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Indian coal companies’ efforts towards decarbonization

Source : Economic Times

Notes by Narsi

With decarbonization big on their agenda, India’s coal companies have started their Net-Zero journey through efforts in multiple dimensions. 

While their most visible effort is in their installation of large-scale solar power plants, a few other less visible, but fairly high-impact decarbonization efforts are: 

  • A process by which coal is transported through a conveyor belt from coal handling plants to the silo for loading. This process eliminates the movement of coal through roads, cutting down transport carbon emissions.
  • Surface coal gasification projects have been planned for syngas production to be used further either for the production of methanol/ethanol, urea, or petrochemicals.
  • The use of LNG to substitute diesel consumption in mining and coal transport equipment.

Using coal as coal for power generation is a rather indefensible strategy whatever other low carbon avenues are incorporated into its value chain. While one might argue that we are making the best of the bad situation, the overall decarbonization benefits might be negligible if all the efficiency measures end up in enhancing the amount of coal used by power plants or heating furnaces!

Coal gasification appears to be a more attractive avenue. If existing coal power plants are gradually going out of business (and the business case for new coal power plants is rather poor in India and most parts of the world), it makes sense for coal companies to consider syngas as their futur saviour.

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