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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/rser

Fuel cell technology for sustainable development


in Pakistan An over-view
Rizwan Raza a,b,n, Nadeem Akram a, Muhammad Sufyan Javed a,c, Asia Raque a,
Kaleem Ullah a, Amjad Ali a, M. Saleem a, Riaz Ahmed c
a
Department of Physics, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore 54000, Pakistan
b
Department of Energy Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
c
COMSATS Headquarter, Islamabad, Pakistan

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Fuel cell technology holds the combination of benets, which are barely offered by any other energy gen-
Received 3 March 2015 erating technology. Because the fuel used in this technology is found in abundance in nature and can also be
Received in revised form renewed/sustained. Pakistan is blessed with renewable energy resources which are suitable for fuel cell
25 May 2015
technology. Therefore, fuel cell technology offers a great opportunity to meet the demand of energy and for
Accepted 21 August 2015
the sustainable development of Pakistan. The energy research group at COMSATS Institute of Information
Technology (CIIT), Lahore has made efforts to study the technical aspects of fuel cell technology and its
Keywords: commercial benets. The research group is interested in nding ways and means of generating and storing
Renewable energy the energy produced by using fuel cells. In this paper, the research activities on fuel cell technology in
Sustainable development
Pakistan have been reviewed and it is also discussed how this technology can resolve the current energy
Hydrogen fuels
crises in Pakistan and can be the source of sustainable energy. It has been also reviewed that the country
Fuel cells
Electrodes would greatly benet from fuel cells and fuel cell hybrid system (environmental friendly technology), which
could be the best solution for electricity production as well for automobile industry.
& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450
2. Vision of political entities for renewable energy technology in Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
3. Fuel cells and its basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 452
3.1. Types of fuel cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 452
3.2. Applications and advantages of fuel cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 453
4. Fuel cell technology in Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 454
5. Challenges and recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458
6. R&D culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 458
7. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459
Appendix A. Supplementary material. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 460

1. Introduction future planning of energy based infrastructure [2,3]. Pakistan is


basically an agricultural country with ve major rivers owing all
The world is gradually moving towards serious power crises the year across the country starting from the north with several
due to increase in the demand of energy [1]. Currently, Pakistan is inter-river linked canals and many seasonal canals based on
facing worst energy crisis due to its growing population and poor monsoon rainfall [4]. These rivers and link canals offer several

n
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: razahussaini786@gmail.com (R. Raza).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2015.08.049
1364-0321/& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461 451

locations where run-of-water power plants and water-reservoirs (RET) and FC technology. The major ruling party PML(N) is
can be built. However, the power generation from hydel sources emphasizing on holistic science and technology strategy. In addi-
and construction of new water reservoirs has been ignored during tion to the exploration of conventional power resources and
last 35 years [5]. Mostly, the emphasis has been on short-term nuclear energy resources, the government has shown interest in
solutions by installing thermal power plants [6]. development and usage of non-conventional energy resources
Thermal power plants use fossil fuels for power generation for including wind, solar, biomass and renewable energy from FC
which fuel is imported to Pakistan. The energy produced from the technology. Several R&D organizations and higher education
imported fuel offers a very expensive solution which a developing institutes have responded to the exploration of the cheap and
country like Pakistan cannot afford [7]. Power plants using nuclear alternative resources of energy. CIIT Lahore campus has proposed a
energy have also been constructed but with a little capacity [8]. center for FC technology and submitted a comprehensive proposal
These thermal power plants pose a potential environmental threat which is under approval. Beside this, many under-graduate, post-
which is also ignored. The principal sources of energy generation graduate and Ph.D. students have also been involved in FC related
in Pakistan are oil (35.20%), hydel (29.90%), natural gas (29.00%), research areas e.g., materials for low temperature FC, high tem-
and nuclear and imported (5.80%) [9]. perature FC, fuel exible FC, direct carbon FC, bio FC and FC hybrid
Currently, in Pakistan, the demand for energy is 17,000 MW on system.
the average while the shortfall is 40005000 MW [9]. It is The FC technology has a variety of application ranging from
expected that energy demand could rise by 45% in the coming 10 stationary power plants to portable energy consumption [18,19].
years, which is about 1500 MW [9]. The predicted energy demand Internationally, different countries are focusing on FC based
and supply in Pakistan for the years 20022030 are shown in energy sources and FC technology is successfully launched in dif-
Fig. 1. The reasons for this disastrous prediction are lopsided ferent countries like Sweden, UK, Japan and USA. Also, India has
energy mix, lack of vision for utilization of indigenous fuel spent billions of dollars on fuel cell and hydrogen energy research
reserves and poor future energy planning infrastructure. Gas and educational programs. In USA, FC system/stack has been
reserves have been depleted almost and prices of imported oils are developed which can be integrated with hydrocarbon fuels like
rising expeditiously which cannot be afforded [10]. Recently, a gasoline and diesel etc., due its operational temperature range
large number of coal reservoirs have been discovered in central 500800 C. In FC technology different type of fuels are used e.g.,
parts of Pakistan and continuous efforts have been made to get air, hydrogen gas, biogas, natural gas etc. [20,21]. The abundantly
energy using coal [11]. The usage of fossil fuels especially the found fuel in nature and variety of applications of FC technology
carbon in power generation is not environment friendly. On the makes it a prime candidate to provide a great revolution for the
other hand, renewable energy sources offer cheaper solution and sustainable development of Pakistan. The use of FC technology
are also environmental friendly [12,13]. must be extensively explored as it offers cheaper alternatives to
Pakistan has to face challenges with proper energy planning conventional and expensive power sources.
with the use of renewable energy resources [14]. Therefore, beside In this contribution, a comprehensive overview of FC technol-
focusing on such conventional energy sources, there is a need to ogy and its applications is proposed to advance this technology
explore non-conventional energy sources e.g., solar power, hydel through research and development, particularly in Pakistan. This
power, geothermal, wind power, tidal, and biomass using fuel cell work is highly desired because of its value and utility for the
(FC) technology [15,16]. FC technology offers certain benets general public. By starting from the basics of different types of fuel
which no other energy generating technology can offer [17]. cells, the advantages and usefulness of diverse applications of FC
In Pakistan, there are about 90 R&D organizations and 130 technology has been briey discussed. FC integrated hybrid sys-
higher education institutes offering higher education and research tem, FC based polygeneration systems and the potentials of dif-
[14]. However, due to certain economical factors exploration of ferent renewable energy resources in Pakistan are also presented.
alternative energy resources has been overlooked. The current The status and involvement of different research institutes and
government of Pakistan is focusing on the economic revival by higher education universities in developing FC technology in
promoting the R&D culture with a special priority to the energy Pakistan is also discussed. At the end, certain challenges which are
production. To give direction to R&D in Pakistan, a National being faced to implement FC technology for sustainable develop-
Research Agenda has been proposed. This agenda has targeted the ment of Pakistan is described and several recommendations have
certain key research areas including renewable energy technology been suggested which can help in solving these challenges.

120 120
2. Vision of political entities for renewable energy technology
in Pakistan
100 Supply 100
Demand
Pakistan is blessed with several renewable energy resources in
Demand (x1000 MW)
Supply (x1000 MW)

80 80 abundance like wind, solar, hydel, biomass, tidal, geothermal, bio-


fuels, etc [2225]. These can be a prolic choice to not only combat
60 60
the current crisis but also for fullling our energy needs for the
-growth of industries, socio-economic and development in mod-
ern technologies [26]. In general, energy sources can be grouped as
40 40 renewable sources and non-renewable sources, as shown in Fig. 2.
The shortfall of the energy has the potential to hinder the
20 20 economic growth of Pakistan and, therefore, different political
parties have proposed policies to solve the energy crisis. In the
general election of 2013, major political parties put the solution of
0 0 energy shortage as the top priority in their manifestos [27]. Paki-
2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020 2024 2028 2032
stan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) which currently holds the
Years
central/federal government is interested to create Ministry of
Fig. 1. Pakistan power sector need for reforms [77]. Energy by merging the Ministries of Water & Power and Petroleum
452 R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461

is fed continuously from the outside whereas in the lead accu-


mulator, chemicals are stored in the chamber which can be
recharged through external sources of electricity [29]. In FCs, some
renewable fuels, e.g., hydrogen gas, natural gas, biogas etc., are
being used. It is renewable, because it is abundantly available in
the universe and thus can be renewed and replenished without
any end. The hydrogen can be obtained from water and many
other sources. Hydrogen is also available in sufcient quantities in
the earth's atmosphere which also contains oxygen [30]. These
two elements are used in the working of a fuel cell, where they
combine to produce heat, electricity, and water in the form of
vapors [31].
A fuel cell usually contains two porous electrodes that are
separated by a dense electrolyte/membrane. A catalyst, usually
platinum is employed to accelerate the process. Hydrogen and
oxygen are fed at anode and cathode respectively and oxidation
process takes place at the anode in the presence of a catalyst in
such a way that hydrogen splits into electron and proton. Both
charge carriers are now pushed, off course through separate
routes, towards the cathode and electrons travel along an external
path through a load whereas the protons through the electrolyte
where they recombine with oxygen to produce water and heat
[3132]. The basic fuel cell working principle is illustrated in Fig. 3.
In 1839, Sir William R. Grove proposed that if electricity can be
used to split water then it can also be possible to produce elec-
tricity by using hydrogen and oxygen in a reverse process. In 1889,
Carl Langer and Ludwig Mond proposed the term 'fuel cell'. In
1932, a fuel cell was made that employed nickel electrodes and
alloys as electrolytic material using used oxygen and hydrogen as
fuel. In 1959, a complete system capable of producing 5 kW elec-
Fig. 2. The classication of available energy resources in Pakistan [78]. tricity was launched [3135].
We may need to consider reactions taking place at each elec-
& Natural Resources. It proposes the reformation of National trode separately for understanding, how the reactions between
Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), abolishment of cir- hydrogen and oxygen generate an electric current and where the
cular debt, rationalization of energy tariffs, consensus to construct electrons come from. The basic function of fuel cell is based on the
projects of hydel power and development of renewable/sustain- chemical reactions [36] as follows:
able energy resources [27]. Pakistan People's Party Parliamentar- At the anode, hydrogen splits into proton and electron in the
ians (PPPP) propose to encourage the foreign investment in the presence of catalyst,
energy sector, development of hydro-power generating plants by
2H2 4H+ + 4e
persuading private and public sector sectors and exploration of
new areas for natural gas supply [27]. The energy policies of At the cathode, the proton and electron recombine with oxygen
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are to focus on the indigenous to produce water,
energy sources like coal, hydel, wind and solar power as an
O2 + 4H+ + 4e 2H2 O
alternative to the expensive thermal power generation at afford-
able rates to an average citizen; and also to improve the energy Thus, the overall reaction is:
generation efciency, its transmission and distribution by re-
2H2 + O2 2H2 O
constructing Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
[28]. Another political party Awami National Party (ANP) is also
interested to implement the use of non-conventional energy
resources for power generation on wider scale [27]. In short, all 3.1. Types of fuel cells
political parties have shown interest to explore and encourage the
alternate energy sources. All these policies for the utilization of The fuel cells are generally categorized by the type of electro-
sustainable energy resources exist only in proposals and so far lyte material. There are many types of electrolytes that can be used
nothing is implemented practically. However, there is a high need in developing a fuel cell. A number of fuel cells have been devel-
to harness these renewable energy resources in actual practice, oped and can be listed as Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell
especially through FC technology for the sustainable development (PEMFC), Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC), Molten Carbonate Fuel
of Pakistan. Cell (MCFC), Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC), Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC),
Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC), ZincAir Fuel Cell (ZAFC) and
Regenerative Fuel Cell (RFC) [3139]. The solid electrolyte has
3. Fuel cells and its basics many advantages because it does not allow the corrosion and its
handling is also easier in comparison to liquid electrolytes [3139].
A standard fuel cell converts chemical energy into electrical Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells use Naon/Teon
energy very efciently without combustion. In this respect, it is as membranes, which allow protons to pass through them. Both
like a lead accumulator, a commonly used battery. However, there sides of the membrane are coated with platinum or its alloy that
are basic differences in the working of the two devices. In FC, fuel acts as a catalyst. The electrolyte consists of poly-perourosulfonic
R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461 453

Fig. 3. General concept of fuel cell working (PEMFC).

acid also named as polytetraouro ethylene which is a solid The electrolyte used in direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) is
polymeric material. The working temperature of these cells ranges similar to that used in PEM fuel cell. However, its working is dif-
from 60 to 80 C. The power density of such cells is quite high [33] ferent from PEM in the sense that the catalyst at anode draws the
and electrodes are made from platinum coated on carbon. Plati- hydrogen directly from the liquid methanol and hence it does not
num is an expensive material and increases the cost of the cell. require a fuel reformer to obtain hydrogen form methanol. Its
In phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), concentrated phosphoric operating temperature is also low in comparison to some other
acid is used as an electrolyte. Electrodes are made from platinum cells. It works quite efciently over a temperature range of
or its alloys that also serves as a catalyst. The cell can work 50100 C [3135].
satisfactorily over a temperature range extending from 150 C to The regenerative fuel cells are a sort of closed-loop system for
220 C [3135]. producing electricity from water. In fact, it would be a great
Molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) uses a liquid solution of achievement if human being could utilize water as a future fuel for
lithium, sodium or potassium carbonates as an electrolyte. The meeting its fuel requirements. In this cell, a solar electrolyzer
operating temperature of this cell is about 650 C as the carbonate separates the water into hydrogen and oxygen which are supplied
electrolyte provides good conductivity at high temperature to the fuel cell, which produces electricity along with water. The
[3135]. same process is repeated again and again by sending water back to
In solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), solid material is used as an solar electrolyzer through a closed loop arrangement [3135].
electrolyte. Typical materials for electrolyte in SOFC include solid In zincair fuel cell (ZAFC), a gas diffusion electrode system is
zirconia along with small amount of ytrria, samarium doped ceria, used. The gas diffusion electrodes are porous membrane through
and gadolinium doped ceria etc. This type of fuel cell is suitable for which atmospheric oxygen is allowed to pass. This oxygen is
generating electric power with capacity of hundreds of megawatts transformed into hydroxyl ions and water. This hydroxyl ion pas-
at large scale. Such systems are modular, reliable, and fuel adap-
ses through the electrolyte to reach at the zinc anode to convert it
table with low emission of harmful gases (NOx and SOx). SOFC
to zinc oxide. As a result of this reaction, a potential difference is
stack systems are also considered suitable as local power genera-
created and a large number of such cells can be arranged in either
tion systems for rural areas without access of public grids. Fur-
series or parallel set up, to provide required value of voltage and
thermore, they have high efciency, low noise, long-term stability
current for any application [3135]. A Comparison of Fuel Cell
and low costs of maintenance [37]. The operating temperature is in
Technologies is summarized in Table 1 [46, 5355].
range 6001000 C and this is why, SOFC is very suitable for
polygeneration [38]. On the other side, different chemical and
mechanical compatibility problems limit the use of SOFCs due to 3.2. Applications and advantages of fuel cells
long start-up and cooling-down. There are number of researchers
who have worked to minimize the operating temperature to nd The fuel cells are useful for many systems. However, there are
possible solutions and claimed SOFC may bring energy production mainly three areas which are being more focused presently for
to a new generation, if successful and sustainable counter-mea- fuel cell applications [3133]. These uses are transportation (cars,
sures are built up [4052]. buses, trucks, submarines, ships, spacecrafts etc.), stationary
For alkaline fuel cell (AFC), the electrolyte consists of an aqu- power (power for remote locations, back-up power, stand alone
eous solution of alkaline potassium hydroxide. The performance of power plants for towns and cities, distributed generation for
these cells is very high because cathode reacts very fast in the buildings and co-generation) and portable power (cell phones,
alkaline electrolytes. This type of cell has been used very suc- radios and laptops etc.).
cessfully for producing electricity and water in space missions. Fuel cells have high potential for above mentioned applications
These cells provide good results over a temperature range of due to considerable advantages and benets [3133] over cur-
150200 C [3135]. rently available sources of energy. The list of benets could be very
454 R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461

Table 1
Comparison of fuel cell technologies.

Fuel Common electrolyte Operating System Electrical efciency Applications Advantages Disadvantages
cell temp. (C) output
type

PEMFC Polymer poly-per- 5080 1250 KW 5360%(Transporta- -Solid electrolyte redu- -Requires expensive catalyst
uorosulfonic acid tion)2535% -Backup power ces corrosion -High sensitivity to fuel impu-
(Stationary) -Portable power -Low temperature rities -Waste heat temperature
-Transportation -Quick start up not suitable for combined heat
and power (CHP)
AFC Aqueous solutionof -Cathode reaction isfa-
potassium hydroxide 90100 10 60% -Military ster in alkaline electro- -Expensive removal of CO2
socked in a matrix 100 KW -Space lyte, leads to higher from fuel
performance
-Higher overallefciency -Require expensive platinum
PAFC Liquid phosphoric acid 150200 50 KW 4 40% -Distributed with CHP catalyst
socked in a matrix 1 MW generation -Increased tolerance to -Low current and power
impurities in hydrogen -Large size/weight
-High efciency
MCFC Liquid solution of 600700 1 KW 4547% -Electric utility -Fuel exibility -High temperature speed cor-
Lithium, sodium or 1 MW -Large distributed -Can use a variety of rosion and breakdown of cell
potassium carbonates generation catalysts component
socked in a matrix -Suitable for CHP -Slow start up
-High efciency -High temperature enhances
corrosion and breakdown of
cell components -Slow start up
SOFC Yttria stabilized Zirconia 6001000 o1 KW 3543% -Auxiliary power -Fuel exibility -Brittleness of ceramic electro-
-Can use a variety of lyte with thermal cycling
Sammarium doped Ceria 3 MW -Electric utility catalysts
-Large distributed -Suitable for CHP
generation -Variety of fuels

long; however important ones are given below to show the sig- of alternative energy sources. Fortunately, Pakistan is lucky enough
nicance of fuel cell. to have many of the energy sources that can be renewed repeat-
edly. Solar energy is one of such sources that are most copious and
i. Effectiveness: temperature is an important parameter which widely spread in the country [57]. Wind, micro-hydro, biomass,
limits the efciency of a heat engine. Fuel cells do not involve and biogas are other important sources of energy that can be
any combustion process and thus are free from such type of effectively utilized to meet the challenges of energy shortfall [58].
limitation. For this reason, these are highly efcient with
The northern areas of Pakistan are highly suitable for developing
respect to combustion engines [3335].
micro-hydro systems and it is anticipated that these systems can
ii. Pollutions free: fuel cells do not pollute our environment
generate about 300 MW of electricity [59].
because they do not generate any contaminants. They produce
water and heat as a byproduct which can be used for other
a. Study consequences
purposes [3335].
We need to develop fuel cells because they will provide electric
iii) Simplicity: fuel cells are very simple, reliable, and noiseless
power for many applications in Pakistan. In stationary power
because their functioning is independent of any moving parts.
They have pretty long life which can be as large as 40,000 h. applications fuel cells can be used at a xed location like at homes,
Furthermore, these can be stacked in modular form to match any grocery stores and industrial buildings and as well as for backup
power requirement [3335]. power units where a diesel generator or leadacid batteries could
not be used because of the pollution they generate. Fuel cells can
also be used for transportation application i.e. to power cars,
4. Fuel cell technology in Pakistan buses, passenger vehicles and auxiliary power units for highway,
off-road vehicles and in communication equipment that can be
As discussed earlier, Pakistan is an energy decient country moved from one place to another [60,61]. Fuel cells are also used
facing extreme energy problems. A large chunk of government in portable device for power applications. Thus the functioning of
exchequer is exhausted for this purpose. Government is spending the mobile and stationary power stations based on FC technology
13 Billion US dollars every year to import crude oil and eatable oil will help to decrease the dependence of power production
to minimize this difculty with nearly 1% annual growth-rate [56]. through conventional ways.
People of the urban and rural areas of the country are facing
shortage of electricity. On the other hand people living in remote a. Potential of fuel cell based hybrid systems in Pakistan
rural areas of the country do not have an easy access to com-
mercial-energy sources like natural gas, petrol, diesel and elec- The FC-energy market in the world is well surveyed with bil-
tricity. If these people are to be brought at par with other parts of lion dollars investment which increased three times more since
the country, then cheap energy has to be delivered at their door 2012 [62] based on its wide applications in various power and
steps. This would require a huge infrastructure, which at present energy sectors. The annual demands of portable generators and
seems to be impossible due to its tremendous cost. If something emergency power supplies are in millions. Similary in Pakistan,
has to be done positively, then this is possible only through the use the energy market is increasing annually which can be focussed.
R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461 455

FC technology can also be integrated with several renewable all other sources. Biomass can be generated from multiple
energy resources to work in hybrid for multiple applications. As wastes such as kitchen waste, animal's waste, forestry waste,
discussed earlier, Pakistan is very rich in having several renewable municipal solid waste, agricultural waste, poultry waste and
energy resources. sewage waste etc. All of these wastes can be turned into useful
In fuel cell, the SOFC has gained attention because of their high biogas by gasication using a bio-gasier. The biogas has
energy conversion efciency and fuel exibility. The basic opera- methane as major content and minute amounts of some other
tion and working principle of SOFC are depicted in Fig. 4. Different gases also present. This biogas can be directly used as fuel to
kinds of fuels such as gases (e.g., hydrogen, syngas, and bio-gas), solid oxide fuel cell as SOFC can operate for multiple fuels. The
liquids (e.g. methanol, ethanol and glycerol) and solids (carbon internal reforming for biogas inside SOFC offers an advantage
and lignin) can be used in SOFCs. The SOFCs are one of such sys- where the need of purication of biogas to hydrogen gas is
tems, which generate power and heat in the same time during its avoided. SOFCBiomass hybrid system can be used for several
operation. Therefore multi-fueled SOFCs can be used as hybrid and applications such as electricity production for portable devices,
polygeneration system and will be the best option for Pakistan stationary units and combined heat and power system (CHP)
current energy scenario. In the following we discuss the several FC etc. Fig. 5 shows the block diagram for a SOFCBiomass hybrid
systems hybrid with different renewable energy resources avail- system.
able in Pakistan. ii. SOFCWind hybrid system
Wind is a suitable renewable energy source to produce electric
i. SOFCBiomass hybrid system power for 24 h as solar energy is only available during the day
Promising renewable energy technologies (RET) based on time. To utilize the wind from environment a wind turbine/mill
hydrogen and hydrocarbon fuel are considered as an alternative is used to convert wind energy into electricity. A wind turbine
energy resources for fossil fuels and environmental polluted rst converts the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical
fuels. Biomass is a promising renewable energy source among energy, which rotates the shaft of electric generator to produce
the electricity. This electric power can be used to produce
hydrogen and oxygen from electrolysis of water. The produced
hydrogen and oxygen can be used as a fuel to solid oxide fuel
cell. The water is produced during the operation of fuel cell
which can again be used to produce hydrogen and oxygen in
the electrolyzer. Fuel Cell can be further used in variety of
applications ranging from portable devices to heavy duty
devices. Hydrogen can also be used directly in hydrogen based
FC transportation systems. Fig. 6 shows the possible utilization
of wind energy as a hybrid SOFC system.
iii. SOFCCoal hybrid system
Hydrogen has great ability to meet the future energy and fuel
needs. One of the greatest advantages of hydrogen is its ability
Fig. 4. Basic operation of SOFC. to be produced from an extensive variety of sources. One of

Fig. 5. Solid oxide fuel cell-Biomass hybrid system.


456 R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461

Fig. 6. Solid oxide fuel cellWind hybrid system.

Fig. 7. Solid oxide fuel cellCoal hybrid system.

these sources is coal. Hydrogen is produced from coal by coal iv. Polygeneration system based on MGT/SOFC
gasication process. Coal gasication produces wide variety of
products such as diesel, natural gas, hydrogen gas, ethanol, Polygeneration is a process which produces more than one
methanol, industrial gas and jet fuels. Hydrogen, natural gas product simultaneously from a single fuel source. Therefore, the
and ethanol can be used directly as a fuel to SOFC. The ef- total efciency is higher and the emissions to environment are less
ciency of SOFC with combined heat and power (CHP) systems in such systems. Hence, polygeneration can be a promising tech-
reaches to 85% which is about double to conventional engines. nology to meet the user demands regarding energy security and
This offers a huge advantage of usage of SOFCcoal hybrid. controlling global warming. Three different polygeneration sys-
Fig. 7 shows the scenario of coal usage to the end user through tems for space heating, cooling and providing hot domestic water
fuel cell technology. are visualized in this section which are polygeneration system for
R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461 457

Fig. 8. Polygeneration based MGT/SOFC.

fuel cell, polygeneration system based on atmospheric SOFC/MGT Group has submitted several projects to Higher Education
and polygeneration system based on pressurized SOFC/MGT as Commission of Pakistan (HEC) and Pakistan Science Founda-
shown in Fig. 8. tion (PSF) to develop FC technology in Pakistan. Based on the
few of the approved small projects, a fuel cell laboratory has
c) Involvement of different research groups been established in which fuel cell activities are going on. But
still more projects and more human power is needed to make
i. In COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore, our it successful. CIIT group wants to establish an advance FC
research group has made different studies on FC technology to research center at COMSATS Institute of Information Technol-
identify similar technology in Pakistan. In future, these cells ogy Lahore and submitted the concept paper (PC-1) of 800
could prove as alternative energy sources for various appli- million Pak Rupees (PKR). It is an important step in contribut-
cations [35]. ing towards achieving the cited objectives of the Government
The main objectives of the research group are to meet the of Pakistan. The research and development activities as well as
current energy crisis as well as to address the shortage of fuel the development of products from the proposed center will
especially the natural gas using the indigenous resources. The play a vital role in meeting the future energy scenario of
lack of vision of usage of natural gas has resulted in massive Pakistan. The main aim of the center is to develop cost-
strategic failure causing the shortage of gas supply during the effective reliable fuel cells for commercialization. In addition
winter times. The activities in research group aim towards to these projects three PhD projects on SOFC (especially
particular applications of FC-technology in this scenario. Low Biogas, Natural gas, Bioethanol, and Direct Carbon fueled
temperature PEM-FC-technology is being focused to meet the based SOFCs) are also initiated and several graduate/under-
demands of mobile and auto industry applications. While graduate research projects have been completed in our group.
SOFC-hybrid technology is being studied to provide solution Our initial target will be the smart homes/houses which need
for the stationary applications. the power, heating and cooling system. The rst aim is to get
The group is actively involved in studying the different aspects 0.51 kW systems. This is currently carried out through a
of FC-technology to provide solutions to these crises. Some small HEC project with some additional internal funding of
members of the group are focusing on the aspect of experi- CIIT in collaboration with FC research group at KTH, Stockholm
mental science of the FC-technology and some are working on Sweden.
the engineering application of the technology. Different pro- The milestone reached to date is described as below;
totypes are being developed especially for SOFC-hybrid with
biomass for stationary applications. Beside this, a sub-group is Materials scaled-up to pilot production.
working on theoretical understanding of the technology. The New materials and functionality developments.
simulations are being performed using DFT and COMSOL. Individual cell, component development and tests.
458 R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461

Cell test facilities in operation. involved in synthesis and characterization of different catalytic
Prototype designed. materials for polymer electrolyte fuel cells [72]. Different types
If all the components are prepared/fabricated using indigen- of catalysts were developed for PEMFCs [73].
ous resources considering all the challenges of FC-technology, vii. A research group at Department of Electric Power and Energy at
the cost can be reduced effectively. The other way to address University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore has
the cost is to minimize the FC components (single component also commenced research on proton exchange membrane fuel
FC) because the simpler technology and fabrication process cells. However their focus is on theoretical aspects of working
will greatly reduce the fabrication costs. Beside this, simple of PEMFC. Thermodynamic and electrochemical characteristics
technology will have high production reproducibility unlike of PEMFC under steady state and transient conditions are being
conventional way with MEA (anode, electrolyte and cathode) analyzed and studied using different dynamic models [74].
with complex technologies and low product yield. viii. Department of electrical and industrial engineering at Pakistan
Current FC prices are extremely high i.e. 20005000 USD/kW. naval engineering college (PNEC), Karachi is also working on
Based on our research and expertize, the estimated cost has design and fabrication of low cost high efciency sustainable
been calculated to be about 300500 USD/kW for indigenous and renewable energy system that is based upon solar and
system see supplementary information material). wind power generation.
We have reported earlier, using different approaches to reduce ix. Department of Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineer-
the present cost of electrode and electrolyte materials for solid ing of UET Peshawar have also started work on FC-technology,
oxide fuel cell. For example, but due to lack of experimental facilities, they have so far
focused on theoretical and modeling aspects of the FCs.
Use of cheap raw materials
Lowering of sintering temperature Despite being efcient, environmental friendly and highly sui-
Reduction of sintering time table for several applications, FC technology still faces several
Lowering of operating/working temperature hurdles towards effective utilization and commercialization. These
It has been noted that the substitution of zinc compound problems include high costs of fuel cell components, concerns
(Zn(NO3)2.6H2O) in place of nickel oxide (NiO) has reduced about the use of hydrogen as fuel and exibility of fuel storage
the cost by a factor of E25 in addition to the lowering of place. Our group at CIIT, Lahore is working to overcome these
manufacturing and operating temperature, which also barriers and is focusing on following objectives:-
reduces the cost indirectly by saving energy and time.
Moreover, the cost has been further reduced by a factor of 35  To design high efcient and more stable materials through the
and 18 when samarium nitrate (Sm(NO3)3.6H2O) and gado- density functional theory (DFT) approach.
linium nitrate (Gd(NO3)3.6H2O) are respectively replaced by  To develop functional nanocomposite materials for fuel cells
calcium nitrate (Ca(NO3)2.4H2O). and lithium-ion batteries.
The lowering of working temperature from 1000 to 550 C is  Investigation and feasibility of quantum-dot-based materials in
a major achievement that would not only reduce the running new-generation fuel cells.
cost but it may help in commercialization of solid oxide fuel  To develop fuel cell based hybrid & polygeneration system.
cell [6364].  Development of cost effective energy storage devices like; bat-
teries, super-capacitor etc.
i. Different research organizations including Pakistan Institute of  To develop prototypes of energy conversion devices.
Science and Technology (PINSTECH) and National Development  To nd investments from industries for commercialization of
Complex (NDC) have initiated R&D program to develop fuel the technology.
cells indigenously. PINSTECH has fabricated and tested low
power fuel cell stacks successfully. This fuel cell stack system
can be extended to produce power according to requirement, 5. Challenges and recommendations
particularly for automobiles and off grid utilizations, etc. [65].
Membrane electrode assembly (MEA) for PEM fuel cell has also In order to attain sustainable development in energy infra-
been fabricated using route-catalyst-membrane (CCM) and structure especially in FC technology in Pakistan, certain factors
composite bipolar plates for PEMFC [6668]. must be considered. Few of such factors are challenging and one
ii. Ministry of Environment, Pakistan, has constituted a Technical must have a concrete planning to tackle them. Intensive efforts are
Review Group (TRG) which comprises eminent professionals also needed to solve the problems and to meet the high interna-
from government and private sectors, educational institutions, tional standards. In the following, outline of main challenges
NGOs and citizen forums. The group has been assigned to pre- which need urgent consideration and give recommendations
pare a feasibility report for introducing fuel cell technology in which can be adopted. The energy crisis can be overcome if we
the country [69]. increase the use of renewable energy sources instead of non-
iii. In NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, one renewable energy sources. Moreover, government should encou-
research group is working on fuel cell technology. They are rage private sector investment in RETs through incentives and by
working with the collaboration of German University in the developing renewable energy markets as well as facilitate the
area of fuel cells [70]. development of a domestic RET manufacturing industry.
iv. University of Engineering and Technology Lahore (UET) is also
working on fuel cell technology with special focus on SOFC
with the collaboration of CIIT [71]. Center for Energy Research
and Development at UET is focusing on renewable sources. 6. R&D culture
v. Physics Department of Bahaud-din-Zakariya University, Multan
is also involved in the same research area ofknowledge and For sustainable progress in FC technology, signicant research
produced two PhDs in the eld of SOFCs. is needed. For this, R&D projects play a pivotal role. A competitive
vi. National Center for Physics (NCP) and department of chemistry research culture will also help in low cost products and their
at Qauid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad are actively evaluation. All the R&D organization and universities need to be
R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461 459

engaged and funded in energy related research and education. A Risk is an important issue to consider in the early stages of any
centralized R&D organization focusing on FC technology must be new technology. The risk analysis comprises of foretelling and
established so that the state of the art manufacturing, character- decreasing undesired events that could occur when a fuel cell is
ization, and production tools can be brought under the same roof. fueling for some applications. The main risk is handling the fuel
For this reason, physics department at CIIT Lahore has proposed an that cannot be limited by precautionary measures. As we know
FC technology based energy center. that all suitable fuels used in fuel cells readily catch re, which is
ii) Proper resources assessment very dangerous. Precautionary measures must be taken to
A comprehensive assessment of FC-hybrid technologies, inte- diminish those risks to an acceptable level.
grated energy resources, R&D resources and human resources etc. ix) Effective cost of FC technology
are needed. This is most important, as it helps to plan, formulate, The current cost of 13 kW stationary SOFC systems is between
asses and analyze. $5000 and $6000 per kW. If this technology is used on large-scale,
iii) Training human power then it is expected to reduce costs by a factor of ten in a decade
Trained and qualied human resources are a basic need for [62]. The advancement in fuel cell technology has reduced the size,
sustainable research and development in any eld. To make FC weight and cost of electrical vehicles and the estimated cost of
technology as knowledge intensive and to deploy this to cover automobile fuel cells had fallen by 80% in 2010 [76]. The fuel
a wide range of scientic disciplines, one should have sufcient economy of fuel cell buses is 40% higher than diesel buses [75].
man-power. This can be partially achieved by introducing new Lux's described that fuel cell market including vehicle and fuel cell
programs covering these technologies at university level. The forklifts, will reach a total of $2 billion up to 2030 [77].
training of the skilled and semi-skilled manpower is required These recent developments in FC technology and policies can
to install, operate and trouble-shoot the developed systems. be adapted in Pakistan as it will not only offer a solution to the
This will help in setting up new niche/consumer market prevailing energy crisis but can also prove as alternative to other
eventually leading to economic activities and establishing local conventional resources. The commercialization of FC technology in
industries. Pakistan will also improve the economy as new job opportunities
iv) Step forward-energy center will also be created.
One of the progresses is to initiate the energy centers focusing
on FC technology. These energy centers can be setup in regions/
provinces as well as on central/federal level. This will setup certain
7. Summary
laboratory facilities needed for research and implementation of
energy producing technology. At CIIT Lahore, an energy center has
Pakistan is trying to resolve its energy crisis through conven-
already been announced and some basic FC laboratories are being
tional energy resources but so far little success has been obtained.
developed.
To resolve this issue, an effective long term solution must be
v) Public awareness
adopted in terms of renewable energy technology in addition to
The public must be made aware of the benets and advantages
the conventional ways. Pakistan is blessed with several renewable
of these emerging technologies. This can be achieved through
energy resources which can fulll its energy needs. But due to
seminars and public talks by providing necessary information.
certain social, economic, technical, institutional and bureaucratic
Print and electronic media can be the most effective tool. Different
barriers, these resources have not been harvested. To strengthen
demo units can also be placed at public places.
the renewable energy technologies in Pakistan, a holistic approach
vi) Public sector involvement
must be employed. The public and private sector should invest in
Public sector involvement is one of the fundamentals to start
renewable energy technologies for sustainable energy future. The
and sustain development in any eld. There are several incentives
major necessities which are operated on non-renewable energy
for the government to launch FC technology in Pakistan. The basic
resources must be converted to renewable ways. Fuel cell tech-
one is help which FC technology offers to reduce the current
energy crisis. The others include clean environment, new job nology is one of most promising renewable energy technologies
markets, raising the living standards of public in remote areas, due its compatibility/usefulness with several renewable energy
stopping the urbanization and reduction in imports of fossils fuel resources and being combustion free. In addition, the diverse
based energy [7579]. All these factors will help in boasting the applications of FC technology make it the most suitable candidate
economy of Pakistan. to justify our future energy demands and sustainable development
The government must also reduce taxation on R&D equipment of Pakistan. The fuel used in FC Technology is cheap and has high
and on ultimate commercialization of the technology. Government efciency as compared to the conventional fuels. However, pre-
funded R&D projects and facilitation in setting up the markets will sently the energy produced from FC is not cheap. The cost will be
help and boast the FC-technology in Pakistan. dramatically reduced in future by the development of improved
vii) Private sector participation fuel storage techniques and cheap electrolytes. It is not easy and
Energy crises in Pakistan can be diminished to some extent short term way to adopt fuel cell technology, if considered all
with the active participation of publicprivate partnership. Private hurdles and issues. But it can be possible/successful, and sustained,
sector must participate to develop the infrastructure in FC tech- by long-term commitment from fundamental research to com-
nology and they must charge the actual cost of services from mercial development and effective policies. Therefore, FCs hybrid
customers so that the government burden of subsidies can be systems are most suitable for Pakistan.
minimize. Private sector in Pakistan produced power generation of
capacity of 7100 MW to meet the need of power sector, out of
which 800 MW is obtained by wind [75]. But still, there is a short Appendix A. Supplementary material
fall of energy in Pakistan so we have to move towards the
renewable energy technologies. Supplementary data associated with this article can be found in
viii) Regulation of risk analysis and ethics of technology the online version at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2015.08.049.
460 R. Raza et al. / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 450461

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