Animal, kitchen, human waste could be utilised for getting power
* 1000 MW of electricity potential lying dormant in metropolis
By Masroor Afzal Pasha
No one knew that the commercial capital of the country, Karachi is capable of generating potential electricity of roughly 1000 Mega Watts (MW) and amazingly the fuel cost of the project would be nothing, however there will be some cost associated with transportation of ‘bio-fuel’ that is animal and kitchen waste from designated collection points in the metropolis.
The source for generating 1000 MW electricity is bio-fuel such as animal, and kitchen wastes to extract biogas for power generation. The project of generating power from biogas does not end here, basically it is the start of a new era of generating electricity from alternative energy sources in the country.
“I was working for last two and half years day and night to achieve my goals and firstly I have to prepare myself by studying the concepts and others pros and cons of bio-gas technology that would ultimately be the part of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) future generation mix,” General Manager Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Mohammad Omer Ghaznavi told Daily Times in an exclusive interview recently.
On the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of Highmark Renewables, Evan Chrapko, accompanied Ghaznavi.
Ghaznavi informed that the power utility had taken an initiative to provide a platform for local and international organisations to collaborate in an effort to work towards establishing the world’s largest ‘Bio-waste to energy’ project in the proximity of Landhi Cattle Colony.
He said that the KESC had been planning to enter into joint venture, preferably hopes locals to join a $70 million bio-fuel project capable of generating 25 to 30 MW of electricity by using biogas as fuel. The commercial production would start within 16 months timeframe after its financial closer by December of this year, Ghaznavi added.
The GM informed the power utility was in talks with a number of financial institutions and industrialists for financing of the bio-gas power generation project as the Highmark Renewables was not an investment partner but a technology consultant.
Initially, Ghaznavi said, the ‘bio-gas digesters’ would consume 600 metric tonnes of animal waste daily to generate five MW of electricity and in the later stage the consumption would increase to 3,000 metric tonnes a day and generation would be also enhanced to 30 MW.
After searching many companies of European origins, which were reluctant to work in Karachi due to the law and order situation, “Finally, we got a Canadian consultant, Highmark Renewables, which has been actively working on bio-fuel projects that uses animal and kitchen waste to generate the bio-gas to run the power generators,” Ghaznavi said.
With this unique technology, the KESC would be able to generate 30 MW power and 400 metric tonnes of high-grade organic fertilizer that would serve as soil conditioner on barren lands or degraded soils, he disclosed.
Evan Chrapko told this scribe that their technology was unique in nature because they had designed different kinds of digesters that could digest everything including metals. “It is completely environment friendly with zero emissions but the power generators have some smoke,” he added.
Chrapko said there company after years of research had come up a long way. Chrapko highlighted that large scale production, multiple feedstocks, environment friendliness and integration had made them distinguished compared to the technologies in European and North American biogas power companies. Highmark also have successfully implemented their technology in Canada and China.
The KESC being first power utility had taken an initiative to provide a platform for local and international organisations to collaborate in an effort to work towards establishing the ‘world’s largest bio-waste to energy project’.
“The concept behind this initiative is to set a precedent for large scale waste utilization in Karachi and in Pakistan, thereby mitigating prevalent environmental degradation and waste management issues,” Ghaznavi said.
The bio-gas project will be located in the proximity of Landhi which is one of the largest cattle colonies in the world that generates about 3,000 metric tonnes of organic cattle, agricultural and food waste that will be treated on daily basis through the Anaerobic Digestion Process to capture biogas for electricity generation, left over solid digest-ate will be refined into organic soil nutrients or soil conditioner that could be used for increasing yield and treatment of soil.
Interestingly, the testing has already been began this month and the KESC has launched the testing phase, which would help KESC to assess quantity and quality of raw material resources available, analyse impact of site conditions on the technology, design a customized technological solution for optimizing output and determine resource potential.
Ghaznavi indicated that the KESC encouraged local resources and up to 60 percent equipment available locally would be utilized in execution of the project. Some of the international donors already contacted the company for taking the process ahead, he added.
The KESC and General Electric (GE) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the Landhi Bio-Gas Project. The GE Energy is one of the leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies in all areas of the industry.
The bio-gas power generation project would serve as a model case in expanding and encouraging alternative energy generation in the country.
The project’s success will definitely grab the attention of many across the country for initiating such projects on small and large scale to cope up with the energy shortage in the country as well as getting high-grade organic fertilizers that would serve as soil conditioner on barren lands or degraded soils. The project would also help establish small or large fertilizer industries that could be utilised in the country and it would also help earn foreign exchange through its exports to potential buyers.