UNIDO promotes biomass gasification in Pakistan

Published: September 28, 2013

Federal Minister of Information, Senator Pervez Rasheed addressing during launching ceremony of Biomass Renewable Energy Project. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Power generation from biomass gasification could help meet a significant portion of Pakistan’s industrial energy needs, Federal Minister of Information, Senator Pervez Rasheed, said on Friday.

Rasheed was speaking as the chief guest at the inception workshop of a new project for promotion of biomass gasification technology by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).

Biomass gasification is a process to generate cheap energy by burning organic material such as organic waste and wood among other things.

Rasheed said Unido’s efforts at developing a biomass project have immense importance for Pakistan. He said biomass gasification offers the most convincing alternate energy system for industries.

The project is likely to result in improved energy security and economic growth in the country, the minister said.

The four-year “Promoting Sustainable Energy Production and Use from Biomass in Pakistan” project is funded by $1.82 million from the Global Environment Facility – an international institution that provides grants for environment-related projects.

Another $5.3 million will be provided by Unido, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Sindh Agriculture and Forestry Workers Coordinating Organisation (SAFWCO), Centre for Energy Systems at the National University of Sciences and Technology (CES-NUST) and other entities from the Pakistani private sector.

The project’s finances will be used to develop three separate “demonstration projects” in Kamoke and Jhelum in Punjab, and Thatta in Sindh, which will generate overall 4.3 Megawatts (MW) from biomass gasification technology, said Muhammad Ahmad, the National Project Manager for the project.

The demonstration projects include a 3 MW rice husk gasification power plant in Kamoke, a 1 MW Wood Residue gasification power plant in Jehlum and a 0.3 MW electricity provision to a village near Gharo in Thatta.

Ahmad said the project aims to promote biomass gasification in Pakistan as a means to decrease the country’s demand and supply gap in the power sector.

“We want to build the capacity of local manufacturers so they could produce gasification technologies for electricity generation,” he said. “The demonstration projects could help us tell investors that power generation through biomass gasification is economically viable and can be replicated.”

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other industries could use biomass gasification to generate their own electricity and this would help industries avoid the negative impact of the power crisis, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2013.

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