Pak 1st gasification plant to generate electricity from next year: Samar

Pakistan’s first gasification plant will start generating low cost electricity from next year, head of the Thar Coal Underground Gasification Project said.

The renowned scientist Dr. Samar Mubarakmand and the Coordinator General of Thar Coal Project who participated in an international conference on clean coal told APP here in an interview.

The present government, Dr Samar said has released the second tranche of 10 percent of the plan enabling us to work on fast track in all important low cost electricity generating project.

The electricity generated from gasification will cost as low as Rs 5-6 per unit, he noted.

“If all goes well, we will be able to demonstrate electricity generated from gasification by October-November next year”, he remarked.

Besides, participating and Chairing the CleanCoal conference held here on October 23 and 24 to mark the World Clean Coal Week, Dr. Samar also visited six cities where various coalmine sites are located. He also visited factories manufacturing different kinds of heavy machineries used in coal gasification as well as the specific material used in cementing wells to prevent water leakages.

He inspected the factory where the state of the art Horizontal drilling machine- an important component of gasification project was being manufactured. He said he found it suitable for his gasification project.

On return to Pakistan, he said tenders for the machine will be invited. Hopefully, by the start of the 2014, the drilling machine will be shipped to Pakistan and subsequently the installation work will be taken in hand soon, he said.

Government has allocated block V, in Thar to Dr. Samar for this all important project, he said.

Spearheaded by Dr Samar Mubarakmand, underground coal gasification project need no excavation of coal to bring it on the ground, instead the coal will be converted into gas through chemical reactions underground, so therefore, there is no question of environment hazard.

The renowned nuclear scientist said that he had invited gasification experts from Uzbekistan and China.

Professor Wang of China University of Mining and Technology has extended his cooperation and assured that Thar coal field is ?most suitable for gasification?.

In his paper at the international conference, Dr. Samar said that Pakistan has large scale potential of variety of energy resources including gas, coal, hydel, nuclear, sun and wind.

The current dependable power supply hovers around 14000 MW in summer whereas it drops down in winter, he said adding that as per reports the power demand in 2030 would be more than 100,000 MW. In such a situation, Dr. Samar said that Thar coal can play a pivotal role in meeting needs both in long and short terms.

Besides, low cost fine quality of diesel, a number of bio-products can also be made from this technology, he noted.

Meanwhile, China has decided to set up a biggest coal gasification project in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, neighbouring Pakistan.

The demonstration project will be the country’s largest with a designed capacity of 30 billion cubic meters annually, an official of the region’s development and reform commission said.

With a total investment of 183 billion yuan (about US$ 29.7 billion), the project will be jointly built by Sinopec, Huaneng Xinjiang Energy Development Co., Ltd. and some other energy companies in Xinjiang and eastern Zhejiang Province. The industrial project will need 90 million tons of coal annually. It will provide at least 18,000 jobs.

The coal gas will be transported to booming provinces of Zhejiang in east China and Guangdong in the south through pipelines.

The area has estimated coal reserves of 390 billion tones and proven reserves of 213.6 billion tones, the largest coal field in China.

With the development of new technologies, coal gasification is expected to be a key sector in the country’s clean energy initiative. Several big coal gasification projects have been approved by the country’s top economic planning body so far.