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Coal-to-Gas route vital to power India

Coal-to-Gas route vital to power India


Germany intends to do away with burning coal to produce power, to stem carbon emissions, by 2038 at the latest. The plan there is to boost use of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, and renewable energy. We, in lower-middle-income India, need to leverage our large coal reserves to proactively adapt proven technologies to rapidly shore up thermal efficiency in power generation, and carry out-diffusion of cutting-edge emission-abatement equipment nationally, even as we actively seek to raise the share of renewables in our energy mix.

The new Telangana plant of NTPC, India largest power producer, uses ultra-supercritical technology, and its upcoming Chhattisgarh plant is to incorporate advanced ultra-supercritical systems duly adapted for the Indian grades of coal. A conventional sub-critical power plant has a thermal efficiency of barely 30%, while supercritical and ultra-supercritical plants have efficiency levels of 45% or higher. It means generating 50% more power using the same amount of coal.

The way forward is to further boost thermal efficiency levels up to 60% by setting up combined-cycle plants by speedily adopting proven technologies for coal gasification well adapted to suit Indian conditions. We are reportedly seeking coal gasification technology from the US, which clearly needs expediting.

In tandem, we need to deploy, extensively, abatement equipment such as electrostatic precipitators, catalytic reducers, and flue-gas desulphurisation units. In parallel, older 210 MW and 500 MW units need scrapping, and more efficient 800 MW units installed. India must step up R&D in carbon capture and storage as well. Such reforms have to be paid for. Reform of state power utility finances and stamping out leakage in power sector revenue leakage brook no delay.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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