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Coal Gasification |

Coal Gasification

Context:

∙ The Union Cabinet approves 8,500 crore incentive scheme, the National Coal Gasification Mission, for coal gasification projects.

About the National Coal Gasification Mission

∙ It is an initiative by the Union Ministry of Coal, under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan.

∙ The mission aims to utilise coal through coal gasification, with the goal of achieving 100 MT coal gasification by 2030, with investments worth over Rs 4 trillion.

∙ It is expected to reduce imports by 2030.

∙ It envisions the adoption of indigenous technologies for the production of chemical products and their derivatives.

∙ It is expected to reduce the country’s reliance on imports of natural gas, methanol, ammonia, and other essential products.

Significances

∙ Efficiency and Environmental Impact: Coal gasification is a cleaner option compared to burning coal.

∙ The SOx and NOx emissions are lower compared to regular combustion of coal in coal-fired boilers in thermal power plants.

∙ Reduced Dependence on Imports: The adoption of gasification technology in India will revolutionise the coal sector, reducing reliance on imports of natural gas, methanol, ammonia, and other essential products.

∙ Economic Impact: It holds the potential to alleviate the environmental burden by reducing carbon emissions and fostering sustainable practices, contributing to the country’s global commitments towards a greener future.

∙ Job Opportunities: The adoption of coal gasification will contribute to job creation.

Concerns related to coal gasification

∙ Environmental Impact: Coal gasification actually produces more carbon dioxide than a conventional coal-powered thermal power plant.

∙ According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), one unit of electricity generated by burning gasified coal generates 2.5 times more carbon dioxide than what would result when burning the coal directly.

∙ Efficiency and Cost: The efficiency of conversion in coal gasification is low because the process converts a relatively high-quality energy source (coal)into a lower quality state (gas), consuming a lot of energy.

∙ Moreover, coal gasification plants are costlier than conventional power plants.

ο Implementation Challenges: There have been delays in the implementation of the latest carbon capture storage technology and the implementation of emission norms at coal-based thermal power stations.

ο Financial Viability: The most advanced technology plants in India, such as Mundra and Sassan in Gujarat, are struggling financially, causing stakeholders to lose confidence in investing in cleaner and advanced technology.

Way forward

∙ India needs to adopt new technologies and build digital infrastructure to support the current and future requirements. There is a need to ensure optimal use of technology in the sector.

∙ India’s hydrogen demand is likely to increase to 11.7 million tonnes by 2030 from 6.7 million tonnes per year as of now.

∙ Refineries and fertiliser plants are the largest consumers of hydrogen now, which is being produced from natural gas.

∙ It can be produced through coal in the processes during coal gasification.

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