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24 May 2019

Hybrid Solar Water Heating System in Gilgit-Baltistan

Pakistan-US Science & Technology Cooperation Programme (USAID) and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan have funded $164,115 and $76,566 respectively on a project to provide alternate energy system in Gilgit-Baltistan, using CO2 as working fluid. The project is technically collaborated by the University of North Dakota and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (Pakistan).

The purpose of this research project is to show how solar energy can be used as a safe and ecologically friendly hybrid system for heating and space applications. Heating and hot water in Gilgit-Baltistan is a daily need, mostly met with either using firewood or electricity-- rapidly depleting enegy sources. The region is considered one of the solar-adverse places in Pakistan as the freezing temperature and wind-chill here limits effective utilization of solar system.  However recent developments in solar collector technology suggest an integration of solar collector using CO2 as its working fluid and this will be implemented in Gilgit-Baltistan through the “Hybrid Solar Water Heating System Using CO2 as Working Fluid” project.

The CO2 as working fluid, with a direct expansion heat pump, will ensure a continuous and efficient operation even in subfreezing temperatures: the program overview says. 

Sumathy Krishnan, associate professor in mechanical engineering, and Samee Khan, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering of North Dakota State University and two professors from Pakistan (CIIT), Dr. Waqar H.Bukhari and Nasrullah Khan are the main investigators of the research project which is due to complete in November 2012.

According to the quarterly update of the project, Pakistani manufacturers were unwilling to build the prototype of the project, for the job was small in scale, complex in nature and required a fair chunk of finance. Nevertheless, the project will continue as CIIT has managed to manufacture a tube-sheet-type collector at its own workshop

Dr. Waqar H. Bukhari, one of the investigators, was optimistic to say that the success of the project will help the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in reducing their reliance on electricity and firewood; creating employment opportunities, minimizing deforestation and, thus contributing to sustainable development in the region.  One of the reasons, to start the project in Gilgit-Baltistan is said to be the matching climate conditions of Gilgit-Baltistan and the State of North Dakota. (Dardistan Times Report)

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