Pakistani rural areas have huge biomass reserves, producing 12 million cubic metres of methane per day but the realisation of the full potential of biogas is slow and uptake is occurring at different rates depending on the available sources.
This was stated by Farooq Khurum Shehzad, a PhD graduate in chemistry from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology and currently Assistant Professor at the University of Engineering and Technology, Multan.
“As a result, the biogas energy supply is generally very low compared with other sources of energy,” he said.
It has been the second time for Shehzad to participate in the training workshop on biogas promotion and management, organised by Biogas Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Bioma), China. Twelve Pakistanis from universities, government departments, research institutes and enterprises took part in the workshop, an indication of expedited cooperation between the two countries in biogas technology.
“Biogas has not become the subject of interest to many because we have natural gas reserves and access to the world’s largest natural gas reserves in Qatar and Iran, which are cheaper than biogas,” explained Shehzad.
However, biogas has its irreplaceable advantages. Apart from being burnt in boilers as natural gas, it can also produce electricity and heat and be used as fuel for vehicles and bio-manure for crops after treatment. Compared with natural gas, which mainly comes from oil and coal mine exploration, biogas is a renewable resource with continuous production-and-use cycle, and it generates zero net carbon dioxide.
By consuming waste and producing energy at the same time, it is acclaimed as “the only zero-carbon fuel in the real sense of all renewable sources”.
Pakistan has over 5,000 installed biogas plants across the country which save an average of Rs455 million annually in terms of kerosene oil, wood, liquefied petroleum gas and bio-fertiliser.
“But the cost of biogas technology is nearly double that of natural gas. While the monthly fee of natural gas per household is about RMB 10-25, for biogas it may reach RMB 50-65,” he said.
In this regard, he recommended mutual solutions by the global community. “The environment is shared by all. Pollution is a global problem and requires concerted efforts,” he told China Economic Net. As energy shortage and climate change have become global ailments, Pakistan-China cooperation in bio-technology is gaining pace.
THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2021.