Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Unjustified Criticism of Upcoming Coal Fired Plants

Pakistan has been facing severe energy crisis over the years ultimately resulting in huge burden on crippling economy and a wave of hopelessness in the country. A lot has been said and written regarding flawed energy mix of Pakistan. Over the last year, we have moved a few steps, courtesy of $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under which a few large LNG and Coal fired stations are in different stages of project development and are expected to start coming online by 2017. Amid the good news, clouds of negativity have remained over the ‘dirty’ coal plants. Unfortunately, we are used to trusting negative news readily and therefore, prefer not to bother conducting a bit of research before strengthening our beliefs. Let us study a few facts before deciding which team we are on in this character assassination of ‘King Coal’. 

Per Capita Carbon Emissions

A brief scrutiny of ‘Per capita carbon emissions (tons) by country’ reveals that Pakistan stands at 0.93 tons against 1.64 tons of India, 14.67 tons of Canada, 6.18 tons of China, 7.96 tons of UK and 17.5 tons of US (Source: United Nations Millennium Development Goals Indicators). In other words, it is understandable why most of the developed countries are freaking out and are striving to reduce their carbon footprint as demonstrated in COP-21 Climate Summit last year. Pakistan is not doing badly in Environmental Performance Index either. It can be fairly said that there are no alarms yet and hence this procrastination of not pursuing thermal energy by hiding behind the environmental reasoning can wait. 

A comparison of costs of different energy technologies

Pakistan’s electricity consumption per capita stands at 47 Watts/person against global average of 313 Watts/person (Source: The World Factbook). While a country’s energy consumption directly relates to its economic development, it needs no other justification why we are still a struggling economy even after 69 years. It is clear that we need a power infrastructure revamp in order to give a better future to our coming generations. Now let us study our options in the light of Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of different power generation technologies. For a general understanding, LCOE of a given technology is the ratio of lifetime electricity generation costs to lifetime electricity generation. The global median LCOE of Solar PV technology is 140 USD/MWh while it is 100 USD/MWh for onshore wind, 80 USD/MWh for coal and 100 USD/MWh for CCGT/LNG (Source: IEA Projected Costs of Generating Electricity, 2015 edition). Cost of Solar PV has reduced significantly over the years, but is still too high for under developed country like Pakistan. 

Asia and Eastern Europe will not abandon coal

In other words, we need electricity immediately and we don’t have any money in our pocket. Considering the above stated facts, why not go for coal at least to address our immediate energy needs? We would not be the only nation doing this. According to ‘World Coal’ April 2016 edition, Asia won’t be abandoning coal in the near future. Japan’s coal status appears far from threatened and so does South Korea’s. Eastern European nations like Germany, Poland and Czech Republic are still coal dependent. 

Columbia Energy Center, Wisconsin has recently installed state-of-the-art emissions control upgrades

High Efficiency, Low Emissions (HELE)

The only difference is that upcoming coal plants will operate under the principles of High Efficiency, Low Emissions (HELE). IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 states that nearly a third of world’s currently operating coal plants are slated to be retired over 2015-40. Yet the report predicts that for each coal plant retired, the world will add about two more coal plants. But 40% of those added will feature advanced coal technologies. The new plants will have supercritical and ultra-supercritical technologies and Carbon Capture & Sequestration technologies which will reduce the carbon footprint. Thus ‘King Coal’ is not going anywhere. 
We can conclude that coal fired power still has a good future especially for a developing country like Pakistan. Modern clean coal technologies like low NOx burners, Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD), Electrostatic precipitators (ESP) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) have significantly reduced the carbon footprint. But at the same time, we have to ensure that ESIA studies (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) are completed fairly for all the proposed plants. Global warming is a fact, but any unjustified propaganda against energy projects can cause irreparable damage to our future causes. 

***** Ahmad Hamid *****

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Veil


On a cold, gloomy, starry night.
The full moon veiled by clouds, just out of sight.
Wild was the night yet no grace it lacked.
But more graceful was she, all garbed in black.
Her sad eyes cast down, fair hands joined in prayer.
Lacerated was her heart, but fierce was her glare.
Flowed down her soft cheeks, the tears so white;
They shone like pearls with a beauty to smite.
Chiseled red lips of hers, shadowed by a frown
would surely entice envy in any lady with a crown.
Her silken black hair fell like a curtain in waves.
She was an untouched jewel, any man would crave.
Shrouded in mystery, the sorrow around her hung.
She recalled the melody of past, the songs unsung.
Still felt the warmth of love, his hand in hers.
Parching memories that she cherished,
now became a curse!
He was her prince, her prince of dreams.
His eyes held magic, the magic unseen.
Bewitching was his tone, entrancing were his words.
He was an enchanter, unparalleled in love.
For no man had she fallen, her pride had ruled.
But a single glance at him, had been a crime too cruel.
Lost was her heart, abandoned she her pride.
He became her essence, her thoughts, her life.
He reciprocated her affection with love so ardent,
Purest was the attraction, no sin to be unpardoned.
That presence of his, those whispers in the dark,
Branded her soul, for a lifetime left a mark.
But what she thought was love, for him was a play.
A mere dance of shadows, just another heart to slay.
As an angel he came, snatched her happiness in his flight.
Devilishly crafty he was, manipulative his every stride.
Too late it was, when the truth did dawn.
He left her for some inferior, in her hatred did spawn.
Mingled with dark grief, her pure love got corrupted.
Left a fiery revenge in its wake, a Vesuvius to be erupted.
Only had he realised, even the prettiest rose has thorns.
Crush a rose with hands, blood would be drawn.
A gifted planner she was, not a reckless wretch.
Most meticulously had she planned this night of death!
Determined she was, to reclaim what had been lost.
Any lethal measure she'd take, no matter the cost.
Neither sympathy for him did she feel, nor feeling to resurrect.
Only vestiges of her pride, was now all she longed to recollect.
Heard she a girlish laughter, like chiming of bells.
Now was the time of revenge, not on the past to dwell.
Like a shadow she arose, in the night became a darker night.
Swiftly she moved, hid behind a tree, just out of sight.
The couple appeared on moonlit road, hand in hand.
Strolling down the lovers’ path, unable to comprehend,
The patience of night, the silence of the dark.
Unaware of the impending justice, forever they'd be apart!
Drenched in love, down the road they came.
To the tree where she'd hidden, remorseless and unashamed.
Unaware of her presence, stripped of her grace,
They chose the moment to most passionately embrace.
No more could she withhold the tide of hatred.
The emotions that were in check, shattered all gates.
Aroused was her fury, lost was her trust.
She would inflict him pain, crush his bones to dust.
As if in sympathy with her, the full moon chose
To relinquish its veil, out of the clouds it arose.
Enveloped by moonlight, a pearly phantom she appeared.
A single glance at her and lovers were struck by fear.
Truly unearthly she was, withholding the tempest of rage.
But it was the couple who trembled, like birds in a cage.
No apology did she need, no more would she cry.
She sought only revenge, her vengeance wouldn’t be denied.
She glared at her rival, a beauty so lame.
Ignored the plea in her eyes, a face full of shame.
She unsheathed out of her robes, a dagger sharpened with knife.
With a single slash at her rival's neck, snuffed out her life.
Relished she in her pain, gloried she in her despair.
A body writhing in death, only intensified her flare.
Sipped had she now, the ale of revenge, the lust.
Still sweeter'd be the taste tinged with his blood!
Frenzied with rage, she turned to her love.
Immune to his charms, his heart she'd crush.
Bathed in blood, imbued with dark loath.
A fallen angel she seemed, a beauty to behold.
An inkling of recognition, a moment of wonder,
Dawned in his eyes, broke his terror asunder.
With swift composure, most divinely he smiled.
Innocence personified his eyes devoid of guile.
Mustering all his charms, like an angelic prince he kneeled.
Offered his hand to her, urging their love to reseal.
With Pride etched on her face, slightly she smiled.
Accepted his hand, prolonging his trial.
She was the victim, she became the judge.
She was hurt, she became the hurt!
Looking into her eyes, he kissed her hand.
Knowing she'd fall for him, she'd love yet again.
And so it seemed their love was grand,
To defy all hatred, to soothe all pain.
Now did she smile and now was the moment.
To bring upon him the doom, that sweet torment.
With a flick of her wrist and a smile on her lips,
She held his face and most passionately did she kiss.
Stunned by her mystifying beauty, that perfection of art.
He was oblivious to the dagger, jabbed through his heart.
He felt only pure love, that burning longing for her,
The thirst, the passion even the pain couldn’t curb.
Beneath the starry night, with moon as his witness.
He drifted into death, that unearthly richness.
To no avail were his charms now, though he was master of love.
All around him was death now, no heart he could crush.
Basking into her vengeance, she lost all humanity.
That purity of the soul, that uncorrupted vanity.
Never had she before performed a mortal strike.
It was love who taught her, imbued her with might.
Engulfed with hatred, she ripped a piece of her garb.
The black cloth she dipped, in blood of his heart.
Amidst the carnage she stood and wore the cloth as the veil.
A memento of her love, whose heart she did steal.
So lovers beware of what you propose,
Be it a false promise or a withered rose.
Many a disloyal lovers have been found under the full moon,
Each jabbed through the heart, left with a rose craftily pruned.
Rumors have it that a veiled mistress of night,
With a dagger in her hand and a beauty to smite.
To this night, roams the dark in pursuit of love,
The love that is impure, the love that is corrupt.

***** Abdul Moiz *****

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Drama Fest'16

Drama Fest 2016

This year’s drama fest was hosted in the Islamabad Club and just like every year it performed beyond expectations, however this time the expectations were slightly higher due to the excellent viral marketing of the event especially with the inclusion of Anwar Masood as guest of honor. The stage was beautifully set and the theater packed right till the last seat, right from the beginning the organizers were busy helping new arrivals find their seat and urging all the attendees to stay in their places so the show may begin. Finally, after what seemed like quite some time, the show kicked off with the sophomore batch presenting the first play.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

TAAKRA'15: BEE-6B vs BEE-7D Semifinal

Now this is what you call a grand debate’s atmosphere. Although, debate was of same format as conducted before, the ecstasy and elation were overwhelming sprinkled sparsely with traces of nervousness. Class room 12 was permeated with swollen number of students, including contesting teams and the spectators, which was incessantly rising. This sprightly commotion was duly vindicated as the most awaited phase was drifting near and nearer with every tick of the clock.

Formidable confrontation was to begin between BEE-6B from sophomore batch and BEE-7D, a freshmen class. Sir Raza Kazmi, Sir Usman Khawar and Mam Neelma Naz did the courtesy to act as event’s judges and graced the occasion by their invaluable presence, including Sir Majid.

Finally moderators struggled to quieten the gathering, and the CRs of respective classes were called to ignite the beginning of this exciting journey of debate. BEE-7D won the toss and promptly decided (actually it seemed a pre-decision) to choose the direction of topic. Subsequently, BEE-6B had to do the job of selecting a topic. Well the topic was quite eccentric and novel, read as “Beauty Contests should be banned/standards of beauty need to be checked”. BEE-7D chose to go against the motion.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Should AI replace human workers/officials?

For = BEE-5B

Against = BEE-5C

A very gloomy weather outside provided no interference as the taakra match inside started with usual zeal and spice. The two teams belonged to same batch so a friendly and less hostile environment was expected for debaters and presenters. The topic was very productive and provided equal grounds to both teams. BEE-5C won the toss but the liberty of choosing the topic was given to BEE-5B; however, 5C chose to present their in favor of the topic.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

DramaFest 2015

It was a magical night as students of all four years got a chance to display their talents in screenplay, acting and stage d├ęcor and production as they were tasked with presenting the best play to their audience. There was lots of noise, standing ovations and a generally healthy atmosphere of appreciation for stage talent as the actors tried to crack up some really good jokes while trying to stay true to the plot or central theme of their respective play. The event kicked off late as usual but ended with some memorable moments that everyone, especially the seniors, could take home. In between plays there were individual performances by the singer Yusuf and a stand-up comedian Hamza Shahid.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Sports Gala Bake Sale 2015

Once again it is that time of the year when the spring semester has just commenced and everyone's prepping for the much awaited Sports Gala, and as per tradition it was going to kick off with a boisterous bake sale! It was a moment of joy and jest as students of SEECS got a moment to blow off some steam from their hectic schedules. There were four houses as usual and the crowd was lively and made moving a few inches in the SEECS lobby almost impossible. At one point I was simply unable to get from one corner of the lobby to another through the thick crowd and so I climbed the stairs to the first floor, crossed the balcony and then finally made my way downstairs; all this effort to cover a distance of 15-20 feet. It was a moment of celebration that got more and more exuberant as students from each house started screaming not only their house mottos but also the names of the food items they were serving. There were chants of dahi ballay, jalaibee etc. It made no sense adding all the more to the colorful vibe of the whole event.