Biomass for renewable energy production in Pakistan: current state and prospects

  • Muhammad Yaseen
  • Farhat AbbasEmail author
  • Muhammad Bilal Shakoor
  • Aitazaz A. Farooque
  • Muhammad Rizwan
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Implications of Biochar Application to Soil Environment under Arid Conditions


Energy security and environmental problems are important factors behind the increasing biomass consumption around the world including the lower-income countries such as Pakistan. To utilize local biomass reserves more efficiently in the context of future energy demand, the possession of knowledge about recent energy system in different sectors of the country has become interestingly important. A few initiatives and technologies are currently under process in order to move towards renewable resources from non-renewable resources and minimizing dependency on fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In recent past, some ideas have been developed for sustainable biofuel production which will make sure a rapid shift from an unsustainable attitude towards a potentially sustainable approach. Hence, in this review, detailed data about the potential of biomass for the production of renewable energy in Pakistan have been presented, keeping in view the recent energy mix and future perspectives. The feasibility of local/indigenous biomass reserves and important conversion methods to transform such biomass reserves to bioenergy has also been discussed. Here, we also highlighted the drivers for consumption of local/indigenous biomass reserves in future energy system along with the challenges related to energy systems among various stakeholders. Finally, the suggestions/recommendations on the government policies and future directions for successful implementation of the energy production from local/indigenous biomass resources have been given which could be sufficient to meet increasing energy demands of Pakistan.


Biomass Bioenergy Energy resources Residues 



The authors are thankful to Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan.


  1. Ahmed S, Mahmood A, Hasan A, Sidhu GAS, Butt MFU (2016) A comparative review of China, India and Pakistan renewable energy sectors and sharing opportunities. Renew Sust Energ Rev 57:216–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akhtar J, Amin NS (2012) A review on operating parameters for optimum liquid oil yield in biomass pyrolysis. Renew Sust Energ Rev 16:5101–5109. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ali SH, Zuberi MJS, Tariq MA, Baker D, Mohiuddin A (2015) A study to incorporate renewable energy technologies into the power portfolio of Karachi, Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 47:14–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ali G, Bashir MK, Ali H, Bashir MH (2016) Utilization of rice husk and poultry wastes for renewable energy potential in Pakistan: an economic perspective. Renew Sust Energ Rev 61:25–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Prairie YT, Alm J, Beaulieu J, Barros N, Battin T, Cole J, Harrison J (2018) Greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater reservoirs: what does the atmosphere see? Ecosystems 21(5):1058–1071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Anke K, Hawbodlt K (2016) Blends of Pyrolysis oil, Petroleum and other bio-based fuels: A review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 59:406–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Angeline AA, Jayakumar J, Asirvatham LG et al (2017) Power generation enhancement with hybrid thermoelectric generator using biomass waste heat energy. Exp Thermal Fluid Sci 85:1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Arshad A, Zakaria M, Junyang X (2016) Energy prices and economic growth in Pakistan: A macro-econometric analysis. Renew Sust Energ Rev 55:25–33. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Arslan M, Zaman R, Malik RK (2014) Impact of CNG load shedding on daily routine: A study of Pakistan. SSRN Electron J.
  10. Bhattacharya S, Abdulsalam P (2002) Low greenhouse gas biomass options for cooking in the developing countries. Biomass Bioenergy 22:305–317. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bridgwater A (2003) Renewable fuels and chemicals by thermal processing of biomass. Chem Eng J 91:87–102. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Butt S, Hartmann I, Lenz V (2013) Bioenergy potential and consumption in Pakistan. Biomass Bioenergy 58:379–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Canabarro N, Soares JF, Anchieta CG, Kelling CS, Mazutti MA (2013) Thermochemical processes for biofuels production from biomass. Sustain Chem Process 1:22–10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carrier M, Hugo T, Gorgens J, Knoetze H (2011) Comparison of slow and vacuum pyrolysis of sugar cane bagasse. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 90:18–26. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carrier M, Hardie AG, Uras Ü et al (2012) Production of char from vacuum pyrolysis of south-African sugar cane bagasse and its characterization as activated carbon and biochar. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 96:24–32. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coyle ED, Simmons RA (2014) Understanding the Global Energy Crisis. Purdue University Press e-books 2014Google Scholar
  17. Cunado J, Gracia FPD (2005) Oil prices, economic activity and inflation: evidence for some Asian countries. Q Rev Econ Finance 45:65–83. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Danish M, Naqvi M, Farooq U, Naqvi S (2015) Characterization of South Asian Agricultural Residues for Potential Utilization in Future ‘energy mix.’. Energy Procedia 75:2974–2980. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Demirbas A, Arin G (2002) An overview of biomass pyrolysis. Energy Sources 24:471–482. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dincer I (2000) Renewable energy and sustainable development: a crucial review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 4:157–175. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ding LC, Meyerheinrich N, Tan L et al (2017) Thermoelectric power generation from waste heat of natural gas water heater. Energy Procedia 110:32–37. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] (2015) Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. EPA 430-R-14-003. Accessed in January 2020 from
  23. Edenhofer O, Pichs-Madruga R, Sokona Y, Seyboth K, Kadner S, Zwickel T, Eickemeier P, Hansen G, Schlömer S, von Stechow C, Matschoss P (2012) Renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  24. FBS (2002) Pakistan statistical year book-2002: federal Bureue of statistics (FBS). Pakistan: Government of PakistanGoogle Scholar
  25. Freedman B, Pryde EH, Mounts TL (1984) Variables affecting the yields of fatty esters from transesterified vegetable oils. J Am Oil Chem Soc 61:1638–1643. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gangadhara R, Prasad N (2016) Studies on optimization of transesterification of certainoils to produce biodiesel. Chem Int 2:59–69Google Scholar
  27. Ghafoor A, ur Rehman T, Munir A, Ahmad M, Iqbal M (2016) Current status and overview of renewable energy potential in Pakistan for continuous energy sustainability. Renew Sust Energ Rev 60:1332–1342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Global status report (2012) REN21 - Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. Accessed in January 2020 from
  29. Gondal IA, Masood SA, Khan R (2018) Green hydrogen production potential for developing a hydrogen economy in Pakistan. Int J Hydrog Energy 43(12):6011–6039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gonzalez-Salazar MA, Venturini M, Poganietz W-R et al (2016) Development of a technology roadmap for bioenergy exploitation including biofuels, waste-to-energy and power generation & CHP. Appl Energy 180:338–352. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. GOP (2006) Pakistan economic survey 2005–06. Islamabad,Pakistan: Economic Advisers Wing, Ministry of Finance; 2006Google Scholar
  32. GoP [Government of Pakistan] (2013) The Causes and Impacts of Power Sector Circular Debt in Pakistan, Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad. Accessed in January 2020 from
  33. GOP (2015) Economic survey of Pakistan 2014–15. Ministry of Finance, Government of PakistanGoogle Scholar
  34. Gopalakrishnan G, Cristina NM, Snyder SW (2011) A Novel Framework to Classify Marginal Land for Sustainable Biomass Feedstock Production. J Environ Qual 40(5):1593–1600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Goyal H, Seal D, Saxena R (2008) Bio-fuels from thermochemical conversion of renewable resources: A review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 12:504–517. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hassan MU (2002) Biogas technology to light up villages in Pakistan: Karachi Dawn science-dot-com magazine. 14: 6-7Google Scholar
  37. HDIP (2014) Pakistan energy yearbook 2014. Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP)Google Scholar
  38. Hiwot T (2017) Determination of oil and biodiesel content, physicochemical properties of the oil extracted from avocado seed (Perseaamericana) grown in Wonago and Dilla (gedeo zone), southern Ethiopia. Chem Int 3:311–319Google Scholar
  39. Holdren JP (1991) Population and the energy problem. Popul Environ 12:231–255. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hornung A, Apfelbacher A, Sagi S (2011) Intermediate pyrolysis: a sustainable biomass-to-energy concept – biothermal valorisation of biomass ( BtVB ) process. J Sci Ind Res 70(August):664–667Google Scholar
  41. IEA [International Energy Agency] (2016) World energy outlook 2016. International Energy Agency, ParisCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. IUCN [The World Conservation Union] (2002) Environmental Issues. Land, Fuel- wood. Available at;accessed on 03 January 2020
  43. International Energy Agency (Iea) International Energy Agency (Iea) (2014) Sustainable Energy for All 2013–2014: Global Tracking Framework Report. doi:
  44. Imran M, Amir N (2015) A short-run solution to the power crisis of Pakistan. Energy Policy 87:382–391. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Iqbal MA, Iqbal A (2014) Sugarcane Production, Economics and Industry in Pakistan. American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci 14(12):1470–1477Google Scholar
  46. Iqbal T, Dong CQ, Lu Q, Ali Z, Khan I, Hussain Z, Abbas A (2018) Sketching Pakistan's energy dynamics: prospects of biomass energy. J Renew Sustain Energy 10(2):023101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Jones HB, Ogden E (1984) Biomass energy potential from livestock and poultry wastes in the southern United States. Biomass 6:25–35. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kebelmann K, Hornung A, Karsten U, Griffiths G (2013) Intermediate pyrolysis and product identification by TGA and Py-GC/MS of green microalgae and their extracted protein and lipid components. Biomass Bioenergy 49:38–48. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Khan FB, Ahmed A (2018) Prioritization of various renewable energy resources for Pakistan using analytical hierarchy process. Science 37(4):184–194Google Scholar
  50. Khan MI, Yasmin T (2014) Development of natural gas as a vehicular fuel in Pakistan: issues and prospects. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 17:99–109. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Khan AN, Begum T, Sher M (2012) Energy crisis in Pakistan: causes and consequences. Abas J Soc Sci 4(2):341–363Google Scholar
  52. Korai MS, Mahar RB, Uqaili MA (2016) Optimization of waste to energy routes through biochemical and thermochemical treatment options of municipal solid waste in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Energy Convers Manag 124:333–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kugelman M (2015) Pakistan’s Interminable Energy Crisis: Is there any way out? A publication with a collaborative effort between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Asia Program and the Fellowship Fund for Pakistan. pp 166. Accessed in January 2020 from
  54. Kumar A, Kumar K, Kaushik N et al (2010) Renewable energy in India: current status and future potentials. Renew Sust Energ Rev 14:2434–2442. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kumar A, Negi YS, Choudhary V, Bhardwaj NK (2014) Characterization of cellulose nanocrystals produced by acid-hydrolysis from sugarcane bagasse as agro-waste. Mater. Chem. Phys. 2(1):1–8Google Scholar
  56. Kumaravel S, Murugesan A, Kumaravel A (2016) Tyre pyrolysis oil as an alternative fuel for diesel engines – A review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 60:1678–1685. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Larson ED, Kartha S (2000) Expanding roles for modernized biomass energy. Energy Sustain Dev 4:15–25. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Limayem A, Ricke SC (2012) Lignocellulosic biomass for bioethanol production: current perspectives, potential issues and future prospects. Prog Energy Combust Sci 38:449–467. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. MNPR [Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources] (2015) Monitoring and Evaluation Report – July to (2015) Accessed in January 2020 from
  60. Ma F, Hanna MA (1999) Biodiesel production: a review1Journal series #12109, agricultural research division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.1. Bioresour Technol 70:1–15. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mahmood AS, Brammer JG, Hornung A et al (2013) The intermediate pyrolysis and catalytic steam reforming of brewers spent grain. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 103:328–342. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mahmood A, Javaid N, Zafar A et al (2014) Pakistans overall energy potential assessment, comparison of LNG, TAPI and IPI gas projects. Renew Sust Energ Rev 31:182–193. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Mckendry P (2002) Energy production from biomass (part 1): overview of biomass. Bioresour Technol 83:37–46. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Mirza UK, Ahmad N, Majeed T (2008a) An overview of biomass energy utilization in Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 12:1988–1996. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Mirza UK, Ahmad N, Majeed T, Harijan K (2008b) Hydropower use in Pakistan: past, present and future. Renew Sust Energ Rev 12:1641–1651. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Mirza S, ur Rehman H, Mahmood W, Qazi JI (2017) Potential of cellulosic ethanol to overcome energy crisis in Pakistan. In Frontiers in Bioenergy and Biofuels (Eds. Jacob-Lopes L and Leila Queiroz Zepka L), online book Published on January 25th 2017, pp. 207. Google Scholar
  67. Mussatto SI, Dragone G, Guimarães PM, Silva JP, Carneiro LM, Roberto IC (2010) Technological trends, global market, and challenges of bio-ethanol production. Biotechnol Adv 28:817–830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Naqvi M, Dahlquist E, Yan J (2016) Complementing existing CHP plants using biomass for production of hydrogen and burning the residual gas in a CHP boiler. Biofuels 8:675–683. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Naqvi M, Yan J, Dahlquist E, Naqvi SR (2017) Off-grid electricity generation using mixed biomass compost: A scenario-based study with sensitivity analysis. Appl Energy 201:363–370. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. NEPRA (2014) National Electric Power Regulatory Authority [state of industry report 2014]. Government of Pakistan; 2014Google Scholar
  71. Nisar J, Razaq R, Farooq M, Iqbal M, Khan RA, Sayed M, Shah A, Rahman IU (2017) Enhanced biodiesel production from Jatropha oil using calcined waste animal bones as catalyst. Renew Energy 101:111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Niven RK (2005) Ethanol in gasoline: environmental impacts and sustainability review article. Renew Sust Energ Rev 9:535–555. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. NREL (2006) National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Innovation for our energy future; 2006. Available at: 〈
  74. NREL (2015) GeoSpatial toolkit. National Renewable Energy Laboratory; 2015Google Scholar
  75. Nunes L, Matias J, Catalão J (2016) Biomass combustion systems: A review on the physical and chemical properties of the ashes. Renew Sust Energ Rev 53:235–242. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Oscar JS, Carlos AC (2008) Trends in biotechnological production of fuel ethanol from different feedstock. Bioresour Technol 99:5270–5295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Ouerghi A, Heaps C (1993) Pakistan household energy strategy study (HESS)In Household energy demand: consumption patterns. Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)Google Scholar
  78. Ozturk I (2010) A literature survey on energy–growth nexus. Energy Policy 38:340–349. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Ozturk I, Aslan A, Kalyoncu H (2010) Energy consumption and economic growth relationship: evidence from panel data for low and middle income countries. Energy Policy 38:4422–4428. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Pakistan Economic forum III (2015) Draft report. The Pakistan Business Council; 2015.Available at 〈
  81. Pakistan Energy Yearbook (2014) Primary Energy Supplies by Source. Accessed in January 2020 from
  82. Pei-Dong Z, Guomei J, Gang W (2007) Contribution to emission reduction of CO2 and SO2 by household biogas construction in rural China. Renew Sust Energ Rev 11:1903–1912. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Jacob Jørgensen Peter (2009) Biogas–green energy, 2nd ed.. Digisource Danmark A/SGoogle Scholar
  84. Greg Phal (2008) Biodiesel: grouping a new energy economy, 2nd ed. White RiverGoogle Scholar
  85. Pramanik K (2003) Properties and use of jatropha curcas oil and diesel fuel blends in compression ignition engine. Renew Energy 28:239–248. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Raheem A, Hassan MY, Shakoor R (2016a) Bioenergy from anaerobic digestion in Pakistan: potential, development and prospects. Renew Sust Energ Rev 59:264–275. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Raheem A, Abbasi SA, Memon A, Samo SR, Taufiq-Yap YH, Danquah MK, Harun R (2016b) Renewable energy deployment to combat energy crisis in Pakistan. Energy Sustain Soc 6(1):16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Rashid N, Rehman MSU, Han J-I (2013) Recycling and reuse of spent microalgal biomass for sustainable biofuels. Biochem Eng J 75:101–107. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Rauf O, Wang S, Yuan P, Tan J (2015) An overview of energy status and development in Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 48:892–931. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Raza W, Hammad S, Shams U, Maryam A, Mahmood S, Nadeem R (2015) Renewable energy resources current status and barriers in their adaptation for Pakistan. Bioprocess Chem Eng 3:1–9Google Scholar
  91. Rehman MSU, Rashid N, Saif A et al (2013) Potential of bioenergy production from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa): Pakistan perspective. Renew Sust Energ Rev 18:154–164. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Sarkodie SA, Strezov V (2019) Effect of foreign direct investments, economic development and energy consumption on greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Sci Total Environ 646:862–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. SBP (2015) Import payments by commodity. State Bank of Pakistan - Statistics and Data Warehouse Department, Government of PakistanGoogle Scholar
  94. Schuchardt U, Sercheli R, Vargas RM (1998) Transesterification of vegetable oils: a review. J Braz Chem Soc.
  95. Shakeel SR, Takala J, Shakeel W (2016) Renewable energy sources in power generation in Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 64:421–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Sheikh MA (2009) Renewable energy resource potential in Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 13:2696–2702. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Sheikh MA (2010) Energy and renewable energy scenario of Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 14:354–363. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Singh R, Shukla A (2014) A review on methods of flue gas cleaning from combustion of biomass. Renew Sust Energ Rev 29:854–864. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Singh N, Kumar A, Rai S (2014) Potential production of bioenergy from biomass in an Indian perspective. Renew Sust Energ Rev 39:65–78. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. State Bank of Pakistan (2015) Balance of payment. Accessed in January 2020 from
  101. Stevens SH, Moodhe KD, Kuuskraa VA (2013) China shale gas and shale oil resource evaluation and technical challenges. SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and ExhibitionGoogle Scholar
  102. Tan Z, Lagerkvist A (2011) Phosphorus recovery from the biomass ash: A review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 15:3588–3602. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Tan Z, Chen K, Liu P (2015) Possibilities and challenges of China′s forestry biomass resource utilization. Renew Sust Energ Rev 41:368–378. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Thornley P, Upham P, Huang Y, Rezvani S, Brammer J, Rogers J (2009) Integrated assessment of bioelectricity technology options. Energy Policy 37:890–903CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Tripathi M, Sahu J, Ganesan P (2016) Effect of process parameters on production of biochar from biomass waste through pyrolysis: A review. Renew Sust Energ Rev 55:467–481. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Uddin W, Khan B, Shaukat N, Majid M, Mujtaba G, Mehmood A et al (2016) Biogas potential for electric power generation in Pakistan: A survey. Renew Sust Energ Rev 54:25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Valasai GD, Uqaili MA, Memon HR, Samoo SR, Mirjat NH, Harijan K (2017) Overcoming electricity crisis in Pakistan: A review of sustainable electricity options. Renew Sust Energ Rev 72:734–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Vladmimir FK, Lavrenov VA, Larina OM, Zaichenko VM (2016) Use of Two-stage pyrolysis for Bio-waste Recycling. Chem Eng Transact 50:151–156Google Scholar
  109. Wang Y, He T, Liu K, Wu J, Fang Y (2012) From biomass to advanced bio-fuel by catalytic pyrolysis/hydro-processing: Hydrodeoxygenation of bio-oil derived from biomass catalytic pyrolysis. Bioresour Technol 108:280–284. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. World Bank (2015) Pakistan development update Washington, DC. ©World Bank. 〈 License: CC BY3.0IGO; 2015
  111. World Energy Council (2016) World Energy Resources | 2016. Accessed in January 2020 from
  112. Yildiz G, Ronsse F, Duren RV, Prins W (2016) Challenges in the design and operation of processes for catalytic fast pyrolysis of woody biomass. Renew Sust Energ Rev 57:1596–1610. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Yaseen
    • 1
  • Farhat Abbas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Muhammad Bilal Shakoor
    • 1
  • Aitazaz A. Farooque
    • 2
  • Muhammad Rizwan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringGovernment College University FaisalabadFaisalabadPakistan
  2. 2.Faculty of Sustainable Design EngineeringUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada

Personalised recommendations