LAHORE - The Government College University Lahore has signed a collaborative research project with Bartin University, Turkey, for the cost-effective production of bioethanol.

Consul General of Turkey Emir Ozbey chaired the launch ceremony and awareness seminar of the research project at the GCU’s Bukhari Auditorium on Monday. The research project, to be funded by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Council of Higher Education of Turkey, included PhD students exchange programme between the two universities. Addressing the ceremony, Bartin University Dean of Science Prof Dr Ahmet Karadag said that Turkey and Pakistan were currently importing 95pc of their energy requirement and had not yet put full efforts in the production of more sustainable energy.

“Turkey is far behind in the world ranking for bioethanol production which is one the most important renewable energy sources,” he added.

Prof Ahmet, who is Principal Investigator of the research project from Turkey, said that the project aimed to introduce a more economic and efficient way of producing bioethanol, which was an alternative eco-friendly strategic energy source with high combustion efficiency. “The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a process for fourth generation bioethanol production both in Turkey and Pakistan,” he concluded.

Council General Ozbey laid stress on more research collaborations between the universities of Pakistan and Turkey, saying said that both the friendly countries were facing similar problems and scientists of both countries should join hands in solving them. He congratulated the principal investigators of the project for securing three-year research grant.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah said that Pakistan was facing severe energy crisis and it needed to move forward quickly to find a quick replacement of fossil fuels. He sincerely hoped that the successful completion of this project would contribute greatly to the economies of both countries.

Dr M Nauman Aftab, the principal investigator of the project from Pakistan, said solar and wind energy projects were not feasible for a country like Pakistan because they required huge investments for heavy installations and huge storage devises. “So, it’s high time that we must pay serious attention on mass scale production of renewable energy in the form of biofuel,” added.

Sharing details of the project, Dr Aftab said cellulase enzymes would be used to target the cellulose and hemicellulose component of the hazel nut and other plants of Turkey. The cellulosic mass will in turn be converted into sugars that will finally be converted into bioethanol.

Dr. Aftab said that this project was for three years and each year one PhD student of GCU would go to Bartin University, Turkey for a period of two months. “Similarly, three PhD students from Bartin University will also come to GCU in three years,” he concluded.