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Coal Ministry launches India’s first ever pilot project for underground coal gasification

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New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Coal India subsidiary Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) has embarked on an innovative pilot project for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) at the Kasta coal block in Jharkhand’s Jamtara district as part of a strategic initiative launched by the Ministry of Coal, according to an official statement issued on Monday.

“This first ever groundbreaking initiative aims to revolutionise the coal industry by using in-situ coal gasification to convert it into valuable gases such as methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These gases can be utilized to produce synthetic natural gas, chemical feedstocks for fuels, fertilizers, explosives, and other industrial applications,” according to a Coal Ministry statement.

The Ministry of Coal is promoting coal gasification projects, recognising their potential to transform coal into various high-value chemical products.

Underground Coal Gasification offers a significant advantage by providing access to coal resources that are economically unviable through traditional mining methods.

This pilot project represents a significant milestone for Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries, positioning India as a leader in adopting advanced coal gasification technologies.

In December 2015, the Ministry of Coal approved a comprehensive policy framework for UCG in coal and lignite-bearing areas.

In alignment with this policy, Coal India selected the Kasta coal block to implement UCG technology tailored to Indian geo-mining conditions. Managed by ECL in collaboration with CMPDI Ranchi and Ergo Exergy Technologies Inc. (EETI) from Canada, this project spans two years and comprises two phases.

The first phase, which commenced on June 22, 2024, involves preparing a Technical Feasibility Report through borehole drilling and core testing. The second phase will focus on coal gasification at a pilot scale.

This ambitious R&D project, funded by the CIL R&D Board, exemplifies collaboration between Eastern Coalfields Ltd and Ergo Exergy as sub-implementing agencies.

The successful execution of this pilot project is expected to create transformative opportunities for India's energy sector, showcasing the sustainable and efficient use of the country's coal resources, the Coal Ministry statement added.

--IANS

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