The Indian minister of coal, Sriprakash Jaiswal, has called for the adoption of clean coal technologies, including coal gasification and coal liquefaction, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Indian coal industry and reduce the greenhouse gas (GSG) emissions.
Speaking at the inaugural function of Coal Gas 2010, a global summit on coal gasification, the minister said that proper environmental management and mine reclamation should be focused on by coal producers in order to increase the credibility of coal mining in society. He said that the coal sector must adopt best practices and state-of-the-art technologies for improving production, productivity and safety to be competitive in the market.
“To promote clean coal technology research, development and deployment, more detailed countermeasures are required to ensure the reliability and economy of commercial-scale utilisation of clean coal technologies. There is [an] urgent need for [the] adoption of clean coal technologies, including coal washing, coalbed methane (CBM), coal mine methane (CMM), underground coal gasification (UCG) and coal liquefaction, as these are also important in improving coal use in an environment friendly manner,” Jaiswal said.
Jaiswal also said that the Ministry of Coal was working with the Ministry of Environment and Forests to help expedite clearances for new and existing projects. State Governments were also being asked to cooperate in the timely acquisition of land for coal projects and to resolve the issue of rehabilitation of people affected by those projects.
Calling for an increase in domestic production to meet projected demand for energy, the minister pointed out that coal demand, which reached about 550 million t in 2008/09, is expected to exceed 2 billion t by 2031/32. While the public sector is leading production, the Government has increased the number of players by allotting a number of captive blocks to augment production within the existing legislative framework. The growth in production of 5.4% achieved in the past three and half decades would need to increase to over 7% in the coming decade in order to match the growing demand for coal, he added.
Jaiswal said that strengthening the infrastructure for coal transportation and handling and port infrastructure for facilitating large-scale imports are some of the critical areas that need to be concentrated on for increasing production and dispatch of coal. He also emphasised the need for large coal consumers, such as the power sector, to adopt technologies for improving energy utilisation from coal in order to reduce emission levels of GHGs.
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