Pakistan biomass sector rising:. The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet is to approve standardised security agreement on upfront tariff to be signed by the governmentwith sugar mills for bagasse-fired power plants, sources close to Water and Power Minister told Business Recorder.

Energy Crisis

The Electricity and Gas shortages have directly impacted the common man, Industry and commercial activities. High cost of Energy mix is the main underlying reason behind the power crisis. The main fuel for the local power industry is natural gas however due to the continued depletion of this source and demands elsewhere the power generation companies are now dependant on Furnace oil. Crude oil prices which have remained around US$ per 112 barrel for a long time make power generation very expensive.

Biomass power is being promoted worldwide. We let you this video here to learn more on biopower possibilties.

Bagasse efficient uses and energy potentials

Sugar mills are currently using bagasse inefficiently in low-pressure 23 bars based power systems, whereas other countries have abandoned low pressure boilers and switched to high-pressure boilers (minimum 60 bars) in cogeneration power systems. Resultantly, sugar mills in Pakistan were unable to produce meaningful surplus electricity for export to the grid.

The sources said sugar mills in the country generally operate during the winter from November through April. Pakistan”s power generation capacity is at the lowest during these months due to water and gas shortages. Additional power generation through a local renewable biomass fuel will not only help the country reduce its chronic power shortages during this critical period but also save precious foreign exchange spent on import of furnace oil. Furthermore, efficient use of a biomass fuel like bagasse is environmentally friendly and would help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the country”s power sector.

Sugarcane sector productivity requires bagasse co-generation. Low competitive lands may have sorghum, napier grass or many other energy crops to produce biomass where sugarcane profits are normally low because of land fertility or water availability restrictions.

The combined crushing capacity of various sugar mills located in the country is more than 590,000 tons per day. Pakistan crushed 48,249,000 tons of sugar cane during the last crushing season (2011-12), which yielded over 15 million tons of bagasse assuming 32 percent fiber on cane. The amount of bagasse produced by sugar mills has the potential to generate over 2,000 MW. This power would be produced during the crushing season as well as at least a few months during the off-season depending on availability of saved bagasse from the season. 

pakistan sugarcane-farmerAs per clause (g) of the framework, the AEDB was required to prepare standard bankable EPA & IA documents for the power producer. The AEDB accordingly engaged a legal counsel and prepared documents after detailed consultation with all stakeholders namely CPPA, Pakistan Sugar Mill Association (PSMA) and their representatives and relevant government agencies/departments. According to sources, documents have been drafted to cater for the requirements of majority of the bagasse/biomass based sugar industry projects falling within the said framework. However, certain project specific amendments would be inevitable during negotiation with the project companies which will be within the provisions of the Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (bagasse/biomass) & the Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation 2006.

The system of supply of sugarcane to the mills has also revolutionized during these years from camel back and bullock carts to locomotives on narrow gage railway lines, tractor trolleys and now to large size trucks.

A new 8 megawatt plant in Jhang is supplying the sugarcane mill’s on-site power and heating needs. Pakistan’s Shakarganj Mills has fired up the country’s first sugarcane-waste biogas plant. The 8 megawatt cogeneration plant in Jhang supports the sugarcane mill’s on-site power and heating requirements. Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), as part of its strategy to bridge the gap between supply and demand of electricity and to promote alternative energies has offered a very attractive tariff for generation of power through biogas produced from molasses, which is directly derived from sugar mills. The benchmark set by PEPCO for such projects is Rs 5.14 (€0.055/US$ 0.082) per kWh.

Water and Power Ministry has submitted the following recommendations: (i) Standardised Security Agreements (project agreements) for upfront tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (bagasse/biomass) following Nepra”s up front tariff determination may be approved; and (ii) AEDB/CPPA be authorised to approve any project specific amendments to Standardised Security Agreements (project agreements) for upfront tariff regime projects under Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (Bagasse/ Biomass) during negotiations subject to provision of legal opinion in order not to increase GoP obligations or liabilities beyond the provisions of the Framework for Power Co-Generation 2013 (Bagasse /Biomass) & the Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation 2006.

Biomass use can help people in Pakistan

Biomass/Waste to Energy has been recognized as a clean, reliable, renewable source of energy. Unfortunately in Pakistan this source of energy has not been utilized for power generation in the past. The growing urbanization and changes in the pattern of life has given rise to generation of increasing quantities of wastes and it’s now becoming another threat to our environment. However, in recent years, waste-to-energy technologies have been developed to produce clean energy through the combustion of municipal solid waste in specially designed power plants equipped with the most modern pollution control equipment to clean emissions. Biomass and waste to energy plants are used not only to generate sufficient power but also used to cleanup the environment as well by conserving non-renewable fossil fuel resources and reducing the environmental impacts of trash disposal. Biomass and waste-to-energy facilities can also contribute to the country’s economy by providing jobs apart from generating electricity.

There are also several projects promoting the use of biomass as UNIDO program to support biomass gasification in Pakistan.

Forestry sectors can produce enormous quantities of biomass residues and million of abandoned or unused lands allow also biomass dedicated plantations for energy

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.

Wheat straw, rice husk, rice straw, cane trash, bagasse, cotton sticks are some of the major crop residues in Pakistan. Sugar cane is a major crop in the country and grown on a wide scalethroughout Pakistan. During 2011-2012, the area under sugarcane cultivation was 1,029,000 hectares which is 4% of the total cropped area . Cane trash which constitutes 10% of the sugar cane is currently burned in the fields. During the year  2011-12, around 63,920,000 metric tons of sugarcane was grown in Pakistan which resulted in trash generation of around 5,752,800metric tons. As per conservation estimates, the bioenergy potential of cane trash is around 9,475GWh per year .