Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology
5) Coal to Liquid technology might prove to be an end to India’s energy crisis. Discuss. (250 words)
Why this question
The article explains what Coal to Liquid aka Coal liquefaction technology is and the advantages it holds for a country like India. At a time when the country is bearing the brunt of high crude price, the technology offers an alternative to the energy situation of India. The topic is important for SnT and Energy section of paper 3.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to first explain what CTL technology is, and the advantages that it has for India. Thereafter, we need to bring out the challenges that India might face in utilization of this technology and provide a way forward.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain the current situation with respect to energy such as the crude oil prices, the infrastructural and other bottlenecks in case of renewable etc to establish the need of CTL.
- Explain what CTL technology is – involves gasification of coal, which in turn will produce synthetic gas (a mix of CO+H2). The synthetic gas can be liquefied to its fuel equivalent in presence of cobalt/iron-based catalysts at higher pressure and temperature. However, liquefied coal emits twice as much CO2 as burning oil. It also emits a large volume of SO2.
- Discuss the issues and the benefits of using this technology
- Issues – high capital cost, necessity of huge coal reserves, high emission of CO2 and SO2 etc
- Examine whether these issues can be resolved
- Benefits – increasing oil prices; desire for energy independence and security; and the potential for co-development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Shed some light on how India can go ahead and adopt this technology – India had huge coal reserves, foreign companies are already looking forward to investing in Indian CTL plants etc
Conclusion – give your view on how effective this would be for India and discuss the way forward.