As a part of the move towards cleaner sources of fuel, Indian government has granted a concession of 20% on coal revenue share for gasification, with a target to gasify 100 million tonnes of coal by 2030, the Ministry of Coal said in a statement on August 31, 2020. In its official statement, the ministry said coal gasification and liquefaction were no longer an aspiration, but a ‘requirement’.
The announcement, made over a webinar, was organised by Ministry of Coal (MoC) in New Delhi for discussing the road map for achieving the target. The webinar was attended by around 700 delegates from Government of India, CIL and the coal sector. Reiterating on government's commitments for green initiatives in the coal sector, ministry said that Coal Gasification and Liquefaction were well in the government's agenda and various actions have been taken for development of Surface Coal Gasification in India.
What is Coal gasification? - Coal gasification is the process of producing syngas, a mixture of hydrogen, CO2 and other compounds. It is a way to boost the production of synthetic natural gas, energy fuel, urea for fertilisers, and production of other chemicals.
Some crucial aspects of this decision are:
·100 MT coal gasification will happen in three phases. In the first phase - from 2020-2024 - 4 million tonnes of coal will be gasified and around Rs 20,000 crore will be invested for the same.
·In the second phase - from 2020-2026 - 6 MT of coal will be gasified which will involve an investment of Rs 30,000 crore.
·In the third phase - from 2022-2030 - 90 MT of coal will be gasified and Rs 3.6 lakh crore will be invested for the same.
·Coal India also plans to set up at least three gasification plants
(besides Dankuni) on build, own, operate (BOO) basis through global tendering
and has signed a pact with GAIL for marketing synthetic natural gas.
·It will help harness the nation's reserves for maximum utilisation while heading on the path to sustainability as per global standards
However, it is important to note that the gasification process has raised concerns amongst scholars who argue that coal gasification is the most water-intensive form of energy production. It also leads to land subsidence, water contamination and disposing of waste water safety.