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National Coal Gasification Mission

 

National Coal Gasification Mission: Relevance

  • GS 3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

National Coal Gasification Mission: Context

  • Recently, Ministry of Coal has prepared a blueprint for the ‘National Coal Gasification Mission’ to encourage investments in coal sector.

 

National Coal Gasification Mission: Key points

  • The Ministry has proposed 15% methanol-blending target with petrol to encourage investments in the sector.
  • The Ministry also proposes massive tax waivers to incentivise coal gasification, which can lead to eco-friendly alternate utility of the fuel.
    • According to the blueprint, such waivers will not entail any revenue loss as it is proposed only on incremental coal use only for gasification.
  • Last year, our Prime Minister had said that Rs 20,000 crore will be invested in coal gasification projects by 2030 to utilise 100 million tonnes of coal.

 

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Coal gasification: Why needed?

  • Most of India’s known coal deposits are non-recoverable as they are deep, scattered and covered by forests.
  • Underground coal gasification could help extract this plentiful reserve.

 

Read about: Coal Crisis in India

 

Coal gasification process

  • Coal can be gasified to turn it into a cleaner syngas or synthesis gas which constitutes the basic building block of the chemical industry.
    • Syngas: A mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
  • Syngas can then be converted into a wide range of products such as methanol and olefins of which India is at present a net importer.
  • The syngas technology allows conversion of non-mineable coal/lignite into combustible gases through in situ gasification of the material.

 

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Methanol importance

  • Domestic production of methanol from coal is seen to help in import substitution and ensure steady supplies at a less volatile price range.
  • Almost 90% of domestic methanol requirement is met through imports.
  • According to the experts, a typical gasification facility needs about $2 billion of investment and can produce between 1 and 2 MT of methanol a year and it is estimated that 5-6 MT of coal would be required to produce 2 MT of methanol.

 

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