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Universities to encourage research on energy production

Keeping in view the current energy crisis and its detrimental effects on the people and the economy, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to encourage research projects on energy production and has instructed universities to take steps for self generation of electricity.

The research would focus on improving the efficiency of energy generation projects and would help address the energy crisis, Dawn has learnt.

Experts believe that the current energy crisis has decreased the once sustained GDP growth rate of around 6 per cent to below 2 per cent, and growth rate could only be increased by addressing the issue.

The focal person of the Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences, Mohammad Murtaza Noor, said the HEC had instructed the higher education institutions to play their role in resolving the current energy crisis in the country.

“In this regard, collaboration with leading American and British universities has been established to undertake joint research projects for effective use of natural and renewable sources of energy,” he said.

He added that the HEC, with the assistance of USAID, was establishing centres of advanced study and research on energy at both the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and the University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Peshawar.

Additionally, a number of energy specific projects had been undertaken by various universities with leading American universities under the Pakistan-US S&T Cooperation Program.

“Projects were initiated between the University of Delaware, USA and the Government College University Lahore, between SEI USA & Nust, and ‘The Use of Renewable Energy’ to benefit the Gilgit-Baltistan region,” he said.

Murtaza Noor said a number of similar research projects such as the water turbines for power generation, increasing the efficiency of wind energy systems and building indigenous capabilities for Thar Coal were currently in progress.

“Chairman HEC recently assured the Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal that universities would join hands with the ministry to work on methods to mitigate the energy crisis.

Priority will be given to energy related research projects in the future,” he said.

Vice Chancellor of University of Gujrat Dr Nizam ud Din, while talking to Dawn, said the university had successfully experimented on the production of biogas and green energy.

“Not only have we eliminated the smell of bio gas but also made a kit to use it in the houses. As most areas of the country are rural and people have animals in their houses, they can address the energy problem through such projects,” he said.

Director (engineering) of the university, Dr Khawar Islam, said he was considering converting a complete block of the university on solar energy.

“According to my estimate, Rs5 million will be required and the life of the solar energy system would be over 20 years if properly maintained,” he said.

An official of Quaid-E-Azam University said the university was considering generating its own electricity through coal.

“Coal will be transported from Chakwal and the Railways ministry will be requested to provide transportation facility till Margalla Station in sector I-9,” he said.

Commenting on these programs, Chairperson HEC Dr Javaid R Laghari said the goal of HEC was to develop local expertise for effective use of natural sources including coal, water, wind and solar through a strong collaboration with research groups in leading foreign universities.

These projects also had vast potential for commercialization, he added.

“The national and international power companies and the Government of Pakistan would be the main users of this technology. HEC would continue to help resolve various socio-economic challenges being confronted by the country,” he stated.

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