Pakistan’s first sugarcane-waste biogas plant

The use of biomass as fuel is not new to Pakistan. In fact, I still remember train journeys from Karachi (in the very south of the country) to Rawalpindi (north of the country) during which I would intently watch the village women making patties of cow-dung, straw and clay to dry and use as home cooking fuel. Unfortunately it was a relatively inefficient use of the bio-mass and caused severe indoor air pollution with well documented adverse health effects.

Well, times have changed, and with the double whammy of high cost of fuel and the shortage of power, not just individual consumers but even industries are hard-pressed to find ways to utilize their waste biomass in productive ways. Conversion of biomass to syn-gas which can then be either burnt to drive turbines, or converted via fischer-tropsh type reactions into value added chemicals and fuels, has recently gained a lot of attention worldwide. Entrepreneurs and investors alike are flocking to technologies that promise higher efficiencies or better yields of valuable products.

Pakistan has now entered the field and in good form. The first sugarcane-waste bio-gas plant is now operating at the site of Shakaranj Mills in Jhang and is producing 8MW of co-generated energy (Source). According to the Cleantech Group:

A new 8 megawatt plant in Jhang is supplying the sugarcane mill’s on-site power and heating needs.

Pakistan’s Shakarganj Mills has fired up the country’s first sugarcane-waste biogas plant. The 8 megawatt cogeneration plant in Jhang supports the sugarcane mill’s on-site power and heating requirements.

The plant is powered by eight Jenbacher biogas engines from GE Energy’s Jenbacher gas engine business, based in Jenbach, Austria.

“GE’s Jenbacher gas engines are known for their reliability, durability and ability to operate on a variety of different fuels, making them a popular on-site power solution for Pakistan’s industrial sector,” said Prady Iyyanki, CEO of GE’s Jenbacher gas engine business.

GE Energy is a unit of Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric (NYSE: GE).

At a technical level, there are a few interesting things about this facility. Firstly, it is deploying rather proven technology that rovides the flexibility of using multiple fuel inputs. This would be helpful as other biomass producers look at replicating this process at their own facilities. Additonally, the excess power not utilized by the Mills itself is being put back onto the grid via a PPA with the local grid operator (Faisalabad Electric Supply Corporation (FESCO)). This is another step towards promoting distributed energy generation in a country which faces serious power shortage, and lack of access to federal capital to invest in the infrastructure. The plant also allows Pakistan to get carbon credits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and try to reggister this project under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The biogas used to fuel the plant is extracted from spent wash, which is a residual of the mill’s ethanol production operation that uses sugarcane molasses as a raw material.

“The Shakarganj Mills project underscores Jenbacher engines’ fuel flexibility that will be needed to help address the country’s serious energy challenges,” said Iyyanki.

GE Energy said Pakistan has a 3,500 MW energy shortage. The company said the new biogass plant will generate enough power to support more than 50,000 homes in the country.

In addition to powering the mill, electricity from the plant is being delivered to the national grid through a 22-year power purchase agreement with the local grid operator.

GE Energy also provided the gas train, biogas compressor and biogas cooler for the gas dehumidification process in the plant.

According to a report in Biopact.com,

Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), as part of its strategy to bridge the gap between supply and demand of electricity and to promote alternative energies has offered a very attractive tariff for generation of power through biogas produced from molasses, which is directly derived from sugar mills. The benchmark set by PEPCO for such projects is Rs 5.14 (€0.055/US$ 0.082) per kWh.

The contract with Shakarganj Sugar Mills is part of continuous effort of PEPCO to search for local and cheaper fuel, as fossil fuel based electricity generation keeps getting more costly.

Sugarcane is a key agricultural sector in Pakistan, with the crop grown on around 1 million hectares, mainly in Punjab (62%), Sindh (26%) and the North West Frontier Province (16%). The sector employs more than 1 million people indirectly. Around 80 large sugar mills crush approximately 45 million tonnes of cane into finished products each year.

Shakarganj Sugar Mills is one of Pakistan’s larger sugar producers involved in creating a variety of products from sugar cane. In 2006 it produced around 130,000 tons of sugar, 80,000 tons of molasses and 35 million liters of ethanol. The company is diversifying into bioenergy production, focusing on both liquid biofuels and biomass based power.

Now that the path is paved by Shakarganj Mills, I wonder how long it will take for local entrepreneurs to take account and replicate this co-generation type facility at other feasible sites with cheaper and perhaps locally (or regionally) sourced components? The map (click to enlarge) shows where all the other sugarcane mills are located where opportunity awaits…

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33 Responses to Pakistan’s first sugarcane-waste biogas plant

  1. FARHAN MAHMOOD says:

    IT IS A GOOD EFFORT TO COMPENSATE THE ENERGY CRISES IN PAKISTAN.GOVERNMENT SHOULD SUPPORT AD ENCOURAGE MORE SUCH PROJECTS IN NEAR FUTURE.
    BIOGAS SHOULD BE INTRODUCED AND DEVELOPED AS A KEY SOURCE OF POWER GENERATION.
    GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN

    FARHAN MAHMOOD
    ELECTRICAL POWER ENGINEER
    LAHORE PAKISTAN

  2. Zakir Abowath says:

    Can we develop a system so that we can generate upto 40 – 60 KW of electricity from the manure which is feasable for the village power generation. We are interested to work on it and interested to set up pilot project so that a demo model can be established which can be copies easily at village level.
    If any one capable and interested to work jointly can contact undersiged at zakir@zias.com.pk

  3. Zakir Abowath says:

    I really appreicate the efforts or the initiative by Shakarganj sugar mills and hope that other sugar mills and industry will also follow this will help to overcome electricity shortages.
    We hope that consideration will be given to implement this at village level so that our village and farmers get the cheap electricity at competitive rates and their products will be competitive in prices.
    rgds
    zakir abowath

  4. M.RIZWAN says:

    tell me widely about biogas and send me a video file of bio gas which showing producing methods

  5. Naeem says:

    can you please tell me that where from i get bio gas plant for domestic purpose

  6. Ismail says:

    I am happy to see Pakistan adapting new techniques . Can i have more about it how it works or have a visit at site

  7. narasha sewraj says:

    this is totally impressive…producing electricity from molasses. i worked for many years at the south african sugar associations research department and i thought of various conversions (the main one being sugar cane to ethonol..at that stage this was highly expensive project but now it seems to be up and running

    i would like to know approximately what it costs to set up a plant like this.

    would Pakistan be prepared to assist other countries like South africa to maybe augment it to suit the mill. South africa is in dire need for renewable eneregy and this is highly appropriate as we have 16 major mills in the country.

    i am currently preparing a proposal to present to varous organisations/countries/stakeholders

    please send me any and every information that would assist me in compiling my proposal based on your success.

    Oncce again, i would highly appreciate any information about the biogas plant.

    warm regards

    narasha sewraj

    • abid says:

      Dear Narasha,

      We are biogas consultants and have different projects in pakistan producing electricity from such cheaper source that is waste of the animals mostly the bufalows in pakistan.
      One such project producing 30 kwh, is developed by us in industrial city of faisalabad.

      If you are interested in such technology, you can email me or call me ,

      Regard,

      abid 0092-332-5334656
      abidmajeed73@hotmail.com

    • Ahmed Shafaat says:

      Orient Energy Systems Pvt Ltd ..is the Authorized distibutor of GE Jenbacher in Pakistan and provided complete engineering services to Shakarganj sugar thank to project engineering department of Orient Energy Systems

      http://www.orient-power.com

      Installed JGS320 Jenbacher

  8. narasha sewraj says:

    Apologies….there was a finger error when typing out my e-mail address

    please address my request as per the last e-mail

    warm regards

    narasha sewraj

  9. polnajung25 says:

    This is the good articles about automotive. I will bookmark this articles. Thank you.

  10. Aariz Abbasi says:

    I have just recently returned from Pakistan where my company is in the process of identifying and sites for biogas plant development for the private sector. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your questions with you. My firm is a full services alternative energy consulting and development firm. We work with clients with all stages of energy development from simple consultation services to full scale turn key implementation. Please feel free to contact me if anyone has any questions. aariz@evolutionenergysystems.com

  11. feels good to know about the technologies and efforts of our country …. really appreciate ….

  12. An advantageous step towards the solution of energy crises in Pakistan..

  13. hello ;
    i want dung bio gas plant movies plz reply my email i am stay in to village i am worried for us bio gas soo plz help me plz

  14. Asadullah Paracha says:

    How it possible to setup a plant producing 1 MW electricity for self consumption. How much it cost ?

  15. abhay says:

    Hi
    I am going to set a small dairy farm for 500 nos of cows.
    I want to set up a Bio gas plat to produce the electric power for my inhouse requirement.

    Can you help me.

    I am based in India.
    Regards,
    Abhay

  16. muhammad Alamgir says:

    I am interested in setting up a bio gas plant, running on cow dung and chicken manure. Please tell me how can I get a complete design , including engineering details, such as , size of the mixing tank, , size of the digester, horsepower of the motor for the mixer tank, number of impellers , size of the impeller, size of the driven shaft, Ihave a two hundred cow farm.

    • irfan mahmood says:

      I am the student of Msc(hons) Agricultural Economics from University of Agriculture Faisalabad .I have the research topic (cost effectiveness of electricity produced by sugarcane husk material ) so i want to contact with some expert of thses project to share some ideas and information that brings the efficiency and confidence to both side .

      Irfan Mahmood
      irfan111uaf@gmail.com

  17. Vishwas Gokhale says:

    We can certainly help.

    Vishwas Gokhale

  18. Foster Folks says:

    sweet blog im driving a car powered on water fuel as energy source its good against global warming and it saves me loads of money too you check it out here: LINK

  19. tasawar iqbal says:

    we want to construct a bio gas plant in our village , we have about 300 animals in our farm we wanna produce electricity from the gas , can any wanna help me . so inform me about its cost

  20. Shakil says:

    my name is shakil and i am from jhelum now i am in uk but coming back in few days i want to make a biogas or sugarcane biogas plant for my village or a smaller plant for my home or comunity purpose and want to also want to make electric energy from that plant how you will help me and how much it will cost.
    I will be thankfull if you will guide me your well wisher Shakil ur Rehman
    Allah Hafiz

  21. AWADY AKAMPURIRA says:

    Thats good to here,am also trying to carry out the same research to see if it can solve Uganda’s energy inefficiency and to step down the global warming whose signs are visible and felt worldwide

  22. I really appreicate the efforts.How it possible to setup a plant producing 1 MW electricity for self consumption. How much it cost ? Can I got contact numbers for direct conversation

  23. Hussain Abidi says:

    I think biogas power plant will be hard to replicate in PK especially if the feedstock is molasses which is mostly available at sugarmills. All sugarmills have ethanol production based on molasses at amount not sufficient to produce power.
    I think the game changing strategy in biogas technology need to incorporate cellulosic agri waste which if successful have the potential to spread throughout the country especially in a de-centralized fashion.

    We are now working on a 100,000 dry ton agri waste to biogas project in PK using novel concepts in biogas production for the very reasons mentioned above.

    Cheers

    Hussain Abidi
    MIT, USA
    shiabidi@gmail.com

  24. vignesh says:

    tell me how to use the biogass in a village.in my village we can able to get the wastage of coconut and from that coconut trees,so give me information of implementing the biomass and their process by using the wastage from coconut trees &related videos.my email.id is vikais123@rediffmail.com

  25. vignesh says:

    tell me how to use the biogass in a village.in my village we can able to get the wastage of coconut and from that coconut trees,so give me information of implementing the biomass and their process by using the wastage from coconut trees &related videos.my email.id is vikais123@rediffmail.com and say me how to implemen the biomass with the very lowest cost & with the related videos.send it to my mail id.

  26. zoheb says:

    Assalam_o_alekum

    can i get the Statistics about the green energy in south asia especially in pakistan plz reply

    Mohammad Zoheb

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