Saturday, November 5, 2011

How Pakistan can produce Abundant Electricity! Part -2

Upright Opinion: Rebuilding Pakistan -----5
October 26, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

Many of my readers have been waiting for the second part of this article that is a sub heading of the program, “Rebuilding Pakistan”.

I have been out of my writing activity for a variety of reasons. Now the actual plan that forms the central theme of this most critical portion concerning the provision of the vitally needed power to the harassed and hard-pressed people of Pakistan is being laid out.

I have forwarded this plan to the highest level of decision making in Pakistan. But apparently due to a propensity for profit making and grafts through rental power plants, the ministry of water and power sent me a drab and routine letter for other details such as how much I can invest in the plan and some very technical questions that are for the engineers to answer.

If there are such expatriate Pakistanis who can finance the plan then not only that we would be rewarded with massive return of fabulous funds but would contribute towards national salvation from a predicament that is gravely undermining the Pakistan’s economic development and prosperity.

I am sure there must be flaws in the scheme as such but after discussing with many technical experts of power generation, this plan can be out in practice within six months to year’s time frame.
I would therefore, elicit and welcome the input from the well wishers of Pakistan and those who may want and be eager to translate this plan into a concrete reality on the ground.
Let us start with the hypothesis that power is produced by several ways. The following modes are mostly employed:

1. from the solar potential
2. from the coal
3. from the nuclear power plants
4. from the hydel sources
5. from the gas/petroleum, fossil fuels etc

Pakistan is deficient in gas, petroleum and therefore this should be least desirable mode. Pakistan does not have enough funds and financial resources to construct big dams or water reservoirs to generate enough electrify. Pakistan does not have the wherewithal and technical know-how to harness the fossil fuels.

In United State, there are 75187dams (source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration: Annual Energy Outlook 2008 Release.) But the total power output from these dams is merely 7 per cent of the total generation of 4369 TWH. The three top ranking sources of electricity generation are Coal (2133), gas (911) and nuclear (838). The percentage constitution of the inputs of the power generation in USA is as below:

Coal 41 per cent, oil 5 %, gas 21 %, nuclear 13 %, hydro 16 %, others ( wind etc)3%

It clearly surmises that the top three sources of electricity generation in the USA are coal, gas and nuclear.USA is number one in electricity production in the world.
In the context of Pakistan, it is not in a position both financially and technically to go for either of these sources.

Coal has to be extracted in a sustained and huge way round the year to feed the turbines and power generations units. Pakistan has abundant coal deposits but under the influence of oil import lobbies in tandem with the corrupt government officials and high bosses, this project has always remained a non starter.

Otherwise had any government and planners been earnest about the national well being and allocated necessary funds for coal extraction to generate electricity, Pakistan would have been one of the wealthiest nations in Asia.

Nevertheless, coal can be a future resource and raw material for the generation of electricity depending upon the quantity of coal made available for the power generation. In the meantime the paramount question is that what available inexpensive source can be readily put in place to get rid of the chronic shortage of electricity in Pakistan? Industry household, education, health and all facets of society and living depend upon the uninterrupted supply of electricity.

As such Pakistan has to make maximizing of power generation its top most priority. The amount that is being spent on rental power plants in a year can be sufficient to produce enough electricity to cater for the population of Pakistan. The curse of load shedding can be lifted for all time to come if a well intentioned and focused attention is accorded to what I shall be explaining in the subsequent article.

I apprehend that the engineers who have read the text books on power generation would find a thousand defaults with technical flaws and pinpricks but if they cannot make this plan viable, we can make it and implement it with total success.

At the same time I would in anticipation urge the next government in Pakistan to exploit and harness the potential of coal deposits in Pakistan with utmost sense of urgency. The opposition and intrigues from the pressure groups, vested interest and oil importing lobbies should be rudely nailed when taking vital decisions for the welfare of the country.

We can import oil and gas not for the production of electricity but for transportation etc. The gas that we produce domestically or import should be exclusively utilized for the industry and for the manufacturing sector.

Because of lack will and funds, the big dams, import of oil, and nuclear are out of the implementable options. What then is the most viable, feasible, easy and time-saving option to be utilized? This is to make electricity from the sea water: a source that never dries up or recedes.

Now the basic concept of hydel power is to conserve water in a huge pond called dam and then release that water through channels or outlets with a force that drives and rotates the turbines. The turbines, through a scientific process, produce electric current to be distributed through grid stations.

I have seen in Skardu, Gilgit and Kaghan a thin brook of water branching off from the main stream. After some distance a locally made, small, simple, make shift generator is run by this gushing down streak of water. That small unit provides electric power to a small cluster of houses.

This example drives us to the central idea that we need water round the year that should be dropped on turbines for them to rotate. Now if we can raise the water of sea to a reasonable level through a pipe and dropped on the other side under its own force on a turbine, will it not rotate the turbine?

What we need is to raise the water by a motor that can be run by diesel or oil. The wider the pipe is the more the generation of electricity would be. The water would flow down back to the sea. Sea is like a big dam whose water would be perennially available.

If 100 or more such simple units with pipes and turbines are installed, we can produce enough power that would be linked with the national grid. These units can be increased to any number depending upon the need and resources. The cost on a pipe and driving motor would be negligible and would be onetime cost but the return would be huge, permanent and several times more.

This technology to a modest degree can also be applied to the canals in Pakistan that flow down and thus water can be separated in a small drain and after distance to be dropped from height on a generator. The water can rejoin the canal. This technology is already being used in India.

Simultaneously, all efforts should be bent to mine the coal and quarry the massive coal deposits for production of electricity which would be somewhat more expensive and with lot of technical know-how and labor force.

So both these options and resources can be tapped to rid Pakistan of the crushing and debilitating and chronic power shortage and get the wheels of the industry constantly running. That would bring economic stability and prosperity in Pakistan.

If someone or small consortium of the investors can modestly finance this project, we can start this project in the coastal areas of Karachi and Gawadar where the cliffs are present along the coastline for raising the water to a required level.

The solar paneling technology has proven to be hazardous for health. This is reported to be causing air, soil and water pollution, withered crops and poisoned rivers around Solar panel factories. This technology is not desirable for Pakistan and must be utilized with rare exceptions.

Since 1950 the scientists are working very hard on a novel and revolutionary project of producing electricity from a technique known as “nuclear fusion”. This is the system by which sun has been producing heat and light for billions of years. “Fusion energy is created by fusing two atomic nuclei, in the process converting mass to energy, which appears as heat.

The heat, as in conventional nuclear fission reactors, turns water into steam, which drives turbines to generate electricity, or is used to produce fuels for transportation or other uses.”….. . “It is essentially inexhaustible and it can be created using hydrogen isotopes — chemical cousins of hydrogen like deuterium — that can readily be extracted from seawater.”

(This is an extract from an extremely valuable article and is being attached for further reading)

For efficient management and distribution of power to the consumers and to eliminate power theft in the country, I would request you to read the attached very useful article, “How to get cheapest possible electricity” written by Muhammad Abd al-Hameed.

Another article, “The Gas is Greener” written by Robert Brice and published in the New York Times is also attached that very convincingly compares between the wind, solar and hydel energies.

A very informative article, “Pakistan’s-twin-energy-crises-of-gas” written by Riaz Haq throws light on various modes of producing energy and analyses which one was the best suitable to Pakistan. This article can be read on the following link:
The readers may send their queries and questions especially from the engineers who might be skeptical about its viability. We would be happy to respond.

In the next article I shall explicitly explain the modus operandi to completely eliminate the power theft, the distribution power to the factories and houses without being stolen or without posing any risk to human life, and also the streamline the billing system.

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