ISLAMABAD - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has established collaboration with leading American and British universities to undertake joint research projects for effective use of natural and renewable sources available in the country to resolve energy crisis.

The prevailing energy crisis faced by the country was playing havoc with lives of common citizen and chocking the industrial development and the economy of the country.

Experts are of the view that as a result of energy crisis, the once sustained GDP growth rate of around 6% is now at below 2 per cent. HEC has decided to join hands with Ministry of Planning and Development to work on ways to lessen the energy crisis and would also organise a major research conference with the support of the ministry on the subject.

HEC under assistance of USAID is currently establishing Centres of Advanced Study and Research on Energy at both National University of Science and Technology NUST and the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar.

While a number of energy specific projects have been undertaken by the universities with leading American universities under the Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Programme.

These projects include Total Solution Based Organic-Inorganic Solar Cells for Enhanced Efficiency and Stability between the University of Delaware USA and Government College University Lahore, Life Style Improvement of Villages in FATA Using Renewable Energy between the SEI USA and NUST and The Use of Renewable Energy to benefit Gilgit Baltistan region between North Dakota University USA and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Pakistan.   

Similarly a number of projects have been undertaken with the British universities under the International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education (INSPIRE) including Developing Water Turbines for Electric Power Generation between the University of Southampton and NUST, Increasing the Efficiency of Wind Energy Systems between Cambridge University UK  and Air University Islamabad , Building Indigenous Capabilities for Thar Coal Development between the University of Nottingham UK and Mehran University of Engineering and Technology and Co-Combustion of Pakistani Coal and Biomass in Pilot Scale Combustors between the University of Leeds UK , and Pakistani Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Mehran University, University of Punjab and International Islamic University Islamabad.

Through the joint project between the University of Cambridge and Air University, a micro-machined sensor, the first of its kind in the world, is being developed which would enable wind turbines to function more effectively under local wind terrains, and would also allow the direct measurement of the performance of both gas and wind turbines.

Other Pakistan universities including Agriculture University of Faisalabad and University of Gujrat have done successful experiments on production of bio gas and green energy while the Islamia University of Bahawalpur is going to adopt solar as sole source of energy soon.

The Agriculture University of Faisalabad is not only closely working with Punjab government for formulation of energy policy but also implementing capacity building on use of alternative energy. The university is also going to introduce degree program on energy from this academic year.

Commenting on these programs, Chairperson HEC  Dr. Javaid R. Laghari said that the goal of the HEC is to develop local expertise and indigenous technology for effective use of natural and renewable sources including coal, water, wind and solar through strong collaborations with research groups in leading foreign universities.

These projects have also vast potential for commercialization.  National and international power companies and the Government of Pakistan itself would be the main users of this technology.

He underlined need to develop more indigenous scientific manpower, research facilities and education infrastructure in Pakistan to tackle the energy related issues through collaborative research. 

Dr Laghari also assured that HEC would continue to work closely with the government to share the expertise of higher education sector in order to resolve various socio-economic challenges being confronted by the country.