24 May 2007 - 12:53
  • News Code: 105465

In a bid to promote coal gasification as an alternative energy source, India says it plans to pursue the technology for power generation.

Following recommendations from a parliamentary standing committee attached to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, the federal government, in consultation with the country’s Planning Commission and the Department of Fertilizers, decided to encourage coal gasification to use it for future power generation.

The committee’s recommendation to Parliament came last week. The government has already set in motion the implementation part of the recommendation.

“In order to meet the gap between demand and supply of natural gas, the state-owned Gas Authority of India Ltd. ... has been examining the issue of exploiting synthesis gas recoverable from coals, especially in eastern sector,“ said N. Janardhan Reddy, a former federal minister and chairman of the parliamentary standing committee.

Reddy said syngas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen that could be commercially used for power generation, fertilizers, hydrogen and methanol production. He said the standing committee also received suggestions from the energy committee of the Planning Commission and Fertilizer Ministry favoring the promotion of coal gasification technology.

As a result, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has asked Shell to prepare a detailed feasibility report.

The ministry also initiated between two government-controlled companies Coal India Ltd. and GAIL an agreement on the location of plants and coal availability.

“We are awaiting an approval from our board,“ a CIL spokesman said. “Further action including consultation with Ministry of Power, Department of Fertilizer and Departments of Chemicals and Petrochemicals will be taken up depending upon the“ report.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has sent coal data from 15 possible sites from the states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu to the Skochinsky Institute of Mining in Russia for analysis.

Out of the 15, 11 were studied and five were found unsuitable for coal gasification. Five required additional data generation and one site--the Vastan Mine block that belongs to Gujarat Industries Power Company Ltd. in Surat district of Gujarat--was found to be suitable for coal gasification.

Additional data is being gathered for the following sites: Kasta, West Bengal; Lapanga and part of Lapanga extension block, Jharkhand; Manuganj, Andhra Pradesh; G-19 block extension, Gujarat; and Barka-Bothia, Rajasthan. The ministry wrote to the parliamentary committee that in the Vastan site, further data generation for the design and execution of underground coal gasification pilot experimentation was in progress.

GAIL has signed a contract with the government of Rajasthan for jointly evaluating a lignite gasification project in the Barmer area. The company also signed a pact with Ergo Energy Technologies Inc. of Canada for lignite gasification technology.

GAIL said site selection and the prefeasibility stage of the project in Rajasthan was in progress. The company is also preparing a feasibility report for surface coal gasification in central Orissa state.

“India needs to consider to put in place a three-pronged strategy, immediate, short-term and long-term approach for sustainable development of energy sector through the application of coal gasification technology,“ said Ajit Kapadia, vice chairman of the Centre for Fuel Studies and Research, an energy-related think tank.

The immediate targets are to establish coal gasification and integrated gasification combined cycle technologies for commercial application. Under the short-term approach, targets are to set up commercial-scale IGCC plants of 250 MW, convert existing thermal power plants to IGCC and use of synthesis coal gas for production of chemical, fertilizers and steel.

The long-term target could be to replace natural gas with coal gas in existing combine cycle power plants, and construction of advanced power generation technologies based on coal gas.



News Code 105465

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