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Climate, Energy & Water Research Institute (CEWRI)

Alternative Energy in Agriculture Program
CAEWRI- NARC, Islamabad


Increasing energy cost is becoming a serious issue in agriculture. Due to high cost of diesel and electricity and frequent shutdown of electricity, pumping of groundwater has become uneconomical. Solar, wind, and bio fuels are the alternate energy sources that can help overcome this issue. Climate Change, Alternate Energy and Water Resources Institute (CAEWRI) of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Islamabad has taken initiative to explore the application of alternative energy sources to combat energy crisis, particularly in pumping of irrigation water. Demonstration units of different sizes of Solar Pumping Systems and Biogas operated tubewells have been installed at following research stations:

a. National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), Islamabad

b. Arid Zone Research Institute(AZRI), Bahawalpur, Punjab

c. Arid Zone Research Institute(AZRI),Umerkot, Sindh

d. Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI), D.I. Khan, NWFP. 


  1. To supplement energy requirements in agriculture through identification and evaluation of potential avenues of tapping renewable energy resources;

  2. To develop and adapt technologies for harnessing alternate energy sources (with emphasis on biogas, solar and wind) for use in agriculture; and,

  3. To diffuse knowledge and technologies so developed among the stakeholders by involving local industry.

  4. To conduct energy auditing of alternate energy production and consumption systems.

PARC Initiatives in Alternative Energy Sources

  • Environment friendly biogas digesters

  • Integrated biogas production and slurry management

  • Cost-affectivity of alternative energy sources for pumping water

  • Compression, purification and bottling of biogas

  • Operation of gas/diesel/patrol engines on biogas

  • Solar powered drip irrigation system

  • Wind powered pumping system

  • Techno-economic analysis of the pumping systems operated by alternative energy sources for comparison and adaptation.

Biogas Technology

The Biogas Technology offers an efficient way of biomass utilization. It involves anaerobic fermentation of organic materials such as animal dung, agricultural wastes, aquatic weeds etc. to produce methane rich fuel gas and a value added organic fertilizer. Thus, it has considerable potential for providing fuel and fertilizer besides being an efficient system for recycling waste for prevention of pollution, ecological imbalance and improvement of sanitary conditions in the rural areas.It has become imperative to make use of indigenous, low cost and renewable sources for pumping water for agriculture. Biogas is one of the potential energy sources of farmers. The challenge is how to use it for pumping water for crops? The process requires easy and effective handling of the production of gas, its purification and transportability to the point of use for cost-effective running of the existing prime movers of the pumps. The challenge is to maintain sustainability in production and keep the process environment friendly.

Biogas Potential in Pakistan

As per livestock census 2006, there are 59 million animals (buffaloes and cows,) in Pakistan. On the average, the daily dung dropping of a medium-size animal is estimated as 10kg/day. This would yield a total of 590 million kilograms of dung per day. Assuming 50 per cent collectability, the availability of fresh dung comes to 295 million kg per day. Thus 9 million cubic meters of biogas per day can be produced through bio-methanation. Since 0.4 m3 gas could suffice the cooking needs of a person per day, therefore 9 million m3 of biogas could meet the cooking needs of 22.5 million peoples. The total population of Pakistan is about 170 million, out of which 70 per cent (119 million) resides in the rural areas. Therefore, we can meet about 20 per cent cooking requirements of the rural masses from biogas alone, besides producing 42.77 million kilograms of bio-fertilizer per day or 15.6 million tons of bio-fertilizer per year.

Development of Biogas Plants

Two types of biogas digesters; fixed dome 35 m3and floating type 22 m3capacities are developed. Local industries were involved to develop polyethylene UV stabilizer biogas digester with above 20 years life. The average biogas production was 13 m3/day in June and 3 m3 in February in fixed dome digester. While in floating type digester, biogas production was 6 m3/day in June and 2 m3/day in December.

Use of Biogas for Water Pumping and Electricity Generation

A 16 hp diesel engine was connected to a 7.5 kw generator, was used for pumping ground water and generating electricity at a time. It was observed that average fuel consumption in one hour operation through diesel was 1.5 liters. When same engine, operated on dual fuel mode (Diesel + biogas), consumption diesel was 0.56 liters combine with 2 m3 biogas. Around 62% of diesel saved during one hour operation on dual fuel mode.

Biogas Compression, Purification and Storing Technology

PARC scientists have developed techniques to compress and store biogas at medium pressure (between 2 and 200 psi). Local industries were involved to develop biogas scrubbing system. By removing CO2 the biogas is upgraded to natural gas (Sui Gas). PARC has developed a technique that easily removes CO2 and H2S. The water based Biogas scrubber is easy to operate and which it does not use any chemical or complex machinery

Solar Powered Drip Irrigation System

Solar photovoltiac submersible pumps ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 hp and 1.5 to 3.5 liter/sec capacities coupled with controller and PV modules of 1200 to 2880 watts have been installed at at five locations; NARC and Satamile Islamabad; Bahawalpur, Punjab; Ummerkot, Sindh; and D. I. Khan, KPK. Three acres orchard of high density fruit plants are developed through drip irrigation systems coupled with solar powered pumping systems.

Wind Energy for Water Pumping

Pakistan has a considerable potential of wind energy in the coastal belt of Sindh, Balochistan, as well as the desert areas of Punjab and Sindh. A 02 KW wind generator is installed at Ummerkot, Sindh and hybireded with solar pumping system to irrgate three acre orchard with drip irrigation system.Average wind speed in project area from April to May is suitable for harvesting wind energuy for pumping water as indicted in table.While windmill has Capacity to pump water22- 30 liters per minute from 95 feet depth. Operation of wind mill depends on velocity of wind and discharge is directly proportional to wind velocity.



Resource Person:

Engr. Abdul Wahab Siyal

SSO / Program Leader

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Climate Change, Alternate Energy and Water Resources Institute (CAEWRI),
National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC),
Park Road, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad – Pakistan
Ph. No. 051-8443635, Cell No. 0300-9881627, Fax No. 051-9255074


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