While alternate energies such as solar and wind are becoming increasingly important by the day, fossil fuels still have an important place in the energy mix and will continue to do so in foreseeable future. In this post, we compare the reserves of three most important fossil fuels and their total value as per market rates at the moment amongst the top ten producers of the world.
|Oil (billion barrels)
|Gas (trillion cubic feet)
|Coal (billion tons)
|Value (trillion dollars)
Iran Pakistan Gas Pipeline
From a regional perspective it is important to note that two of Pakistan's neighbors namely Iran and China have substantial reserves of oil, gas and coal. Iran is in fact number one as far as proven reserves of natural gas are concerned and fourth in the world in oil reserves. However, large production of fossil fuels has been hampered by the sanctions imposed on Iran by USA and EU.
It is expected that once these sanctions are removed Iran will have a greater role to play in the international market of fossil fuels. It must also be noted that work is under progress on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline, which will bring natural gas from Iran to the cities of Pakistan. Iran has completed most of the work on its side of the border but work is slow on the Pakistani side.
Source: Business Insider
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a procedure to convert used lead acid batteries from automobiles into solar panels with the help of a solar power company. A single battery can be used to produce solar panels for as many as 30 homes. It must be noted that with the advancement in solar battery technology it is expected that 200 million lead acid batteries will be retired soon from USA alone. This development shows us a way forward to reusing a huge resource of lead that would otherwise go to dumping sites.
A material that is making this possible is organo lead halide perovskite. A layer of perovskite only 1/2 a micrometer thick is enough to produce a solar panel and does not require a very high manufacturing process like for other silicon based solar panels. One might think that this is another experimental material that achieves an efficiency in single digits. But this is hardly the case. In just a few years of research perovskite based solar cells have achieved efficiency of more than 19%. It is expected by the end of 2014 the efficiency would cross the psychological barrier of 20%.
1 Battery Provides Solar Panels for 30 Homes
Perovskite (source: Wikipedia) is a calcium titanium oxide mineral species composed of calcium titanate, with the chemical formula CaTiO3. The mineral was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia by Gustav Rose in 1839 and is named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski (1792–1856).
It lends its name to the class of compounds which have the same type of crystal structure as CaTiO3 known as the perovskite structure. The perovskite crystal structure was first described by Victor Goldschmidt in 1926, in his work on tolerance factors. The crystal structure was later published in 1945 from X-ray diffraction data on barium titanate by Helen Dick Megaw.
Efficiency of a solar panel is the ratio of the electrical energy produced to the incident solar radiation e.g. a 20% efficient solar panel of 1 m2 area would produce 200 W when the incident solar radiation reaches a level of 1000 W/m2 .
First Solar, America's Solar giant is poised to invest in Pakistan's Alternate Energy sector after starting a 45 MW Solar project in Indian state of Telangana. First Solar has a worldwide installed capacity of 8 GW and was ranked no. 1 in Forbes list of 25 fastest growing technology companies in USA. The 45 MW project to be launched in Telangana will be operational by May of 2015 and would sell electricity at a rate of $0.106/kWh. India currently has an installed Solar capacity of 2900 MW which will be ramped up to 9000 MW by 2017.
According to some estimates Pakistan is facing an energy shortfall of around 4600 MW and government is quite keen to start new projects, be it Solar, Hydel or Thermal. Pakistan has set a target of 5% of energy to be generated from Alternate Energies by 2030. This is quite a conservative target and might actually be achieved before 2030, especially with the new initiatives such as the 1000 MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park to be operational by end 0f 2016. It is hoped that with a stable government and sustained policies in the coming years the Solar Energy sector would prosper and Pakistan would achieve its targets much before 2030.
First Solar Inc. an American manufacturer of thin film Photovoltaic (PV) modules announced that it has achieved a record efficiency of 21% for its CdTe Solar Cells. The previous best achieved by the company was 20.4% in Feb of 2014. The record has been accepted by US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and included in "Best Research Cell Efficiency" reference chart. First solar aims to achieve an efficiency of 22% by 2015.
Thin Film Solar Panels
Note: Efficiency of a Solar Cell is the ratio of the Electrical Energy produced to the incident Solar Energy e.g. if the incident Solar Radiation is 1000 W/m2 the Electrical Energy produced by a 21% efficient Solar Panel of 1 m2 area is 210 W (neglecting the various losses that might be encountered).