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Coal gasification for sustainable development

of the energy sector in Pakistan
Abdul Waheed Bhutto
Department of Chemical Engineering, Dawood College of Engineering and Technology
M.A.Jinnah Road, Karachi, Pakistan

Sadia Karim
Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Karachi University
Karachi, Pakistan

Pakistan has 19.5 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity. The total power generating capa-
city has increased rapidly in recent years, due largely to foreign investment, leading to a partial
alleviation of the power shortages Pakistan often faces in peak seasons. Rotating blackouts are,
however, still necessary in some areas. The rules of the game for generating electricity are changing
rapidly. The country’s remaining recoverable reserves of crude oil are estimated at 42.28 million
tonnes (Mt) (310 million barrels; 1 barrel = 0.1364 t). Thus, there is no prospect for Pakistan to
reach self-sufficiency in oil. Pakistan has 853.19 billion cubic metres (Gm3) of proven gas reserves,
and currently produces around 104.23 million m3 (Mm3) per day. While the energy demand is
surging in Pakistan, at the same time pressure is building worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Pakistan is looking forward to finding ways to overcome the disadvantages of coal re-
sulting from its relatively higher moisture, sulfur and ash content, in order to use this readily-avail-
able, indigenous resource to generate clean, reasonably-priced electricity. One way to overcome this
problem is to convert coal from a solid to a clean gaseous fuel, which can then be burned like
natural gas. When linked with modern combined-cycle turbines, gasification is one of the most
efficient and environmentally sound ways of producing electricity from coal. Coal IGCC (integrated
gasifier combined-cycle) power plants offer numerous benefits for the environment, power producers
and consumers. This technology can help diversify the fuel supply and help balance Pakistan’s
future dependence on foreign sources of energy.

1. Introduction Pakistan is a coal-rich country, but, unfortunately, coal

Electricity plays a key role in the national growth and the has not been developed for power generation for more
economic development of any country. Presently, in Paki- than three decades due to lack of infrastructure, insuffi-
stan, only about half the population has access to cient financing and absence of modern coal-mining ex-
electricity. However, increasing urbanization and industri- pertise. The present share of coal in the overall energy
alization in the country require a significant expansion of mix is only about 6 % as shown in Figure 1 and currently
power supply. Pakistan has 19.5 gigawatts (GW) of elec- coal accounts for a mere 1 % of electric power generation
tric generating capacity. The total generating capacity has [GOP, 2005]. Coal resources and their utilization tech-
increased rapidly in recent years, due largely to foreign nologies will be vital factors in shaping economic and
investment, and has led to a partial alleviation of the social progress. Advanced technologies applied to Paki-
power shortages Pakistan often faces in peak demand sea- stan’s coal resources can improve efficiency and minimize
sons. Rotating blackouts are, however, still necessary in the environmental impact of coal utilization. It is antici-
some areas. According to one estimate, Pakistan has large pated that, if properly exploited, Pakistan’s coal resources
coal reserves exceeding 195 billion tonnes (Gt), compared may generate more than 100 GW of electricity for the
to crude oil reserves of 42.28 million tonnes (Mt) and next 30 years [GOP, 2004]. A balance is necessary be-
natural gas reserves of 853.19 billion cubic metres (Gm3) tween short-term imperatives and long-term possibilities
[GOP, 2005]. The per capita annual energy consumption to enable sustainable development. To pursue such a strat-
in Pakistan is currently low, 14.8 GJ (gigajoules, i.e., bil- egy technologies are available and are also under devel-
lion joules) compared to 97 GJ for Malaysia and 36 GJ opment. Since reserves of oil and natural gas are meager,
for China. The overall energy use in Pakistan is around they need to be substituted by coal to the extent feasible.
2250 PJ (million GJ) per annum, and it is estimated that At the same time all fuels need to be conserved for future
it will grow to over 2900 PJ by 2008 [GOP, 2005]. generations. The energy sector requires efficient, clean

60 Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005


and dependable energy supplies. Hence, coal has to be

utilized with a multi-pronged strategy, i.e., higher effi-
ciency, environmental acceptance, prolonging its avail-
ability, and as replacement for oil etc., thus contributing
to sustainable development, and gasification may be the
best option to achieve it.
2. Quality of Pakistan’s coal
In Pakistan, identification of a huge lignite resource in
the Tharparkar (Thar) desert in the 1990s prompted inter-
est in the utilization of lignite coal for the development
of the energy sector. The Thar coalfield covers an area of
approximately 8,800 km2 and is estimated to contain 193
Gt of lignite coal [SCA, 2003]. Four tracks of the Thar
coalfield, currently undergoing more detailed assessment
and covering an area of about 430 km2, are estimated to
contain 3 Gt of recoverable coal reserves. This represents
89 % of Pakistan’s total recoverable reserves [WEC,
2004]. Analyses of Thar lignite indicate relatively high
heat content, between 9.9 and 13.4 MJ/kg [Couch, 2005;
RWE, 2005].
The quality of coal has been determined by the Geo-
logical Survey of Pakistan on the basis of chemical analy-
ses of more than 2,000 samples. The rank of coal ranges Figure 1. Primary energy supplies in Pakistan by source (2003-04)
from lignite-B to sub-bituminous-A. The quality of Thar’s
coal has been characterized by the presence of relatively
higher moisture, sulfur and ash content. The weighted-av- Table 1. Chemical analysis of coal found at Thar coalfield in Pakistan
erage chemical analysis of coal samples from the Thar
coalfield is given in Table 1 [GOP, 2001; WEC, 2005]. Moisture (% by weight)[1] 46.77
Volatile matter (% by weight) 23.42
3. Sustainable development through coal gasification
Fixed carbon (% by weight)[1] 16.66
According to the World Commission on Environment and
Development, for development to be sustainable the ex- [1]
Ash (% by weight) 6.24
ploitation of resources, the orientation of technological [1]
Sulfur (% by weight) 1.16
developments and the direction of investments must be in
harmony to enhance both current and future potential to Heating value (dry) MJ/kg 11.48
meet human needs [, un-
dated]. Sustainable development aims to promote eco-
1. As received
nomic growth, efficient use of natural resources and their
secured long-term supply and protection of the environ-
ment to ensure survival of future generations. The sus- higher-efficiency technologies will be important in both
tainability issue for coal is not whether the resource will developed countries and developing countries such as
run out, but whether coal can be produced and used in Pakistan, a partner in reducing carbon emissions globally.
an acceptable manner consistent with a sustainable frame- Pakistan was among the first to ratify the United Nations
work. Use of coal can be consistent with a sustainable Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
framework if, while meeting our present needs, it pro- in June 1994. The UNFCCC requires developing countries
duces new capital and options for future generations with- to take all measures in support of the protection of the
out degrading the environment to an unacceptable extent. atmosphere without any formal commitment on the quan-
Affordability, safety in transportation and storage, and tified reduction of greenhouse gases in a time-frame. Paki-
worldwide availability ensure that coal will be a major stan also ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC on
component of the world’s energy supplies for the foresee- January 11, 2005. The Kyoto Protocol sets up quantifiable
able future. For this to be possible, coal-based technolo- emission goals for industrialized countries and includes a
gies will have to be capable of operation in an number of flexibility mechanisms to help them meet these
environmentally sustainable way. goals. One of these, the Clean Development Mechanism,
While improved coal technologies have produced very facilitates climate change mitigation through sustainable
substantial efficiency and emission improvements to date, development in developing country parties, including
accelerated technological effort is required to reduce Pakistan.
greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the environ- Pakistan’s economy presently contributes little to global
mental performance of coal. Deployment of cleaner and greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations. According to the

Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005 61


1990 GHG inventory, Pakistan was responsible for only poses, etc. It can be used in multipurpose plants for the
132,706 gigagrams (Gg) (i.e., 132.706 Mt) of CO2 equiva- simultaneous production of electric power, chemicals/fer-
lent net emissions, or 0.36 % of the world total GHG tilizers and fuels, which also improve the economics of
emissions per year [IUCN, 2002]. However Pakistan’s en- coal gasification [World Bank, 1995]. Gasification also
ergy efficiency has remained low and GHG emissions per makes it possible to provide clean synthetic fuels in the
unit GDP are high compared to the figures in industrial- near term, such as town gas for cooking and heating, di-
ized countries. The country’s expanding energy sector methyl ether (DME) for cooking, and methanol and DME
contributes 53 % of overall GHG emissions and is likely for transportation.
to contribute disproportionately to emissions unless higher
efficiency technologies are adopted. Coal gasification is 5. Commercial gasification technologies and
one of the mitigation options available to Pakistan for re- low-rank coal
duction of GHG emissions from the power sector. The four major commercial gasification technologies are
(1) Sasol-Lurgi dry ash; (2) GE (originally developed by
4. Coal gasification Texaco); (3) Shell; and (4) Conoco Phillips E-gas (origi-
Coal gasification is a process that converts solid coal into nally developed by Dow).
a combustible gas, composed primarily of carbon monox- The Sasol-Lurgi gasifier (developed by Lurgi) is of the
ide and hydrogen, by adding an oxidizing agent (air, oxy- fixed-bed type and non-slagging. The other three gasifiers
gen, water vapor). Coal gasification offers a practical are of the entrained-flow slagging type. These technolo-
means of utilizing coal for meeting stringent environ- gies can gasify all ranks of coal from lignite to anthracite
mental control requirements [Clean-Energy US, 2005]. In provided that certain operational changes are imple-
the gasification process sulfur present in the coal is con- mented. The suitability of Sasol-Lurgi fixed-bed dry bot-
verted to hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and minor amounts of tom gasification (S-L FBDB) for low-rank coal is shown
carbonyl sulfide (COS). These sulfur compounds can be in Table 2 [Venter, 2003]. The Shell process is relatively
easily and economically removed from gas streams by a insensitive to coal properties, such as size, reactivity, and
wide variety of commercially available processes (i.e., caking tendency as well as sulfur and ash content [Chhoa,
acid gas removal systems). Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are not 2004]. Gasification is a commercially proven technology
formed to any appreciable extent in the reducing atmos- to process high-ash coals for power generation, manufac-
phere of coal gasification. The particulate content in the ture of synthesis gas, synthetic chemicals and liquid fuels.
fuel gas after gasification is negligible since the gas-clean- For low-rank coals such as lignite, less data are available.
ing steps (hot cyclones, water-scrubbing or hot gas clean- The existing data show that in addition to reduced efficiency,
ing) capture almost all particulate emissions. Except hot low-rank coals with more moisture and ash require larger-
gas clean-up, the other two systems are commercially es- sized process equipment to deal with the increased mass
tablished and practiced [Rao, 2005]. flows due to the lower energy-density coal feed.
Gasification of coal is an old and well-proven technol- As moisture or ash content increases, more oxygen is
ogy that has attracted renewed interest and is now under- required to maintain the operating temperature, and the
going modernization. Until the 1960s, coal was the most gasifier cold gas efficiency goes down. High ash-content
important component of the world’s primary energy sup- coals also require a larger capacity slag-handling system.
ply. In the late 1960s, it was overtaken by oil, while natu- Table 3 [Maurstad, 2005] indicates the changes in capital
ral gas makes an increasing contribution to the total. Since cost of the different process units in response to the effects
then coal’s share of primary energy supply has declined. of increased moisture, ash and sulfur in the coal.
The ability of integrated gasification combined-cycle
power plants to compete favorably with direct coal com- 6. Integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC)
bustion for electric power generation has significantly in- electric power generation
creased the attractiveness of coal as an energy source. A In an integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC)
broad range of coals with varying ash content can be suc- power plant, fuel gas from the gasification unit is cleaned
cessfully gasified. Variation in the feed coal quality has of sulfur compounds and particulate matter, and is then
minimal adverse effects on the gasification process. Coal burned in a gas turbine to generate a first source of elec-
can be fed to the gasifier in the form of crushed coal up tricity. Exhaust gas from the gas turbine is used to produce
to 50 mm size, coal fines, pulverized coal or coal-water steam to drive a steam turbine to generate a second source
slurry depending upon the generic type of gasification of electricity. Thus, IGCC integrates a coal gasification
process [Rao, 2005]. unit with a unit which combines both gas and steam tur-
The major advantage of gasification is that coal is con- bines (“combined cycle”). Since coal gasification and
verted into a gaseous fuel which is easy to handle and is combined-cycle technologies are separately used exten-
a clean form of energy. The synthesis gas has a wide range sively, it is often argued that IGCC is a proven technology
of applications. It can be used in a combined-cycle system [Rao, 2005]. The thermal efficiency of IGCC is 42 to
for efficient and clean generation of electric power. It is 44 % compared to 35 % efficiency for existing pulverized
suitable for the manufacture of hydrogen and chemicals coal (PC) power plants [World Bank, 1995].
such as ammonia, methanol, and acetic acid, as substitute Conventional coal-fired electricity generation has re-
natural gas, and as a reducing gas for metallurgical pur- sulted in numerous environmental problems, notably

62 Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005


emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds, both of Table 2. Suitability of Sasol-Lurgi, fixed-bed dry-bottom gasification
which are linked to acid rain, as well as particulate emis- (S-L FBDB) for low-rank coals
sions. Coal gasification combined-cycle power generation
Total moisture (wt %) 2-36
technologies present electric power producers with impor-
tant options and opportunities to improve efficiency, en- Proximate analysis (air-dry basis wt %)
vironmental performance and overall cost-effectiveness Inherent moisture 4-34
[TFEST, 2003].
Volatiles 6-33
IGCC is the technology designed to meet the higher
efficiency and stringent environmental regulations re- Ash content 12-38
quired in the 21st century. As environmental control re- Fixed carbon 30-54
quirements increase, the economic advantages of IGCC
Total sulfur 0.3-1.5
will correspondingly increase. Similarly with further de-
velopments in coal gasification and gas turbine technolo- Calorific value (MJ/kg air-dry basis) 12-27
gies taking place, the economic and performance benefits Free swelling index 0-1.5
of IGCC will increase significantly. The efficiency of
Types of coal Bituminous; sub-bituminous;
IGCC which is now around 42 % is likely to increase to anthracite; lignite
55-60 % [Rao, 2005]. The capital costs of large and ma-
ture-technology IGCC plants and PC plants with flue gas
desulfurization (FGD) are projected to be nearly the same. Table 3. Changes in capital costs due to changes in feed coal
However, IGCC is more economical compared to a con- Process unit Increased Increased Increased
ventional PC-fired plant for removal of sulfur and nitro- moisture ash sulfur
gen. With high-sulfur coals the efficiency difference
Fuel preparation + +
between the two plants is higher since the auxiliary power
consumption for sulfur removal is up to 3 % in the FGD Gasifier + +
unit of a coal-fired plant and negligible in the IGCC plant.
Air separation unit + +
IGCC systems are highly modular, hence amenable to
phased construction and higher plant availability, up to Slag handling +
85 % or about 7400 hours per year of plant operation Heat recovery Neg.? +
[World Bank, 1995] and economy at smaller capacities of
the order of 250 MW. Introduction of IGCC technology to Sulfur removal +
utilities can create new business opportunities in the co-pro- Gas turbine
duction of electricity with chemicals, liquid fuels, etc.
Steam cycle +
7. Electricity demand/supply projection in Pakistan
Pakistan has a population of 152.53 million, of which (23.9 %), other industries (18.9 %), households (17.7 %),
only 40 % has access to electricity. The demand/supply the commercial sector (2.9 %) and cement (1.6 %). It may
projection as shown in Figure 2 indicates that power be noted that the share of the power sector in consuming
shortages will appear from the year 2006, and increase to gas has been rising continuously since 1998-99. This trend
5500 MW in the year 2010, if no measures are taken to is due to the fact that the power sector is gradually re-
bring in new capacity. Pakistan plans to increase its power ducing its dependence on imported fuel oil because of
generation capacity by 143,000 MW in the next 25 years escalating prices. Liquid fuel has been used to supplement
to 162,540 MW from the current 19,540 MW to sustain natural gas in the power plants. Power generation with
higher GDP growth at 7-8 % [GOP, 2004]. This addition liquid fuels is economically not attractive while power
would include 19,750 MW of coal-based power produc- generation using imported naphtha is more expensive than
tion. In order to meet the growing demand the Private that using domestic coal, at almost all locations. Natural
Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has recently ad- gas is a preferred input for the manufacture of fertilizers,
vertised a 450 MW coal-fired project at Lakhra in Sindh. petrochemicals, sponge iron, etc. The natural gas used for
In addition to this, the Government of Sindh has signed power generation can be used for these purposes if it can
memoranda of understanding (MoUs) for (1) a 600 MW be replaced by an alternative fuel gas. The fuel gas pro-
Thar coal power project with the Shenhua Group of China duced by gasifying coal would be suitable to burn in the
and (2) a 1200 MW project at Thar with an Australian existing gas turbines of the combined-cycle plant. The
firm using the new technology of “underground coal gasi- conversion from natural gas to coal-based fuel gas needs
fication” [GOP, 2004]. the addition of a coal gasification system in the combined-
cycle plant.
8. Coal as natural gas substitute
Figure 3 gives the annual consumption of gas by various 9. Production of town gas through gasification
catergories of users from 1993-94 to 2002-03 [GOP, Fuel gas from coal gasification can find many uses in the
2005]. In 2002-03, the power sector emerged as the larg- industrial and domestic sectors for heating and energy
est consumer of gas (34.8 %), followed by fertilizer purposes. Fuel gas as town gas can be piped to homes

Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005 63


Figure 2. Electricity demand projection in Pakistan

Figure 3. Sector-wise consumption of gas

The units on the y-axis are billions of cubic feet. 1 billion cubic feet = 28.32 million m3.

64 Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005


and hotels for cooking purposes, supplementing the LPG Company of USA have confirmed minability and suitabil-
supply, whose consumption was 1000 t/day in 2003-04 ity of Lakhra coal for power generation. This coal field
[GOP, 2005]. The Pakistan government has announced is fully developed, and contains minable reserves of 146
that a coal gasification plant is to be set up in Bhakkar, Mt of lignite coal with high sulfur content. The coal de-
Punjab to produce 85,000 m3 of gas per day and around posits at Thar coalfield alone are estimated at 175.5 Gt.
0.35 t/day of coke, consuming 0.8 t/day of coal. The es- Thar coal has low-sulfur and low-ash content but high
timated cost of the coal gasification plant is around Rs. moisture. The feasibility study of Thar coal is yet to be
250 million (US$ 4.198 million; 1 US$ = Rs. 59 approxi- completed to confirm its minability and suitability for
mately) and it will produce gas by adopting the “vertical large-scale power generation. The Sonda coalfield is the
retort destructive distillation process” [MPNS, 2005]. second largest coalfield of Sindh. The feasibility study of
Sonda coal for power generation is yet to be initiated.
10. Coal as input in the fertilizer industry
It was during the mid-fifties that the Iskandarabad fertilizer 13. Availability of infrastructure
factory in Pakistan was established and at that time the natu- In Pakistan, coalfields are generally located in remote ar-
ral gas reserve was not available for this purpose. The source eas where the basic infrastructure such as roads, railways,
for production of gaseous mixture, which could be subjected telephone lines and cooling water required for mining and
to cracking to generate hydrogen, was coal from Makerwal. setting up coal power plants are either minimal or absent.
The process was gasification and the well-known suppliers Infrastructure such as electricity, workers’ housing, roads
Lurgi of Germany supplied the plant [Beg, 2000]. This plant for movement of manpower, material and equipment, re-
was in operation for a long time much after the gas supply liable telecommunications, potable water supply and a
reached the north. This shows that coal containing high transport system are necessary for any mining activity. In
amounts of sulfur can still be put to sophisticated use by addition, for setting up new power stations, the construc-
appropriate modification. tion of transmission lines to connect such power stations
to the national grid will also be needed. Drinking water,
11. Coal chemicals roads and electricity are not available in the Thar coal-
The importance of coal as industrial raw material and its field. The Government of Pakistan has approved a Rs. 1.1
role in a wide range of industrial applications is well- billion (US$ 18.7 million) road project to connect the
known in industry. Coal was the main source for a variety coal-rich areas of the Thar desert to its existing road net-
of chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylene, naphtha- work [Mahagaokar and Krewinghaus, 1997]. The project
lene, anthracene, and phenol till the Second World War will include the rehabilitation of 219 km of roads and
[Rao, 2005]. These chemicals present in coal-tar obtained construction of 51.6 km of new roads. The project will
by carbonization of coal were the raw material for the provide transport facilities for the Thar coal power plant
production of pharmaceuticals, dyes, resins, plastics, and project from Hyderabad to Sanghario via Islamkot. Thar
explosives. The first polyethylene plant of Dupont was has potential for major development comprising multiple
based on ethylene from coal gas [Rao, 2005]. There are mining/power facilities extending over several decades.
three important routes to convert coal to useful chemicals; The infrastructural requirement should be evaluated in the
one of them is gasification technology to produce synthe- long-term perspective and not in the immediate context
sis gas as a feed material for chemicals. The wide spec- of the first mining operation and associated power plant.
trum of possible chemicals from synthesis gas includes
ethylene, methanol, formaldehyde, acetic acid, and ethyl 14. Financial aspects
acetate. The synthesis gas opens up the field for C1 chem- The absence of sufficient manufacturing capabilities for
istry (compounds containing one carbon atom per mole- mining and power plant equipment and machinery is one
cule). At Sasol in South Africa, chemicals from a wide of the main impediments to the rapid development of
range including alpha-olefins, waxes, solvents, paraffin, coal-mining in Pakistan and needs to be addressed
ketones, alcohols and acids are produced from synthesis through massive investment. Large amounts of capital are
gas obtained from coal gasification. Petroleum and natural required to set up commercial plants to produce fuel gas
gas are currently the principal sources of basic organic from coal gasification as a feedstock for gaseous and liq-
intermediates, namely ethylene, propylene, butadiene, uid fuels and chemicals, etc.
benzene, toluene, xylenes and methanol. Ammonia has Most technologies available on a commercial scale for
also been made from the hydrogen present in the synthesis manufacturing the above products are based on coals with
gas obtained from gasification of coal. The organic chemical different characteristics than those of Pakistan’s coals, es-
industry which depends upon petrochemical building blocks pecially with respect to high ash content and low ash-fu-
could face a serious feedstock problem due to any disrup- sion temperature. Therefore these technologies cannot be
tions in oil supplies. In such situations, synthesis gas from applied directly to Pakistan’s coals but have to be adapted
coal can be a suitable feedstock. Technologies are available through indigenous demonstration and R&D before set-
in Pakistan for the production of coal chemicals. ting up large commercial-scale plants in the country. Thus
Pakistan needs capital for R&D and demonstration of
12. Coal minability technology with Pakistani coals and for commercial
The feasibility studies conducted by John T. Boyd and plants. Pakistan is short of funds for capital investment.

Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005 65


An option that can be followed by Pakistan for funding nology is established in the country, all future coal-based
demonstration activities is to adopt the strategy followed power plants can be in the IGCC mode. The long-term
by the US Department of Energy for the Clean Coal Tech- policy goal should include use of synthesis coal gas for
nology Program (known as the CCT Program). It is a production of chemicals, fertilizers and steel.
model of government-industry partnership for technology Pakistan needs to study technological development
advancement. Industry is sharing 65 % of the cost. The trends in other advanced nations, namely their develop-
demonstration plants are set up at commercial scale in the ment strategies, including energy conditions and techno-
user’s premises. Industry retains intellectual property logical development history. Pakistan can import clean
rights. The government’s share in the cost of a project is coal technologies from Japan, Germany, China and the
refunded by the industry only upon commercialization of USA. In addition, Pakistan should conduct technological
the technology. It means the risk involved is funded by cooperation programs for high-efficiency coal utilization
the government. It is felt that such a type of arrangement and clean technologies with developing countries in Asia.
is necessary in Pakistan. In addition to this the govern- Doing so will contribute to environmental conservation in
ment can also offer incentives to the builders of demon- the entire Asia region. Through these activities, Japan, be-
stration/commercial plants in Pakistan to promote coal ing the leading developed country in Asia, should promote
gasification and its application technologies. overseas presence of industries related to Japan’s coal
utilization technologies. In this case, it will be necessary
15. Strategy and approach to form a joint development project when a technology
It is unfortunate that no notice was taken of the successful required by a foreign country is not so marketable in Ja-
operation of the 15-MW power plant at Mandah in Quetta, pan. The joint project can adapt a technology to local
based on PC technology, or successful commissioning of needs. These arrangements should be based on transfer of
the 150-MW power plant at Lakhra, Sindh in 1994, based technology to the host country. A domestic policy that
on fluidized-bed combustion technology, in the energy fosters technology diffusion is likely to be a key factor
policies formulated subsequently. Had many such plants for successful technology transfer. Beyond the transfer of
been replicated, coal would have become a major compo- clean coal equipment, this implies transferring the techni-
nent of the fuel resource of Pakistan. The technology was cal ability to replicate and manufacture such equipment
not adopted to establish a chain of power plants based on locally. Enhancing the knowledge of and providing train-
indigenous energy resources. The present share of coal in ing to manufacturers and users is also critical.
the overall energy mix is only about 6 %. To improve the Coal gasification should be an integrated component of
share of coal in the primary energy supply of the country energy systems that satisfy Pakistan’s sustainable devel-
from 6.5 % to 25-30 % by 2020, the government has opment needs. The plan should be based on gasification
planned to build a number of coal-based power projects. technology to produce synthesis gas for power, clean fuels
It is important that the new investments in the energy sec- for transportation and cooking, and heat for both domestic
tor should be directed to gasification-based systems, with and industrial applications, to replace coal combustion
an emphasis on co-production of multiple energy carriers technology and oil imports.
and often chemicals as well at the same site, i.e., poly-
generation. Time is running out to implement this strategy 16. Conclusion
because large investments are planned for electricity over Coal is a relatively abundant fossil fuel reserve in Paki-
the next decade that will lock in the mode of coal use for stan, though it meets only about 6.5 % of the commercial
meeting Pakistan’s electricity requirements through 2020 energy needs and accounts for 1 % of power generation
and for many decades thereafter. requirements. In view of the large shortfall in electricity
The immediate targets should be to establish coal gasi- generation expected during the next 10 years, maximum
fication and IGCC technologies for commercial applica- utilization of coal will be most appropriate for power gen-
tion. The first priority of the use of coal gas should be eration. The present share of coal in the overall energy
for power generation. Pakistan needs to build the first mix needs to be increased to 25-30 % by 2020. Pakistan
IGCC plant of size around 50 MW to accommodate one is looking for alternative technologies that are more effi-
train of gasification and power islands. The plant should cient, environmentally benign and economically attractive.
be extensively instrumented and thoroughly experimented Coal gasification meets these requirements. IGCC tech-
with various coals to develop full indigenous capability nology is the best option for utilizing low-quality coal in
for the setting-up of large-scale plants in Pakistan. The power generation in Pakistan. The country is presently
fluidized-bed gasification process is superior to the mov- highly dependent on imported oil and petroleum products,
ing-bed process for utilization of Pakistan’s high-ash coals and the trend is likely to continue due to very limited
through the gasification route. The experience with the indigenous reserves and high growth rate in consumption.
fluidized-bed process is very limited in the country. In- Pakistan requires secured oil supplies to achieve its tar-
ternationally also, the experience gained so far has only geted growth. This is possible by producing oil substitutes
been with low-ash coals. The IGCC demonstration plant within the country from abundantly available indigenous
is likely to build up enough confidence for the design of coal resources. The coal gasification route is most suitable
commercial plants in five to ten years from the date of for the conversion of coal to oil. Coal is a source for a
commencement of its construction. Once the IGCC tech- wide variety of chemicals. Synthesis gas produced from

66 Energy for Sustainable Development ! Volume IX No. 4 ! December 2005


coal gasification is the feedstock for production of chemi- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 2002. Status
of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Pakistan,
cals. There is a vast scope for coal chemicals in Pakistan. HBP Ref.: R2FCCWSD, Islamabad, May 13.
Like oil, reserves of natural gas are very limited in Paki- Mahagaokar, U., and Krewinghaus, A.B., 1997. “Gasification”, Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of
stan. Synthesis gas from coal will be an appropriate sup- Chemical Technology, (2nd ed.), Volume 6, John Wiley and Sons, Inc, pp. 541-566.
plement to natural gas. Coal gasification opens up several Maurstad, O., 2005. An Overview of Coal based Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle
avenues for coal utilization and enables the use of coal (IGCC) Technology, Publication No. LFEE 2005-002 WP, Massachusetts Institute of Tech-
nology, September,
as a raw material to improve its economics through co-
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