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Ministry of Coal Boosts Make in India Drive in Coal Mining Sector

Government of India’s Ministry of Coal Advances Clean Coal Initiatives for Sustainable Energy Transition


New Delhi:   In a bold move towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future, the Ministry of Coal, Government of India, is unwavering in its commitment to promoting coal production and ensuring surplus supply while concurrently pivoting towards renewable energy sources. Recognizing the urgency to address environmental concerns and reduce carbon emissions, the Ministry is championing the cause of clean coal technology, particularly coal gasification, aligning with the Government’s vision for a resilient and sustainable energy ecosystem.

India’s energy landscape heavily relies on coal, constituting nearly 70% of total electricity generation and serving as a crucial input in various industries such as steel, sponge iron, cement, and paper. Embracing initiatives like ‘Make In India,’ the Ministry foresees increased demand and higher economic growth projections.

To introduce cleaner coal technologies, the Government has initiated several clean coal programs, notably the Coal Gasification Mission. This mission aims to gasify 100 million tonnes of coal by 2030 through surface coal/lignite gasification projects. Collaborative efforts have been highlighted in advancing Surface Coal Gasification (SCG) projects, particularly in Coal India Limited (CIL) coalfields. Strategic bilateral agreements signed in October 2022, including Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between BHEL & CIL and IOCL, GAIL & CIL, emphasize cooperation and expertise in driving SCG project implementation.

To bolster these initiatives, a proposed financial assistance scheme, with an allocation of ₹ 8500 crores, aims to incentivize coal gasification projects by Government Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and the private sector. The scheme intends to demonstrate the financial and technical viability of gasification projects, accelerate markets for downstream products, and create an additional value chain in the economy for coal.

Landmark strides have been made through joint venture agreements (JVAs), with the approval of equity investment proposals by CIL in JVs of CIL-GAIL and CIL-BHEL. A formal agreement has been signed between CIL and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for setting up an ammonium nitrate plant through coal gasification (SCG) in Odisha, poised to revolutionize indigenous technology. A Joint Venture Agreement between CIL and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) is also under consideration to establish an SCG project at Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL).

The adoption of gasification technology is expected to revolutionize India’s coal sector, reducing dependence on imports of Natural Gas, Methanol, Ammonia, and other essential products. This move aligns with India’s vision of becoming Aatmanirbhar and is anticipated to generate a surge in employment opportunities. The implementation of coal gasification is projected to significantly contribute to reducing imports by 2030.

The Government is actively engaged in various clean coal initiatives, including the extraction of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) gases, exploring Coal to Hydrogen, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and coal beneficiation through washeries. Prioritizing research and development, the government aims to enhance coal utilization efficiency and develop innovative technologies for long-term competitiveness and sustainability.

The Ministry of Coal remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting coal gasification projects, recognizing their immense potential to transform coal into various valuable products. The proposed scheme and incentives aim to attract both Government PSUs and the private sector, fostering innovation, investment, and sustainable development in the coal gasification sector.

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