Alternative Energy

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Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Nov 09

Waste to Energy needed in Pakistan

Posted in Energy Politics | Environment and Sustainability | Waste to Energy

Waste to EnergyGrowing urbanisation and changes in the pattern of life, give rise to generation of increasing quantities of wastes and it’s now becoming another threat to our already degraded environment. However, in recent years, waste-to-energy technologies have been developed to produce clean energy through the combustion of municipal solid waste in specially designed power plants equipped with the most modern pollution control equipment to clean emissions. Yet, solid waste management practices differ for developed and developing nations. In developing countries like Pakistan, institutions charged with the responsibility to make decisions on solid waste management, operate in the enormous information, policy and strategy vacuum and lack therefore the ability to address this looming environmental disaster.

YouTube: Garbage Gasification

The perfect ‘case study’ of information gap in selection of appropriate methodology to dispose municipal waste exhibited by the apex civic authority of Pakistan is when the capital development authority has finally decided to solve the ever-increasing volume of municipal waste by landfill in groundwater recharge area. While in developed countries, landfills are now bracketed as ‘obsolete’ and ‘mines of the future’ after observing several problems like pollution and contamination of groundwater by leachate and residual soil contamination after landfill closure and simple nuisance problems. This is the very reason why in the United States sanitary landfill techniques has steadily decreased from 8,000 in 1988 to 1,767 in 2002. Extensively focusing on turning waste to energy, municipal authorities in USA have realised the contribution of waste to an increasing electricity shortage.

Today in America, 2500 MW are solely generated by the waste-to-energy plants. Many other countries in the world, Sweden, Japan included, have applied this technology since the last 20 years. In the sub continent, India installed three projects to produce electricity from waste with a total capacity of 17.6 MW. Although these ‘made in India’ power plants are generating electricity by direct incineration, causing pollution and must be upgraded by sophisticated monitoring systems to check pollution. These examples are enough to establish that CDA’s ignorance of modern technologies is surely not simply a lack of ‘access to information’, but questions the professional capabilities of the planners within its corridors.

Pakistan SatelliteThe site selected for the landfill project is at Kuri, an ancient city of Potwar and its aerial distance is hardly five kilometres from sector G-5, known as the nucleus of Islamabad. Though, in July 2003, the same site was considered for a landfill project but UNDP out rightly rejected and warned that environmental cost would be considerable, besides air pollution, contamination of groundwater if Kuri was selected as a landfill project. JICA in 1988 also compiled a detail investigation report, which established that the area is the recharge zone of the aquifer catering for more than 50 per cent of the twin cities’ drinking demand. Based on these serious environmental constraints, as its location is up a slope and within the flood plain of Gumrah River, the recharge-basin of the twin cities aquifer, the site was rejected. Recent floods substantiated the finding of all the reports, as the site is definitely within the flood plains of the Gumrah River and would need to be protected on a priority basis, especially as water shortages is now a permanent problem of the twin cities.

Whoever selected and approved the site for the ‘disaster of the future’, showed ignorance of the above reports and absolute ignorance of the adverse environmental impacts this project would create. Is this ignorance simply unawareness of the planners or is it complete apathy towards anything old, which rejects that Kuri is recorded as an ancient city of the Potowar Region. As CDA is constantly focusing on developing tourist attractions, why not preserve this historical area? Aware of the unprofessional management at CDA’s varied directorates one anticipates leachates from the landfills, polluting the amazingly still clean groundwater table, while the wind will carry waves of leaking gases towards the G-5 Sector, farther adding to the prevalent health hazards of the capital.

Pakistani Experts‘Access to clean water’ has been given the ‘top priority’ flag by the president. Selecting a site along the Gumrah River, known to recharge the groundwater along its winding course through Chak Shehzad and Kanna shows the warped priorities of the planning commission that approves projects, the ministry of interior responsible for CDA affairs and the CDA itself. Had CDA only followed the minutest details provided in the Federal Capital Commission Reports of 1960 by the earlier planners of the capital city, Islamabad today would have been a model for the rest of Pakistan.

The CDA ignored the most recent seismic zoning report of the region too. According to EPA US regulations, duly adopted by Pakistan’s EPA, there should be no significant seismic risk within identified landfill sites. Kuri is within a highly sensitive earthquake zone, according to new seismic zoning maps prepared after the earthquake 2005. An earthquake having a magnitude of 4.2 was recorded on July 7, 1989 and its epicentre was at a distance of 10 kilometres from Kuri.

Had the spread of this infectious disease the ‘vacuum of information’ been contained in time, CDA would surely have been able to diagnose that the estimated cost of two billion rupees for the landfill site, would have sufficed for setting up an ‘energy-to-waste’ plant in the city. With load-shedding a permanent crisis in Pakistan, adding some extra megawatts through waste-to-energy could have solved many ills in the rapidly growing energy needs.

A vacuum of information has not allowed the CDA to communicate either with the alternate energy development board, established by the federal government in 2003. This board was given the mandate to solve the energy crisis that is facing this country through renewable technologies. Although advertisements in the printed media asked for feasibility studies of ‘waste-to-energy’ units for ten cities of the country, the twin cities were ignored. Had mutual interactions been part of the government systems, the funds available to the CDA for the ill-fated sanitary landfill, and the technical know-how of alternate energy development board (AEDB), Islamabad could have prided itself of being the first ever waste-to-energy unit in the country today.

The decision to construct a landfill project at extremely sensitive areas need not only to be reviewed but also need to empower the AEDB to generate electricity from waste to cope with the energy demand in the lines of international environmental commitments avoiding violation of the Kyoto Protocol and Stockholm Convention. Now decision-makers have to choose whether to allow the CDA to go ahead with the landfill project, to dump waste for adding more pollution and contamination of groundwater or to allow production of environment friendly energy.

» Author: Arshad H Abbasi
» The writer can be contacted at


  • Aijaz

    Author rightly pointed out that implementation of this Kuri Landfill project will be a disaster which will not only destroy the ground water but also negatively affect the environment.

  • Dr. Moosa

    Good attempt; but it very difficult to teach official of CDA, having own vested interests. Author showed just his dreaming or else Alternate Energy Board Development, is proved a white elephant since its existence.
    Good Luck to Pakistan

  • Dr. Moosa

    Waste-to-energy concept needs at least a decade to understand in developing countries like Pakistan.

  • Ms Farzana Raja

    Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies is an organization having mandate to organize, coordinate and promote research and development in the various fields within the concept of Renewable Energy.
    Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET) has been recently established by merging National Institute of Silicon Technology (NIST) and Pakistan Council for Appropriate Technologies (PCAT). The council has its head office at Islamabad and four regional/field offices in the provincial capitals Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

    PCRET has been assigned the responsibility to research and development dissemination provide training promote renewable energy technologies in the country, our main areas of thrust are:
    – Photovoltaic (Solar Electricity)
    – Waste-to-energy power plants
    – Solar Thermal Appliances (Solar Cookers, Solar Dyers, Solar Water heater, Solar desalination Plants)
    – Micro-hydel
    – Wind
    – Bio-energy (Biogas, Bio-oil and other Bio fuels)
    – Geothermal
    – Ocean Waves

    Currently the organization taking serious step toward waste-to-energy program and within a year first research project would be launched shortly and all recommendations will be incorporated after completion of research in this new innovative area.
    Please visit the most informative website of the organization

  • Ms Farzana Raja

    thanks for technical debate

  • Tahir Khan

    It may new concept in Pakistan or any other South-Asian country throughout the world, many different methods have been used to manage municipal solid waste (MSW). Two of the oldest methods are landfill and burning. Burning became popular in many areas of the world because it reduces the volume of MSW up to 90 percent, helps to destroy bacteria and germs, and reduces the quantity of waste to be landfill. After efficient combustion, only residual ash remains for disposal.

    Authorities of these countries must remember that uncontrolled combustion has the potential to produce considerable air pollution. It is therefore that the modern waste-to-energy (WTE) plant evolved which is characterized by highly controlled combustion supported by extensive air pollution control and ash management systems. It is good that author mentioned about the strict compliance with government regulations for air, water, and solid waste emissions protective of human health and the environment, if waste to energy plants installed.

    As far as need for waste to energy strategy is concerned GOP should take immediate measure to cope with energy shortfall as the country may plunge into energy crisis by the year 2007 due to rising electricity demand which enters double digit figure following and increasing sale of electrical and electronic appliances on lease finance.

    As per Pakistan Economic Survey 2003-04, electricity consumption has increased by 8.6 per cent during first three-quarter of last fiscal year. However, a top level WAPDA official maintained that electricity demand surged up to 13 per cent during last quarter. The household sector has been the largest consumer of electricity accounting for 44.2 per cent of total electricity consumption followed by industries 31.1 per cent, agriculture 14.3 per cent, other government sector 7.4 per cent, commercial 5.5 per cent and street light 0.7 per cent.

    The country needs a quantum jump in electricity generation in medium-term scenario to revert the possibilities of loadshedding in future due to shrinking gap between demand and supply of electricity at peak hours.

    waste-to-energy power plants may help bridge the gap between firm supply and peak hours demand that would be 1,457 MW during the financial year 2007-08 and it would be 5,529 MW by the year 2009-10 when firm electricity supply will stand at 15,055 MW against peak demand of 20,584 MW.

    Here for the information of reader let me add about the survey conducted by Chinese firm in year 2003, in which the firm submitted a report that 1200 MW to 1500 MW electricity can generated from the solid waste of major cities of Pakistan, but later on nothing have been heard. Now there is another chance to look into the matter, especially in the scenario as stated above.

  • Tahir Khan

    Good to know about the subject

  • Tahir Khan

    “Garbage is simply useful stuff in the wrong place.”
    — Alex Steffen (TreeHugger}

  • Rana Abdul Waheed

    President of Pakistan is very keen to solve the looming energy crises and, in-fact; he is only person who can take decision. Other state own intuitions are run be incompetent official. These officials are in their best to sabotage our economy by adopting a statuesque policy.

    These are the responsible to destroy our textile industry. The Pakistani textile industry holds a relatively important position in the world and thus plays a major role in Pakistani’s exports. Energy consumption is important for the textile industry in Turkey because it is the largest export sector. Energy usage in the textile industry in Turkey is inefficient, and energy consumption has been growing very rapidly due to population growth, rapid urbanization and industrial development. For future planning, it is important to know the current specific energy consumption (energy consumption/production) and the energy intensity (energy consumption/cost of energy) ‘in order to estimate future energy consumption for the textile sector.

  • Hussain Ali

    Author has rightly pointed out the matter. Though practical implication of this Idea is not very easy but it can be possible if the relating authorities take keen interest in the matter by setting aside their personal interests.
    Hope, this dream will come true in the near future.

  • Amir shahzad

    Yeh waste to energy is really need of Pakistan as the country is most likely to face a major energy crisis in natural gas, power and oil in the next three to four years that could choke the economic growth for many years to come, official estimates and energy experts suggest.Major shortfall is expected in the natural gas supplies,as the demand for natural gas, having about 50 per cent share in the country’s energy consumption, would increase by 44 per cent to 39 MTOE from 27 MTOE currently. Partly contributed by gas shortfalls, the power shortage is expected to be little over 5,250MW by 2010, the oil demand would also increase by over 23 per cent to about 21 million tons in 2010 from the current demand of 16.8 million tons.

    The government had planned to add an overall power generation capacity of about 7,880MW by 2010. Of this, about 4,860MW is to be based on natural gas, accounting for 61 per cent of capacity expansion. However, the gas-based power expansion of about 4,860MW would remain in doubt since these estimates were based on gas import options for completion in 2010, 2015 and 2020.

    The fifth initiative of LNG import was on schedule and would start delivering about 0.3 billion cubic feet of gas (BCFD) by 2009 and another 0.5 BCFD by 2015, said the sources.

    Petroleum ministry officials are not ready to speak on record about gas import options and resultant overall energy shortfalls because of recent political developments on Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project and security situation in Afghanistan and non-certification of gas reserves in Turkmenistan.

    According to World Bank estimates, a demand gap (supply shortage) of about four per cent of the total demand, is expected in 2010. Even though this gap would be met by LNG imports, it would again increase to 20 per cent of the total demand. The bank said the indigenous gas supply would fall from 32.6 MTOE in 2010 to 20.7 MTOE in 2025 while the ‘gas supply-demand gap’ would rapidly increase as demand is expected to grow continuously, quadrupling in 2025.

    As per the World Bank estimates, the gas imports will represent almost 67 per cent of natural gas supply in 2025. One can, therefore, gauge the quantum of shortage in case import pipelines are not materialised.

    Pakistan’s gas reserves are 32.8 TCF at present, with reserve-production ratio in the order of 27 years, considering that domestic production does not grow substantially. Power sector demand represents 41 per cent of total gas consumption, general industries 24 per cent, fertiliser 7.8 per cent and domestic-commercial 22.8 per cent, cement 1.5 per cent and CNG 2.8 per cent.

    Demand growth has been up to 8.5 per cent in recent years and is expected to be seven per cent with power industries and domestic consumption accounting for 82 per cent. Gas demand already displays seasonal pattern with national demand growing in winter beyond transmission capacity. Therefore, supplies to large users mainly industries and power plants are curtailed during winter months to ensure supplies to domestic, commercial and small industries. Annual production at present is about 1.16 TCF.

  • Haider Ali

    We need a reliable energy source to promote and help this Pakistani economy grow, so I think the president of Pakistan should take personal note of it.

  • Jawad Abbasi

    After the efforts that President Musharraf has been putting into making of very controversial dam project in Pakistan we should consider other feasible ways of producing fossil fuels and other ways to meet our enery needs for the future.

  • G.N. Raikoti

    In my view this is an option very modern and expensive for a country like Pakistan. Before we embark on such a large-scale program, we need to learn the basics of how to segregate our waste first.

  • Ghulam Nabi Khan

    To follow China Model i.e Electricity is almost free there ,so why not we but to do this we must be self-suffcient in Energy sector.

  • azhar maroof

    i am just eager to know that if governments may not understand these simple 2+2=4 matters then what are they upto????????????

  • Kuldeep Singh

    For those, who are interested to look into the Indian performance in energy from waste, still we are for behind, yet efforts are being done to embark upon urban waste. Our urban areas generate about 30 million tones of solid waste and about 4400 million cubic meters of liquid waste every year. In addition, a large quantity of solid and liquid waste is also generated in the industrial sector. Most of this waste finds its way into rivers, ponds, lands, etc., without proper treatment, emitting gases like methane (CH4), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), etc., resulting in odour, pollution of water & air. This problem can be mitigated through adoption of environment friendly technologies for treatment and processing of waste before it is disposed off. These technologies not only reduce the quantity of wastes, but also improve its quality to meet the required pollution control standards, besides generating a substantial quantity of energy. It is estimated that there is a potential of generating about 1700 MW of power from urban and municipal wastes and about 1000 MW from industrial wastes in the country, which is likely to increase further with economic development.

    Worth reading:

    For more information:
    Kuldeep Singh [Researcher]

  • F.A.Kamal

    Cleaner production of electricity from waste is a win-win situation;

    Undoubtedly, Pakistan, like other developing countries, faces serious environmental problems. Rapid population growth (average annual growth rate of 2.61 percent a year) and impressive GDP growth (of about 6 percent a year) have put enormous pressure on the country’s natural resources and have significantly increased pollution levels. Pakistan did not address the issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the national decision-making process.

    Urbanization, unregulated use of forests, land & water, expansion of agriculture but no attempts to increase the crop yield, extensive use of pesticides, ecologically and health hazardous industrial processes are due to in-sensitivities to poverty-environment nexus and flaws in policies.

    Solid waste collection by government owned and operated services in Pakistan ‘s cities currently averages only 50 percent of waste quantities generated; however, for cities to be relatively clean, at least 75 percent of this waste should be collected. Increased waste will also place greater demands on disposal services, thereby exacerbating an already poor situation since present disposal methods for solid waste are totally inadequate. Disposal is by open dumping, primarily on flood plains and into ponds, causing significant environmental damage, unsightly eye-sores, attracting all sorts of diseases.

    Unfortunately, none of the cities in Pakistan has a proper solid waste management system, right from collection of solid waste up to its proper disposal. Much of the uncollected waste poses serious risk to public health through clogging of drains, formation of stagnant ponds, and providing breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies with consequent risks of malaria ,cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and the infamous Dengue fever. Moreover because of the lack of adequate disposal sites, much of the collected waste finds its way in dumping grounds, open pits, ponds, rivers and agricultural land. Environmental degradation is not only well advanced already, but also is getting progressively worse as the country’s population, urbanization and industrialization increase, and as its economy develops generally.

    This concern has led to a growing recognition that economic development and the health and well-being of Pakistan’s population are closely linked with improved environmental management and protection. All of these causes further put pressure in terms of
    population, due to internal-migration from affected areas to urban areas.

    Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Municipalities have to daily deal with 14000 tons of garbage! Reliance on the conventional sources of energy is something on which we are losing our grip very quickly. As solid waste is an endless supply which can be turned into a resource is a very concise alternative which has been offered. We can very well see that we have nothing to lose, but all to gain. This superb idea must be implemented immediately!

    By F.A Kamal (environmental biologist)

  • Muhammad Sawar Satti

    Energy and renewable energy is a quite interesting subject, but only in papers, seminars or in International Conferences where out experts love to attend and read paper but practically these all ideas cannot be implemented in Pakistan. The immediate example that is I would like to refer a policy paper of Pakistan presented at the Renewable Energy jointly held by WEC and SAARC in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 12-14 June 2000. In the policy paper it was promised to generate 257 MS of energy from waste (Biomass)but the end result is zero.

    If the municipal waste is converted into waste to energy plant to generate electricity, we can bridge the gap between the demand and supply of electricity in the coming years. The concerned authorities must give due consideration to the idea of the greater interest of Pakistan. Survey report indicates the electricity requirements of 13000 to 14000 MW by the year 2009-10 and expected shortfall is about 5000 to 6000 MW. However, most rural areas of Pakistan are still without electricity and if the all the villages to be provided electricity, the shortfall can increased.

    Hydro Energy in Pakistan is the cheapest source for generation of electricity in Pakistan but no concrete steps are taken to generate hydro energy. A feasibility study was conducted in 1988 for a Hydro Energy project at River Jhelum near Union Council Chhijana (Kotli Sattian) which was called Taian Dalkot Run-Off-River Project to provide the cheap electricity to different part of Pakistan. By completion of this project 1200 MW electricity can be produced. But the work on this important project has not been started as yet. Whereas feasibility study of some of Dams was prepared in 1992(4 years later) but the work on these Dams are at final stages on the same River.

    This clearly shows the incompetence of the concerned departments responsible for producing electricity in the Country. This is the time that all Energy Departments should be restructured, re-engineered and their Key Performance Indicators (KPI) should be made in public baking full opportunities of such a cheap IT infrastructures available in the Country. The Web sites of these departments should be updated regularly. At present hardly find any useful information available on the Web Sites about the performance of their officers like targets sets and achievement etc. Only their personal information is available which is also not regularly updated. The date of all the officers, their telephone/fax/mobile numbers & e-mail addresses, assignments, targets and achievements should be regularly posted at the respective web sites of Federal and Provincial Governments officers.

    Punjab Government is making announcement through press about the advancements in IT in Punjab but the situation on ground zero. I have discussed with Secretary IT, Government of Punjab, about their poor performance, he shown his ability and mentioned that the officers of Punjab Government are reluctant to provide any data to be posted in the Punjab Government Web Site. It will be in the interest of general public that every district government must have independent web site about the different activities in the District.

    Muhammad Sawar Satti
    (Policy Analyst)

  • azhar maroof

    it seems hard that government of Pakistan will accept the issue, because we are master in producing a mess. A recent example in this regard is the power failure in Pak-west indies cricket one day match. Almost one hour was ruined due to mismanagement of power arrangements in this internation match.
    May GOD bless us all.

  • Sheikh Azam Nazir

    Dear Sir,

    We would like to introduce to you the RENERGEX: Renewable Energy Exhibition in Dubai, UAE being held on 5 – 7 Feb 2007.

    Oil is highly demanded for today’s worldwide industry and this will not last long enough. Renewable (sustainable) Energy is the ideal alternative for fossil fuel. Renewable Energy is the upcoming industrial revolution. The renewable energy sources such as (sun, wind and others) are free of cost raw materials. It is the critical time to start investing in this kind of business and can become the pioneer producer of renewable energy for future.

    RENERGEX 2007 will open the gate of new economic and industry to all manufacturing, producing and retailing companies to interact, deal, and invest in renewable energy field, shorten the distance to such opportunities, and create an outstanding environment for all renewable energy seekers, also enlighten the public about the importance of renewable energy and its applications.

    The official sponsors of this event are Ministry of Energy UAE, Dubai Municipality, UNEP, UNIDO, ICHET, & ISEO. A conference will also be part of the event. The Speakers of RENERGEX 2007: H.E Mohamed Bin Dha’en Al-Hameli — Minister of Energy UAE

    Keynote Speakers:

    UNEP: their keynote speaker (Energy and Climate Change)
    Prof. Dr. T. Nejat Veziroglu Director of UNIDO-ICHET
    (Hydrogen Energy System: Permanent Solution to Global Warming and Other Environmental Problems)
    EMIRATES UNIVERSITY: Dr. Kazem Ayob Executive Director of Dubai Knowledge Village-Academic (Renewable Energy & Pollution)
    ISEO: Mr. Gustav R. Grob, F.EI (former F.IP), Executive security

    For an exhibitor, view the possibilities and different products & services.

    We are the exclusive sales & booking agent in Pakistan for this exhibition to be held in UAE. If you find any interest in the above, and like to become exhibitor in the event please do contact me for further details.

    Sheikh Azam Nazir
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    42 Alfalah Town,
    Lahore Cantt, Pakistan
    M : + 92 333 65 91 777
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  • Dr. Moosa

    So, because of this whole debate, Pakistan is getting 550 Million Dollars from ADB.

    It’s good news that ADB is promoting the development of renewable energy in Pakistan through a multi financing facility of up to US$510 million. The program is the first of its kind in Pakistan and also one of the first to be developed under ADB’s evolving clean energy and efficiency initiative, through which ADB is planning to expand energy efficiency operations in its developing member countries to $1 billion per year. The facility will have a life of 10 years to 2017. Each loan under the facility would be at least $50 million and be used to partially finance renewable energy development projects. The governments of Northwest Frontier Province and Punjab expect to take out several loans under the facility to totals of $180 million and $150 million, respectively. Other provinces can request funding for renewable energy projects totaling $170 million. The bulk of the facility comes from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and will be subject to interest determined in accordance with ADB’s LIBOR Facility. Some $10 million of the facility comes from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund. To support investments in developing institutions and capacity, as well as feasibility studies. Interest for this portion is charged at 1% per annum during the eight-year grace period and 1.5% per annum subsequently, and carries a term of 32 years. The Alternative Energy Development Board is the executing agency for the program at the federal level, while at the provincial government level, the program will be executed via special purpose implementing agencies such Irrigation and Power Departments.


    Can any one tell what the % of renewable against the total is?
    Please feel free to contact

  • Dr. Basharat

    Pakistan, like other developing countries of the region, is facing a serious challenge of energy deficit. Renewable Energy (RE) resources can play an important role in bridging this deficit. More importantly, RE can take electricity to remote rural areas, where it is needed the most. Realizing the importance of RE, the Government of Pakistan created the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) in May 2003 to act as the central national body on the subject of Renewable Energy. The main objective of the Board is to facilitate, promote and encourage development of Renewable Energy in Pakistan with a mission to introduce Alternative/Renewable Energy at an accelerated rate to achieve 10% share of RE in the energy mix of the country. The current initiate is directed towards creating a market-based environment that is conducive to private sector investment and participation. One of the mandates of the Board is also to play a pivotal role in establishing international linkages and engaging in the transfer of the state of the art know how on renewable energy technologies to local research institutions and industries in Pakistan.

    AEDB has given a presentation to CDA’s Board on Waste to Energy and has advised CDA that instead of landfill or compost plant, CDA should go for waste to energy plant as per the Directions of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

  • manish

    Just tracking this area of technology . Can somebody tell me what is the amount of energy (MW) produced per tonne of MSW and if it is attractive why are corporates not entering it ??

  • Robert Orr

    There is no case for projects with misnomers such as “Sanitary Landfill” when they are not and never will be. Pakistan’s over reliance on outside Consultants (who would never recommend landfill in their own countries)who should know better.

    Waste to Energy is Government Policy and can be achieved biologically with no combustion in a totally closed environment. Gas for electricity generation is produced and byproducts of organic fertilizer, compost, usable C02 and process heat can be marketed.

    I declare a personal commitment to, and a commercial interest in, the advanced Anaerobic digestion systems that make the above outcomes possible, and emit NO greenhouse gases to the environment.

    Internet Sites such as this are the standard bearers, for allowing concerned Pakistanis to have their say and should be well supported.

  • Robert Orr

    Hi Manish, MSW (Municiple Solid Waste)consists of various wastes, of which the organic wastes are most productive for gas. With the latest AD techniques, around 150 tons of organic waste per day will produce around 7,500M3 of Gas per day, enough to power a 1MW electricity generator, using gas spark engines to drive the alternator. Sewer solid and liquid waste can also be used by the same process to produce power.
    The Alternative Energy Development Board is activly supporting this solution for Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Dr Basharat who posted an earlier message is an acknowledged expert in biomass, and is a member of the AEDB Board.

  • Oracle

    Well WTE is a complex issue but one should also consider calorific value of our waste. It is almost 3 times less than what is minimum required for such a system! Our intelligent guys proposed that sulfur can be added to RDF pellets but then what about air-pollution! well we have solution to low-calorific value waste also.

    Concerning Islamabad, well guys the compost plant was awarded to Waste Busters from Lahore on 4 July 2004 but later through pressure of Saif Group it was cancelled. Tender was again invited in 2006. This time two competitors were Lahore Compost from Saifullah Group and Waste Busters from Lahore. After technically both qualified CDA asked for rent of land for project- the party that proposes more was to get the project Saifullah proposed Rs. 330,000/month while Waste Busters proposed 400,000/per month. Committee decided that Waste Busters should get it. Guess what happened after 14 days, ANwar Saifullah became Minister and CDA again some what cancelled the project! Under such conditions there is no win-win situation!


  • Raja Aslam

    Here is the alarming news, Appeared in daily ‘THE NATION’ Islamabad on 5th January 2007 about the Kuri landfill project;

    Capital Development Authority (CDA) has adopted stubborn attitude over landfill project only to consume 2.5 billion rupees that it has got for this project. On the other hand Alternative Energy Board offered CDA waste to energy project through that 60 to 70 MW electricity could be generate from dump of twin cities Rawalpindi and Islamabad. But CDA is reluctant to this project, as we all know that Pakistan have the energy crises and WAPDA has recently announced load shedding to meet this crises.

    According to an official Alternative Energy Board has given a brief presentation on waste to energy plant by to the CDA chairman Kamran Lashari on 6 th December and asked CDA to drop the land fill project and utilize the dump in the waste to energy project.

    This project is totally cost free to the CDA, on the other hand CDA is going to consume 2.5 billion rupees in landfill project, which is not environmental friendly project. A number of problems can occur from landfill operations. These impacts can vary fatal accidents, infrastructure damage, pollution and contamination of groundwater and/or aquifers by leachate and residual soil contamination after landfill closure, injuries to wildlife and simple nuisance problems ( e.g., dust, odor, vermin, or noise pollution).

    On the other side the waste to energy plant will help to overcome the energy crises in the country, as daily 10-14 thousand tones waste is produced from twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and if this waste is utilized for the waste to energy plant than we can get 60-70 MW electricity.

    An official told The Nation that, Kamran Lashari is very much in favor of waste to energy plant but some other officials are creating hurdles.

    Under Pakistan Engineering Council Act 1975 such landfill project only can be undertaken by engineering department, but CDA while violating this act handed over this project to the sanitation department from engineering department.

    If CDA utilize the entire dump in waste to energy project than Waste will be sorted into biomass (organic waste), and inorganic waste for recycling.

    If CDA use this process than there will be no need for Landfill sites that pollute the land, damage the environment and spoil the surroundings for the local population

    The waste to energy plant will provide many benefits such as; the Methane Gas will generate electricity for sale to WAPDA on long-term contracts.

    Capacities of 0.3-10MW are most appropriate and depend only on the volume and type of waste available.

    Landfill and combustion are the most damaging waste treatments for the environment and its inhabitants. This wholly biological solution removes landfill and combustion schemes, producing organic fertilizer and power

    The efficient collection and sorting and biological processing of waste, prevents the extensive use of landfill currently prevalent in Pakistan

    Closed Cell Utilization of the CO2 ensured minimum damage to the Ozone layer, as per Kyoto principles and guidelines and the collection area benefits from a significant reduction in waste related disease and carriers such as birds and rodents.

    Pressure on the public health system is significantly reduced as demonstrated in other countries

    The collection and sorting of wastes gives local unskilled people will get the employment opportunities

    Sewerage will be directed to HiRAD Reactors and is processed into clear water.

    Each MW of capacity requires 15 HiRAD Reactors i.e. a 3.5MW plant would require 55 HiRAD Reactors, 600MT biomass per day and a land area of 2-3 Hectares.

    According to the Alternative Energy Board’s presentation Funding is available both overseas and in Pakistan to invest in such profitable, but eco-friendly schemes, either alone or as a Private Public Investment

    Long-term contracts with WAPDA along with a favorable tariff guaranteed by the Alternative Energy Development Board should ensure sufficient ROI on these projects.

    Availability of MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a member of the World Bank) risk insurance, adds security and comfort on the safety of the investment.

    When Mustafain Kazmi, Director Sanitation CDA, contacted by The Nation in this regard he said that the proposal of Alternative energy board is under consideration, on the same time he was of the point of you that “we are waiting for NOC from Pak-EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as soon as we get that we will start landfill project, because we are fully prepared”.

  • oracle

    Hey guys,

    Just like all other fields Pakistan has no proper policy. On one side CDA is saying that they are considering WTE options on the other hand they have signed MoU with Saif group for compost plant (News, 10 Jan, 2007)… I wrote earlier Saifs are going to get it but at least this time they offered higher than their initial…

    all the best to genius CDA people!


  • oracle

    I am writing in reference to special edition of Nawa-e-waqt newspaper published on 9 January 2007 on CDA‒s Kuri Landfill Project. This report was prepared by Mr. Zahid Hasan Chughtai. I don‒t know who briefed him about facts mentioned in that report but most of them were awfully wrong! I am an environmental engineer living abroad and am expert in Solid Waste Management for developing countries. I have several international publications and projects. I will write very briefly about the said article.

    Following points were very wrong:

    1. Waste quantity: It was highlighted that Rawalpindi-Islamabad city was producing 14 thousand tonnes of waste per day. This figure is very wrong. Considering that total population of Rawalpindi is about 3.5 million and that of Islamabad is not more than 1.0 million, total population comes to be 4.5 million. If they produce 14,000/tonnes of waste each day that means per person waste production should be 3.11kg per capita per day. Just note that Karachi is producing 7,500/tonnes of waste per day. Per capita waste in the USA is 3.0 kg while in Europe it is 1.5 kg, in India it is about 300-450grammes while for Pakistan it is 500-600 grams per capita per day. This amount includes all types of wastes produced in the city. Therefore Rawalpindi-Islamabad cannot produce more than 2,700/tonnes of waste per day and municipalities in Pakistan are generally (except Islamabad) are collecting only 40-60% of the produced waste.

    Therefore all assumptions to produce 30 Mega Watt of energy from 14000 tonnes of daily waste are wrong! Besides Pakistan‒s waste is not very suitable for producing energy.

    2. Landfill and water seepage: Please note that although landfill is an old technique it has been developed so much that now it is known as Engineered Landfill. Landfills are very different from wild dumps where there is a danger of water seepage. In landfill there are membranes and seepage water collection system thus there is no threat to under ground water table if properly designed landfill is used. Further more if compost plant is added to landfill (which CDA is going to do) the life of landfill rises almost 5 times thus saying that landfill will serve for 25 years only was wrong, it will definitely serve for 70-100 years if compost plant operates.

    3. Pointing out that Rawat was better place or may be Margalla area, is another issue. But being visited that area in Kuri I consider it to be very suitable except that some very high officials were said to own adjacent lands to build their villas.

  • Robert Orr

    The waste figure for Rawalpindi is indeed wrong as the advert for LOI states 850tons per day, however “engineered”, “sanitary”, or any other name used to make landfill sound acceptable, does not make it the right solution to the problem. Waste in Pakistan is not somehow different from every other developing country and can indeed be used for WTE, to provide both Compost and gas for electricity generation.

  • oracle

    Sanitary Landfill is not very dangerous concept after all! Besides this game of economics, if you can produce energy and then sell it at feasible costs and have investment ready why not to go ahead? Concerning waste type the waste has very high moisture content and thus needs extra treatment. However if there is a compost plant prior to any landfill, I don’t think there would be major problem with the landfill.


  • Naseem Aziz

    Hello Members,

    There is good news! Rawalpindi Municipal Authorities are planning to adopt the modern approach to process their MSW, they intend to convert the garbage into Biogas and Compost

  • Robert Orr

    There is no excuse for creating landfill full stop! There are technologies that can turn ALL waste resources – Yes waste is a resource – into Energy and useful products. Landfill is a lazy way to deal with waste that needs investment to become useful. The ‘engineered’ landfill is often more costly (especially in land use) than creative processes to produce viable, saleable products. The combination of technologies to achieve a zero carbon outcome, should be the aim of every citizen charged with the care of our planet, for the benefit of our children and future generations. Incidentally high moisture content is just fine for AD solutions.

  • oracle

    Dear Naseem can you please give some more information about Rawalpindi municipality’s decision?


  • Imran Malik

    Pakistan needs a lot of things. It needs clean air, water, energy, fuel, health facilities, sewerage system and I can go on and on. Pakistan also has all the departments that need to provide these facilities. Use the innovations from around the world to provide these facilities while also safeguarding the environment. What Pakistan needs the most for every thing to work id leadership that has the backbone to do what is right for the country and people. Today the people running the country have a backbone to do the right thing for themselves.

  • Maria Khan

    Oracle,Robert orr and all Pakistan inculding the pakistani,
    MQM again set an example for all Pakistan, when Nazim of Karachi, invites The Minister of Trade, Phil Goff, New Zealand tolaunched a pilot “˜Waste to Energy’ project in Landhi, near Karachi, Pakistan. This Project bring substantial economic and environmental benefits to the people of Karachi. The methane from the waste would produce electricity for local use, or sale, supporting a power plant of 25-30 Megawatt. Up to 1400 tonnes of fertilizer could be produced a day, to improve soil fertility. This is a project that has all round benefits. It solves the pollution problem caused by animal waste, and has excellent prospects of being developed into a Clean Development Mechanism earning carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol.

    Its again MQM, who took the lead.

  • Oracle

    Good to know Maria, hope project will be a success. I was the one who managed the team that designed Pakistan’s first Garbage Transfer Station in Karachi back in 2004-5. Then what happened you know, a foreign company came and promised to put up bio gas plant at Behns Colony.. then came ADB promised to give grant of 800,000 dollars then some Belgium companies came to Islamabad and jeopardised Waste Busters project about compost in Islamabad, I hope this time it won’t be same. All the best for Karachi, who ever does.


  • Scott

    Waste to energy is all so do-able. For $50 million USD they could build a plant that would pay for itself in 2 to 3 years. We have built three of them to date and are seeking funding for several others.

    If they can get past the politics and greed, one would think they could find a way…

  • Yasir Raza

    Dear Mr. Oracle !

    I am an official from the Capital Development Authority and I was amazed to see such adverse remarks on such an environmental friendly project of CDA from the people who basically have NO information about the landfill & compost plant methodology, the characterization & composition of waste of Islamabad. The facts mentioned in the column were so not true and exaggerated. The author / columnist mentioned about UNDP’s out rightly rejected the Kuri Landfill site, I wonder WHEN UNDP gave such comments and WHY ON EARTH he did not came through the studies of independent organizations / agencies such as PCSIR & Earth Sciences Department of Quaid-e-Azam University in which they highly recommended the KURI site for establishment of Landfill Site & Compost Plant. It is important to mention here that the KURI site was selected from 11 Potential sites by a team of experts, specifically for this purpose under the Chairmanship of Federal Secretary Planning & Commission. As far as JICA’s concerns are concerned, let me clarify that the long term JICA Expert Mr. Narahara, specifically deputed for Pakistan, stationed at Pak-EPA not only endorsed the KURI site for the project but also declared as the most suitable site with regards to the permeability of Soil strata. JICA has been in continuous contact with the Capital Development Authority and 5 of our Officials have got Technical Training in Japan regarding Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Techniques and on Management & Construction of Landfill. Furthermore, for Cleaner Environment through improved solid waste management, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started their technical assistance / cooperation, started from September 2006 for a period of 30 Months.

    As far as Waste-to-Energy has concerned, let me inform that there is no example of any success of such plant in SAARC Countries. A similar kind of project was started in Lacknow, India and was failed badly as the Supreme Court of India ordered to stop the project with immediate effect. You can find related information on the Internet.

    The Sanitary Landfill of Islamabad has been designed as per US-EPA standards and has provision of laying of synthetic liner system to prevent seepage of leachate in the bed soil and Leachate Collection & Treatment Facility.

    I was very much impressed with your comments on the Landfill Project of Islamabad as you have very correct information about the project. It would be really great if i can have your contact number & Email address please, you can email me at I want to share views n waste to energy plants, their cost and feasibility for a developing country like Pakistan and some information regarding landfill & compost plant of Islamabad.

    Yasir Raza Khan
    Directorate of Sanitation
    Capital Development Authority, Islamabad.

  • Robert Orr

    The use of landfill should be a last resort as there is ALWAYS a better way to use waste. Quoting a failed project in Lucknow and an Indian ban is quite wrong. You have to identify between an incinerator and a natural biological solution such as anaerobic digestion(AD). (At the invistation of the Indian Govt we have started work on WtE in Mumbai and New Delhi).

    The truth of the matter is that in January 2007 CDA turned down the offer of a privately funded HiRAD AD plant, that would have produced 4mW and $1M pa for Islamabad in favour of a composting scheme bringing Rs48 Lacs pa.that as far as I know is still not started.

    Maria, you will be pleased to know that we are working with Empower of NZ and NEC of Karachi and have installed the Landhi Cattle Colony pilot HiRAD plant, which will be producing gas by July.The main project will prevent 7-8000 tons per day from being flushed onto the streets, fields and into the sea, and will transform the life, health and wealth of the citizens of Landi and Bin Qasim.

    Pakistan is a treasure trove of waste that can power the country, reducing oil import at $120/barrel. There are lots of renewable technologies such as waste heat recovery, RDF from MSW, AD, Wind, Geo-Thermal, Solar Thermal, Solar PV that could transform Pakistan from an energy deficient nation to a net exporter. The new government has a unique opportunity to transform Pakistan and I am proud to be part of this vital RE sector where Pakistan could become a world leader

  • Oracle

    Dear Yasir Raza Khan,

    Thank you for your comments. Is Mr. Narahara still in Islamabad I met him last time in year 2005. Concerning landfill site at Kuri in my opinion it was fine place except that it was surrounded by some influential people’s plots.

    I have left any interest in that project when CDA for the second time was forced to change its decision in favour of influential Saifs.

    I wish all is going well with Saifs, Prof. from Comsat and Ceres Associates.

    You can email me at

    How is Mr. Mustafain Kazmi?

    best regards

  • Robert Dalsanto

    Global Energy Management can provide a modular MSW Waste-To-Energy gasification/incinerator installed worldwide. 15 MW 250 tons per day facility available. we can provide any size facility between 2 MW and 100 MW. 800-584-4720 Robert engineering, prefabrication, shipping and installation

  • Mohammad Hayat

    I am interested in learning about converting waste to energy (gas / Electricity) on small scale which can be used by the folks in agri business. Increasing cost of Fuel and electricity is resulting in low productivity as well smaller profit margin for the farmers.

    Saadat Hayat

  • saifee

    We have several gas turbine power plants of 4 – 6 MW capacity in different parts of the country. We can convert these (total of app 50 MW) in to waste to energy power plants. Can some one guide me on this or can some give reference of companies who can take turn key project for setting up such a small size power plants in Pakistan?

  • Dr Noman F Qadir

    WtE is considered as waste of Energy and there is lot of resistance from International NGO and scientific community. GAIA, HCWH etc are some of the examples. It extends the current “artificial” life style of throwaway societies which has ruined the resources of the mother earth. It is against the law for linear Vs Circular economy. It will annihilate natural resources, within few decades only.

    Please try to maintain natural resources of earth. People do not want to come out of two options land fill Vs WtE. Both are bad options & choices.

    Dr. Noman

  • Robert Orr

    Dr Noman. Cheer up. Waste is inevitable and burying ones head in the sand is not an option. What is an option is to turn it into energy. There are of course better or worse technology options, but as an energy deficient, and waste excessive country, Pakistan has the answer to its most pressing problem – not terrorists – but Energy. Workers are very rarely radicals – those without employment become so. Without energy, Industry dies and jobs with it.

    Encouraging the use of waste for energy is a noble and eminently practical cause. Modern technologies such as Anaerobic Digestion and Gasification are clean, efficient and affordable IF manufactured locally. Technology transfer is vital and there are some companies -like ours – that believe imitation is a compliment and encourage it. (Better to lower the cost of technology and make sure competitors do the job properly, than see the technology dismissed as “failed” when they try to do it alone). Pakistan has, as I have stated publicly on a number of occasions, enough waste, and natural resources to provide all the energy needed for its static and mobile requirement.

    The Nation should reach for its own “low hanging fruit” rather than depend on oil imports.Combine these technologies with other 24/7 technologies such as Geothermal energy, and peak load providers such as solar and wind, and you have the perfect storm of energy generation. Go Pakistan!

  • oracle

    Islamabad’s CDA had a project about landfill development near Kuri road. However some ‘experts’ without technical knowledge about sanitary landfill opposed the project that it will pollute the Islamabad’s aquifer..what happened then? those experts got great appearances on tv and newspapers but who suffered at the end? The poor residents of Islamabad.. CDA was convinced (my guess only) about great WtE option and now all waste is dumped about 500 meters from G10 residential sector of Islamabad right in the middle of aquifer… cheer up


  • Robert Orr

    Hi Oracle.
    Yes, you are right thats its bad to see waste dumped indiscriminately, but the landfill was never going to be as good as Waste to Energy. The problem is of course that those who have the funds to make W2E a reality are not the same people as those who have the knowledge how to do it.

    Getting any project off the ground in Pakistan is excruciatingly difficult, mainly because businessmen have not yet realized that the old culture of putting no capital down, and using oversize bank loans for projects does not work anymore. Many of the old projects failed as they were too heavily borrowed to ever become sustainable.(hence huge bank loan write offs).
    If those withe the funding got off the fence and put capital into serious RE projects, the sector would be seriously profitable and load shedding would be reduced.

    Hopefully circular debt in the IPP industry is starting to be removed, and this should encourage more participants.

    Anyway, back to landfill. Don’t blame W2E, there have been many offers on the table, try looking deeper into why those offers were refused or discouraged, and why those who were keen, left to work in other places than the Capital.

    My own offer was rebutted in favour of a compost plant that never saw the light of day. I’m a great compost fan, but not at the cost of energy, especially when you can have both.

    Pakistan deserves, and eventually will get, better.

  • oracle

    Dear Robert,

    I don’t blame WtE projects but I blame the inconsistency in government policy towards this issue? Did you participate in Rawalpindi’s WTE bid? Faislabad’s is also now open.

    stay safe

  • oracle

    Robert, I might be visiting Pakistan in early May 2010, if you are also around Islamabad/Karachi we may meet.

  • Dr. Noman F Qadir

    Dear All respected Colleagues,

    With all due apologies, I do not agree with WTE (Waste to Energy) projects. In fact they are waste of Energy, they are basically against the sustainable consumption, usage, disposal patterns, waste natural resources, opposite of recycling etc. All EU / USA countries / states are going for 75% + Recycling, pay for waste etc. We are being forced to accept obsolete technologies.

    Please visit GAIA (Global Anti Incineration Alliance) websites, Health care without harm etc for more information. This is the wrong / obsolete Technologies which will be asking us to follow high waste producing old lifestyle, will fix the municipalities to divert all wastes to WTE with no chances of composting, recycling etc. In addition, we do not have the infrastructure to measure heavy metals, dioxins etc in the waste stream. If anyone is interested, I can share a power point presentation from Prof Paul Connett (my email address nfqadir[AT] )on this issue. Anyone can google search for Sustainable lifestyle, consumption & Production, minimization of municipal solid waste etc to get more information. I can also share dozens of projects of WTE being rejected in the west, EU, USA, Canada if interested.

    Dr. Noman F Qadir

  • Robert Orr

    Dear Dr Noman,
    We must not confuse W2E with incineration, which you are correct is almost impossible to gain planning permission for in EU<UK and most US states,and rightly so.
    Modern W2E includes
    1) Anaerobic Digestion, where does indeed produce fertilizer and energy.
    2) Torrefaction which produces a solid fuel with a calorific value often around 50% of coal but that can directly replace it with no modifications. Alternatively it can be use as Biochar (Terra Preta) for soil amendment
    3) Gasification which produces a syngas for energy, and an aggregate substitute.

    You are 100% right, Reduce, Recycle, Re-use is the correct strategy, and the Re-use is the stage at which energy production should be considered.

    No sensible business is going to look at the old fashioned incinerators you refer to, but it is very important to differentiate between good and bad technologies, that carry the same Waste to Energy heading.

    As far as heavy metals identification is concerned, there is equipment to do this and most industrial waste is not only monitored but mined for the recovery of many of these valuable substances.

    You have to remember that Pakistan has a very efficient informal "scavenger " recycling system, so that by the time the waste reaches any kind of landfill- official or not, the contents are mainly organics in plastic bags, building rubble and green waste.
    Low paid scavengers know the value of Metals, hard plastic, glass which are already removed and re-used, I might add to a much higher percentage than US, UK or EU.

    Best regards
    Robert Orr

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