coal into electricity, hydrogen and other valuable energy products, said experts, while speaking at a workshop jointly organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) on “Coal gasification and its benefits to the industry” on Thursday.

In his opening remarks, Kashif Younis Meher, senior vice president of the LCCI, said that no one can deny that the technology is the key to success and only those countries would be able to make their presence felt at the international level who would adopt modern technologies.

As coal gasification is the future, therefore, Pakistani research institutes should focus on giving awareness to entrepreneurs about this technology in vogue in the developed world, he said, adding that it is unfortunate that Pakistani research institutes have failed to play their due role and this is one of the reasons of economic meltdown being faced by the country.

Pakistan is currently experiencing its worst-ever energy crisis, he said, adding that the impact of these crises is getting so critical that the industries are on the verge of collapse. The irony of the fact is that three decades ago, electricity was generated from hydel and non-hydel resources with a proportion of 70:30, he said.

“Now the situation has totally reversed, that is the country is relying too much on gas, oil and other sources to generate electricity, resulting in costlier electricity, which has wiped out competitive edge in the international market and also pushed us to that stage where our future has become skeptical.”

“Keeping in view the shortage of natural gas and high oil prices, we are bound to explore alternative ways to produce energy.

Though some experts suggest going for solar and wind energy, the installation cost of such projects are way too high, which makes it unviable in our case,” he said.

He said, “Luckily, having abundant coal reserves, we can utilise it for energy production.”

According to reports, 80,000 megawatts is being produced through underground coal gasification in different countries of the world, including South Africa, Australia, China, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic and Uzbekistan, he said. But the Pakistan government did not allocate funds in the Federal Budget 2012/13 for this project, he added.

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