Sugarcane Ethanol as an Alternate Fuel Source for Pakistan



World economic order seems to be threatened by the unexpected and unimaginable rise in the prices of crude oil in international market in recent months. From $78 per barrel, it has touched its all time high mark in history ie $145 per barrel. About 100% increase in crude oil in a short span of a few months has exposed the economies of the third world countries to a near collapse. There are very solid fears doing the round in the international market that a time may soon come when oil prices would rise to $200 per barrel. If it happens, as is very likely given the recent trends, it would prove to be a last nail in the coffin of tottering economies of developing countries in particular. The world has not yet forgotten the adverse impact that oil embargo caused around the globe in 1970s.

Given the strategic importance of oil as engine of national growth, there are fears that multiple crises would emerge with potential of provoking violent conflicts and civil wars. Allied to the energy crisis is the global crisis of food shortages as identified by the United Nations as the latter has corresponding effect on the former. The communiqué adopted at the recently-concluded D-8 Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) testifies to the importance of a concrete and timely action in order to overcome these dual crises. Held under the theme of "meeting global challenges through innovative cooperation", the D-8 conference urged the international community to take action to tame spiralling oil prices and vowed to collaborate to develop alternative fuels and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

There is a need for a joint response to these crises at the level of UN. The world community needs to pool their mental and physical resources together in a bid to lessen its dependence on oil by exploring alternative sources of energy to meet the rising energy needs for a long-term solution. Short-term solution should focus on decreasing consumption of oil, increasing its production, finding solutions to conflicts involving oil-rich countries like Iran and Iraq and breaking the monopoly of a select few to the detriment of entire humanity.

One of alternative sources of energy, which is currently being explored with great amount of success, is the use of sugarcane ethanol. Brazil has become a household name so far as use of sugarcane ethanol is concerned. This book Sugarcane ethanol as an alternate fuel source for Pakistan is a research paper that looks at the possibility of use of this source for Pakistan. Pakistan is a developing country and has huge dependence on oil for its progress and growth. So if it has to keep its momentum of progress intact, it would have to look for alternate fuel sources. Sugarcane ethanol is one such source. This author has tried to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the subject. I have painstakingly looked at all facets of sugarcane ethanol. Pakistan has mainly an agrarian economy and its sugar industry can be a mainstay to generate ethanol fuel if some corrective steps facing this industry are taken.

I am hopeful that this research work may prove to be helpful in understanding the subject from holistic point of view. What really adds to its utility is the fact that it is getting published at such a time of dire need. To cap it all, it can also lay the foundation-stone for future study of the subject.

Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri
July, 2008

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