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Blessing in disguise THAR COAL: By Ch Saqib Idrees Taj

Posted by yourpakistan on March 26, 2011

Whenever I try to write an article I prefer to write on power crisis and its remedy because no country can flourish without cheap energy (electricity, fuel and gas). It affects our industry and agriculture directly.

Currently Pakistan is facing severe energy crisis especially in gas and power, no measures are yet being taken to overcome this shortage on permanent basis, and the present government lacks the ability and interest to do so.

Industry had a severe blow due to energy crisis, our textile sector has almost gone to the edge of bankruptcy. Agriculture is severely affected due to expensive electricity and expensive fertilizers, resulting in 100% increase in food items in just 3 years.

Pakistan is rich with minerals no doubt about it but unfortunately due to dishonest leadership and wrong policies we have pushed Pakistan into serious energy crisis, we are not using technical people rightly most people in government sector are less paid and hired on reference not on merit, people in respective ministry are not technically sound and they lack the ability to take decisions are run projects also they usually fail to manage due to incompetency

We have world largest reservoir of coal in Tharparkar and we have world second largest reservoir of gold and copper in Reko Diq and also we have world best and cheapest man power

If Pakistani government focuses on these two projects on emergency basis then we can meet our financial and power requirement within few years.

According to experts Tharcoal is unmineable and for such type of coal Americans has devised a procedure to convert this underground coal into coal gas similar to suigas and then we can use this gas to make electricity, fertilizer and diesel. Currently Dr Smar Mubarik Mand and his team from Atomic Energy commission are working on it, I think that he is still facing financial problems and lack of interest from Government of Pakistan and I heard him once saying that nobody asked him to work on this project but he himself started afterwards he got some government support.

According to Dr Samar Mubarak this is clean energy as it will not pollute environment. Because when we do underground gasification carbon particles are 10 times less in this gas compared to coal when burned. And the Carbon dioxide CO2 is recaptured after combustion and re-injected in the gasifier well for further gasification.

The cost of electricity from this is 3 to 4 cent per unit < 3.5 Rupees/unit which is cheap and capital investment is 1$/KW, as compared to energy from coal 1.6$/KW, Hydel 2.3$/KW and nuclear power 3.5$/KW.

Also we can get diesel from this coal gas and it will cost 17-20$/barrel whereas crude oil price in open market is 80$/barrel and diesel price 250$/barrel.

According to rough estimation we have around 175 billion tons of coal in Tharparkar but actually it is much higher than estimation. If we still consider this estimation correct we can produce 50,000 MW Electricity for 500 years and every year 100 million barrel diesel can be extracted for 500 years according to Dr Samar Mubarak and his research team. It means we can export diesel instead of importing and it means we can save a lot of money.

In Punjab university chemical department research students have successfully demonstrated extraction of diesel from coal gas, it means we do have research facilities and talent but no supervision and funding. We should upgrade our top notch universities to international standards and provide research facilities with proper funding. Petroleum and Mining engineering should be uplifted so that we can produce good engineers and technicians at home.

Allah SWT has gifted us with enormous hidden treasures all we need a sincere Leader like Imran Khan and a team of intellectuals and technologists who has the ability and qualification to understand and manage such Mega Projects.

Here I want to share an example of Bangladesh who is planning to generate 5,000 megawatt of power by using Underground Coal Gasification technology in the country deepest coalfield of Jamalganj.

As per report, the plan is being considered as Australian company Mitchell Group, USA based Clean Coal Ltd and two other companies from Australia and Canada have proposed the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources to install the quantity of electricity there.

Australian company Mitchel Group recently submitted a proposal to the PM Power and Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury to install the mega power plant. According to the proposal, they want to install a 10MW plant in any coal field in the country on experimental basis.

Earlier the USA based Clean Coal Ltd proposed to install such power plant within 3 to 5 years after signing agreement on build own operate basis.

At the end I want to emphasize on some points that our party should take care of, if they are really serious to bring some change in country

1. Make a strong financial team to develop a strong policy for tax collection from rich and give relaxation to poor

2. Focus on Energy crisis and constitute a team of experts to make parallel policy

3. Agricultural reforms and Textile/industry uplift

4. Clear foreign policy

5. Education emergency

6. Law enforcement

Dams should also be built on emergency basis not only to generate electricity but also for water storage to meet agri demands


Ch Saqib Idrees Taj

ME Telecom Engg(Aust), BE Elect Engg(UET LHR)

Member PEC, PCO-134

Spokesman for IT&T Punjab


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