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Pakistan has great potential in renewable energy generation from biomass

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 Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

He said many countries including EU, USA, Germany, China, India, Brazil and Japan were 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 was the main cause of the prevailing energy crisis which has already created multiple problems for economy including closure of business and 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 un-harnessed potential of biomass resources.

Bakhtawari said biomass energy could 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 percent of the biomass potential is utilised for power generation, it could easily replace more than 30 percent 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 15 megawatts (MW) to 50 MW 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.

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

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

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