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India’s Ministry of Coal initiates underground coal gasification project

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World Coal,

Under the strategic direction of the Ministry of Coal, Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) has embarked on an innovative pilot project for underground coal gasification (UCG) at the Kasta coal block in Jamtara District, Jharkhand.

This project underscores the Ministry’s proactive diversification efforts within the coal sector. 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 utilised to produce synthetic natural gas, chemical feedstocks for fuels, fertilizers, explosives, and other industrial applications. The Ministry of Coal is fully committed to promoting coal gasification projects, recognising their potential to transform coal into various high-value chemical products.

UCG 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 Ltd (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, CIL 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 of two phases.

The first phase, which commenced on 22 June 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 ECL 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 Ministry of Coal is committed to providing unwavering support for the successful implementation of this pioneering initiative and looks forward to its positive impact on India’s energy landscape.

Led by ECL, this strategic initiative represents a significant advancement in coal gasification technology, enhancing energy security and promoting sustainable development. As the pilot project progresses, it aims to establish new standards in coal resource utilisation, contributing to India’s journey towards energy self-reliance.

The Ministry remains dedicated to fostering innovation and efficiency in the coal sector, paving the way for a resilient and environmentally sustainable energy future for the nation.

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