Renewable energy for sustainable Bangladesh

Energy availability shapes the fates of civilization in the 21st century. At presents, the world faces severe problem for energy crisis and environmental deterioration. The trends of increasing energy consumption will be continuing in future. Energy and environment are highly intertwined. The use of fossil fuels is now accepted as unsustainable greenhouse gas (GHG) effects on the environment. Exploitation of renewable energy and sustainable energy is one of the effective solutions to this problem. At presents, our Bangladesh is facing high electric power shortage that almost stop our developments. Only about 32% of the population has access to electricity and 6% to natural gas. The situation is even worse in the rural area, only 22% of the population has electricity and no gas supply. Even more, our fossil energy storage is also limited, and it will be over in near future. For the production of electricity and run a various factory, Bangladesh’s crude oil consumption has increased radically: The country imports 3.5-4.0 million tons of petroleum and petroleum products per year that spent about $ 5 million in 2011 which is 10% more expensive compared to 2000. Taking into account the trend of economic growth, Bangladesh’s strong dependence on foreign oil cannot be mitigated in the future without developing self-dependent alternatives.

The renewable energy sources including Biomass, hydropower, solar, wind and tidal energy need to build up. As our knowledge windmills are with capacity of 2 MW and 230 MW hydroelectricity in operation in the coastal area of Bangladesh. Its carry huge demands and facility to install mini and micro level hydro-electric power plant in the hilly areas and ocean for facing increasing demands of energy, Though the mainland, is not in a favourable position in respect of hydroelectricity for the country is being flat. Bangladesh is suitable for solar energy because it receives an average daily solar radiation of 4-6.5kWh/m2. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and several NGO’s are engaged in promoting solar energy in Bangladesh though all the modules are imported.

Bangladesh produces huge grain and agricultural residues. Due to lack of economically viable technologies for their utilization, most of the agricultural residues are burnt in the field farmers and in village area women uses for cooking purposes, which pollutes environments. But it may be the largest energy sources in terms of commercial and non-commercial sources in developing country like Bangladesh if we can take proper scientific steps. Produce biofuel, bioenergy and biobased chemicals through the lignocellulosic biomass has been acknowledged worldwide as an oil refinery science the oil crisis occurred in the 1070s. It has also recently been highlighted because of high oil prices and global climate change by the over-consumption of petroleum-based products, particularly vehicle emission.
Today’s article I have focused shortly various bioenergy regards to Bangladesh. I have plan write details on this area in future. In my future article, I shall tell more about second and third generation biofuel; I carry practical experience in this area. I have the plan to focus on the controversy on biofuel in Bangladesh, as well as existing bioenergy policy of Bangladesh and its limitation, and necessary of partnership among Government, NGO’s and the private sector. In our future article, I have also plan to focus success and failure of bioenergy projects implemented in the past in Bangladesh as well as potential and barriers for the commercialization of improved bioenergy technologies.

Biofuel may be categorized as first generation biofuel (biogas, vegetable oil, biodiesel, alcohol, methanol), second generation biofuel is generated from waste biomass and third generation biofuel generated from algae.

Biogas is a popular source of energy and generated from solid and liquid waste in small scale and medium scale. Biogas may be the most promising renewable energy resources. Currently, there is about 50, 000 households and villages- level biogas plant are placed throughout the country. According to the Institute of Fuel Research and Development (IFRD) there is the potential of about four million biogas plants in our country. According to an estimate, 29.7 billion m3 of can be obtained from the livestock of the country which is equivalent to 1.5 million tons of Kerosene (principal fuel in the rural area). Apart from this, it is also possible to get biogas from human excreta, poultry dropping, waste, marine plants etc. If each family of Bangladesh can be associated with a biogas plant, then only human excreta will give about 10 billion cubic m3 biogas. Along with the city garbage status, this number will be bigger. Several countries including China have developed a series of residential facilities successfully manufactured and marketed for proper production and various use of biogas. Operational management plays a key role in biogas process. Government support, public awareness is very important for the rapid growth of this emerging sector.

Biodiesel is a liquid fuel produced from soybean, palm, sunflower, cotton seed, rapeseed etc and used for automobile energy. The source of vegetable oils is almost same as biodiesel with the exception of Jatropha (may be the future biofuel plant in Bangladesh), Mahua and Pongamia plats. Bioalcohols and methanol are produced from wheat, corn, sugar beets, sugar cane, molasses, potato, and fruit waste. Second generation biofuel is made from waste biomass. Third generation biofuels are generally made from algae which are low –input and can be farmed on a massive scale because we have a vast water land for production of algae. Algae can also recycle carbon dioxide that may protect our environment. Second and third generation biofuel is far away to production in Bangladesh due to lack of proper policy, expertise, and investment.

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