Power resources are the assets of a country which it utilizes for various functions among which is the generation of electricity.
Power resources can be classified as:
- Renewable energy resources
- Non-renewable energy resources
There are even sub-topics when it comes to this chapter. Everything will be discussed therefore, let’s dive into the topic straight away.
Non-renewable power resources:
Coal is a non-renewable energy resource and there are different aspects of this topic. The most important one being its location. Where is coal located in Pakistan?
Well, there are a lot of regions in Sindh and Balochistan that are rich in coal and other resources. For instance, Tharparkar coal find located in the Thar desert (Sindh) has 16th-largest coal reserves in the world.
There are various methods to mine coal. The most important one’s are:
- Adit mining
- Shaft mining
- Open-pit mining
Let’s look at these mining methods in detail.
In adit mining, you need to remember the word, “horizontal”. This is because this type of mining is horizontal or almost horizontal by definition.
This horizontal digging is to ensure proper movement and ventilation so that the coal can be mined. However, this is not an easy task due to poor ventilation and other factors, several deaths have been reported over the past few years.
In shaft mining, the miners dig down vertically (straight down the mountains). This digging is continued until the desired depth is reached from where coal can be extracted.
The miners move through the mine with the help of an elevator or a lift installed. Similarly, coal and other materials are also transported out of the mine in the same way.
The open-pit mining, also known as the open cast mining, can be a bit complicated. Let me make it very simple for you.
This is one of the most difficult forms of mining and this causes the death of several miners throughout the year. When the reserves are found near the surface of this, this method (which involves cutting and blasting) is used.
The exact location of the coal is determined and then, it is extracted by digging and blasting.
Transportation and uses of coal:
In Pakistan, there are different ways of transporting coal. The coal is first moved out of the mine through donkey carts mostly.
After that, it is loaded onto trucks and other vehicles from where it is sold to the middleman.
You should also know the uses of coal. Firstly, coal is used to produce electricity as it produces massive heat upon burning.
This fossil fuel is very important is pharmaceutical industries as it is a raw material for many products. Coal has many domestic uses as well as it is used for heating and cooking purposes.
The different qualities of coal have different uses. For example, anthracite is coal of very good quality. Therefore, it is used in steel mills (such as Pakistan Steel Mill) because they require a massive amount of heat.
Anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous, lignite and peat are some types of coal. Anthracite is rarely found in Pakistan because deep extraction is required to mine this type of coal.
Oil is also a non-renewable energy resource, which means that its reserves will exhaust out one day.
The most important topic is the extraction of crude oil and its transportation. To extract the crude oil, it is located first and when the geologists are sure about the presence of oil, the process starts.
The oil well is formed by digging a deep hole into the earth with the help of an oil rig. After that, a steel pipe (casing) is arranged in the hole, to give structural integrity to the recently drilled wellbore.
Then, holes are then made in the bottom of the well to allow the oil to pass into the bore.
This takes us to a very important topic on how the oil is then transported. When the oil moves to the pipeline, it is transported from that pipeline to the refinery where it is refined.
One oil refinery in Pakistan is Attock oil refinery which is located in Pipri near Karachi.
Moreover, other modes of transportation include containers (for locals) and ships (when oil is imported). All the three modes have their advantages and disadvantages based upon their reliability, speed and threat.
Uses of Oil:
Mineral oil has many uses. Some of them are:
- It is used as a fuel in vehicles such as cars.
- It is used for lubricating purposes to lubricate the parts of a machine to reduce friction.
- It is used in many industries as a raw material such as pharmaceutical industries.
- It is burned to produce energy and is also used for heating and cooking purposes.
Natural gas is extracted by drilling as well. There are massive reserves of natural gas in Pakistan. The provinces such as Balochistan and Sindh have reserves of natural gas that can be very useful if utilized fully.
Sui and Pirkoh in Balochistan and Kandkot and Mari in Sindh are some of the regions.
The natural gas collected can be transported through pipelines and containers as LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) is transported.
The uses of natural gas include thermal power production. Moreover, it is used in houses for heating and cooking purposes. It is used as a raw material in many industries such as the cement industry and fertilizer industry.
Natural gas is environmental friendly, cheap and easy to use.
Advantage and Disadvantage:
The advantage of using natural gas is that it is cheap and easy to use as mentioned above. There are reserves in Pakistan and its extraction can help solve the issue of power shortage (and import cost can go down).
The disadvantage is that it is a non-renewable energy resource and therefore, it will run out one day. It is also dangerous as it can explode.
Renewable energy resources
This renewable energy method uses sunlight (heat energy) to convert to produce electricity.
What happens is that the photovoltaic cells convert the sunlight into electrical energy. One more method is that the sunlight is focused on one point upon the water which boils and then steam is released. This steam turns turbines and therefore, electricity is produced
The advantage of this method is that it is very feasible for a country like Pakistan which has more than 300 sunny days in a year in different parts. So, massive electricity can be produced. This method is also safe and environmentally friendly.
The disadvantage is that it cannot operate during the night and rainy seasons. Moreover, regular maintenance of the instalment has to be done.
Hydroelectric Power (HEP):
This method involves the movement of turbines by water to produce electricity. The water moves down the mountainous slopes when glaciers melt and with the high pressure of the water, the turbine moves.
The turbine converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy.
The advantage of this method is that it is environmentally friendly and it does not cause pollution. Other advantages and disadvantages are mentioned below:
- It is feasible for a country like Pakistan which has melting glaciers and extreme rainfall towards its north.
- It does not cause pollution.
- However, the method requires a massive initial investment and the maintenance cost is also high.
- Although the setup causes employment, the local tribes oppose these government measures due to various reasons.
In this method, wind turbines use wind energy and produce electricity. What happens is that the pressure from winds turns the turbine which converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy.
The method requires the setup of large number of wind turbines and it can only satisfy the needs of a particular area where it is setup.
Another disadvantage includes that the wind turbines may produce little or no electricity without wind. Therefore, this method is highly dependent and we have better alternatives to this method; such as solar power.
Wind turbines may hurt the ecosystem by killing the birds that may come in contact with the wings of the wind turbine.
However, it does not cause pollution and the setting of wind turbines can lead to job opportunities.
Biomass and Biogas:
Biomass refers to the organic material from animals and plants which can be heated to produce electricity. The steam produced can be used to turn the turbine that converts kinetic energy into electrical energy.
Biomass can be converted to biogas that is burnt as fuel or utilised to create both heat and electricity. The advantage is that it is a renewable form of energy and it can help to fulfill rural demands of electricity.
However, the burning may lead to the release of toxic gases and the method can lead to diseases as it is highly unhygienic.
Geothermal and Nuclear energy:
In geothermal, natural topography is used to generate electricity. What happens is that hot water springs are forced out of the ground. The steam moves the turbine which produces electricity.
- This method is rarely practised in Pakistan.
- The method requires skilled labour and tools.
- There are better alternatives than this method.
However, it is renewable and does not causes air pollution.
When it comes to nuclear energy, it is simply the energy produced by nuclear fission or fusion. This method produces a great amount of energy which can satisfy the needs of the people.
However, its waste remains remains radioactive for many years.
With this, the topic of power resources notes has come to an end. Thank You very much for reading the topic and staying with me till the end.
Do not forget to practise past papers regarding this topic as it is a very frequently asked topic.