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Government keen to source coal gasification technology from US.

Date: 14-02-2019
Subject: Government keen to source coal gasification technology from US
NEW DELHI: India is keen to collaborate with the US department of energy to source technology for coal gasification to tap into the country’s large reserves, improve its fuel efficiency and reduce dependence on imports. 

The move was triggered after recent attempts by the government and private players to set up their own coal gasification plants failed. A high-level meeting chaired by NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat was held recently with officials from US department of energy. 

A senior government official told ET that the meeting was called because the government is keen on global partnerships to achieve coal gasification at lower costs and integrate technology for smarter handling of the fuel in an economically viable way. 

“India is well endowed with vast reserves of coal which are vital in meeting the country’s energy needs. Coal gasification is one of the prominent areas that need to be looked at, being one of the cost-effective options that would also bring down import dependence,” the official said. 

According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the discussions are in preliminary stage and the challenge for India is the high ash content in indigenous coal. “In this regard, highend technology and expertise are required for coal gasification in India,” he said, pointing out that most US companies too have limited experience in dealing with high ash content coal. 

Sources present at the meeting told ET that Mark Menezes, under-secretary to the US department of energy, outlined various initiatives being undertaken by the National Petroleum Council on different areas where carbon dioxide may be used. 

Making a detailed presentation on coal gasification, Atanu Mukherjee, president of MN Dastur, one of the largest independent engineering consultancy services in the world, said at the meeting that the idea is to bring coal to the technology rather taking technology to the coal.

“The primary efforts would be aimed towards capturing carbon in an economically prudent manner to be implemented on a large scale,” he said, adding that the need is to make this source of energy economically viable by holistically looking at the entire chain of coal gasification. 

The meeting was attended by more than two dozen people from NITI Aayog, ministry of steel, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, department of chemicals, officials from US department of energy and National Carbon Capture Center, USA, besides officials from GAIL, Engineers India and Projects & Development India and representatives from MN Dastur. 

The coal requirement in India stands at around 20 million tonnes. India imports petrochemicals worth ?70,000 crore annually. This can be brought down significantly if India gets economically viable coal gasification technology. 

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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