Biofuel Potential in Pakistan

Topics: Biofuel, Biodiesel, Ethanol fuel Pages: 26 (9596 words) Published: April 20, 2013
Bio-fuel Industry in Pakistan
Analysis of Pakistani Industries

This report aims to present a detailed overview of biofuels and also aims to highlight the potential for developing bio-fuels based on the vast agricultural resources available to Pakistan.

Omer Butt
Institute of Business Administration, Karachi


This report aims at critically analyzing the Biofuels industry and the extent to which research is being conducted to develop biofuels that would be economically and environmentally viable to produce on a large scale while also offering a more cost effective alternative to fossil fuels consumed industrially, to partially enable economic growth in the longer run. This report highlights in greater detail specific aspects of biofuels, namely their types; (in not much detail at all) their methods of production; the problems involved in pursuing interests of the sort; a comparative SWOT analysis between biofuels and conventional fossil fuels; and a detailed analysis of the competitiveness of the biofuels industry, benchmarking a particular world leader in bioethanol production, Brazil through Porter’s Diamond Model and developing an understanding of the resources Pakistan has that can enable long-term economic growth through greater investment in this sector with interests lying in a specific type of biofuel that has shown immense potential through recent extensive research in the second generation biofuel (namely Algea fuel) by certain developed countries.

The concept of Biofuels was first introduced by Henry Ford and has been around for as long as cars have, since the advent of the 20th century. Ford planned to fuel his Model Ts with ethanol, and early diesel engines were shown to run on peanut oil. But discoveries of huge petroleum deposits kept gasoline and diesel cheap for decades, and biofuels were largely forgotten. However, with the recent rise in oil prices, along with growing concern about global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions, biofuels have been regaining popularity. Much of the gasoline in the United States is blended with a biofuel—ethanol. There are various ways of making biofuels, but they generally use chemical reactions, fermentation, and heat to break down the starches, sugars, and other molecules in plants. The leftover products are then refined to produce a fuel that cars can use. Countries around the world are using various kinds of biofuels. For decades, Brazil has turned sugarcane into ethanol, and some cars there can run on pure ethanol rather than as additive to fossil fuels. And biodiesel—a diesel-like fuel commonly made from palm oil—is generally available in Europe. On the face of it, biofuels look like a great solution. Cars are a major source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas that causes global warming. But since plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, crops grown for biofuels should suck up about as much carbon dioxide as comes out of the tailpipes of cars that burn these fuels. And unlike underground oil reserves, biofuels are a renewable resource since we can always grow more crops to turn into fuel. Unfortunately, it's not so simple. The process of growing the crops, making fertilizers and pesticides, and processing the plants into fuel consumes a lot of energy. It's so much energy that there is debate about whether ethanol from corn actually provides more energy than is required to grow and process it. Also, because much of the energy used in production comes from coal and natural gas, biofuels don't replace as much oil as they use. For the future, many think a better way of making biofuels will be from grasses and saplings, which contain more cellulose. Cellulose is the tough material that makes up plants' cell walls, and most of the weight of a plant is cellulose. If cellulose can be turned into biofuel, it could be more efficient than current biofuels, and emit less carbon dioxide.

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