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Coal Gasification

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Coal Gasification


What to study?

For Prelims: What is coal gasification? Byproducts.

For Mains: Benefits, concerns and challenges.


Context: Government has awarded Lump Sum Turn Key (LSTK) contract for Coal Gasification Plant PF Talcher Fertilizers Limited to M/s Wuhuan Engineering Co. Ltd, China as a part of measures to revival closed units of Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. (FCIL) and Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Ltd (HFCL).


Benefits of gasification:

  • Transporting gas is a lot cheaper than transporting coal.
  • Help address local pollution problems.
  • Has greater efficiency than conventional coal-burning because it can effectively use the gases twice: the coal gases are first cleansed of impurities and fired in a turbine to generate electricity. Then, the exhaust heat from the gas turbine can be captured and used to generate steam for a steam turbine-generator.


Concerns and challenges:

  1. Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production.
  2. There are concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of waste water safely.


What is Underground coal gasification?

The process involves pumping oxygen and steam through a small borehole into the coal seam to produce a small and controlled combustion. Unlike coal-bed methane, therefore, the actual coal is converted from a solid state into gas. The hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide and CO2 are then siphoned off through a second borehole.


Sources: pib.