Mechanised loading of coal at CIL has significantly reduced CO2 emissions: Pilot study

  • At Lingaraj OCP, having 16 MT CHP/silo loading capacity per annum, the pilot study established an overall 54 percent drop in CO2 emissions
  • In case of Gevra, which has 10 MTs CHP/silo capacity, the reduction in CO2 emissions was around 21 percent 

New Delhi: Coal India Ltd’s (CIL) efforts to minimise carbon emissions and environmental pollution through implementation of mechanised coal transportation and loading through coal handling plants (CHP)/Silos has resulted in significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) and other air pollutants, a first-of-its-kind pilot study sponsored by CIL in two of its opencast mines has revealed. In a bid to reduce emissions for cleaner environment, CIL, in a major step, is switching over to mechanised transportation of coal through conveyor belts and loading by CHP/Silos under its first mile connectivity (FMC) initiative. 

In addition to 151 million tonnes (MTs) of coal currently transported through this means, CIL has identified 35 coal mining projects where additional 415 MTs of coal would be loaded through environment-friendly CHP/silos by 2023-24. To come up at an investment of around Rs 10,500 crore, FMC projects would lift the total mechanised loading quantity to 566 MTs, said Coal India in an official statement on Wednesday.

CIL investing Rs 3,750 cr on 21 new rail sidings

CIL is dovetailing FMC projects with main rail lines, strengthening the rail connectivity at an investment of approximately Rs 2,335 crore. The company is also investing Rs 3,750 crore, in 21 new rail sidings. Evacuation of coal is more challenging. Silo loading compared to prevalent loading through sidings also leads to productivity gain on quality and quantity fronts.

At a time when the country under COP 26 commitment has pledged reduction of CO2 emissions towards net zero march, CIL’s effort in this regard would help the national cause, said the statement. 

Study focussed on mechanised loading of coal in MCL, SECL mines

CIL has engaged the services of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute a unit of Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) to evaluate potential environmental advantages of loading coal through CHP/Silos in Lingaraj and Gevra opencast projects of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) and South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), respectively, as a dipstick survey.

“The result of the study is encouraging. Mechanised loading offers a bouquet of environmental benefits like reduced CO2 emissions, other air pollutants and ambient noise levels. Reliability in coal despatches also increases especially during monsoon as silo loading avoids road transport,” said a senior official of the company. 

Study reveals 54% drop in emissions due to mechanised loading

With MCL's Lingaraj OCP having 16 MT CHP/silo loading capacity per annum, the pilot study established an annual reduction of 10,288 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This indicates overall 54 percent drop in emissions compared to despatch through rail sidings. Reduction in particulate matter and other gaseous emission was around 73 percent, which translates into a better quality of life. 

In case of SECL's Gevra, which has 10 MTs CHP/silo capacity, the reduction in CO2 emissions was 1,658 tonnes per year for loading through silos, around 21 percent reduction against loading through sidings. There was a reduction of around 84 percent in particulate matter and other gaseous emissions. 

Though CIL has constructed bypass roads for trucks, mechanised loading leads to reduced density on road network, enhancing better road safety and lowering accidents.

Mechanised loading cuts diesel, road transportation costs

Another offshoot of mechanised loading is savings that accrue out of decrease in diesel consumption and road transportation costs. A total saving of 58.38 lakh litres of diesel from pay loaders and tippers was indicated in Lingaraj OCP, entailing a benefit of Rs 105 crore, including transportation costs. In case of Gevra, savings on diesel was to the tune of 26.95 lakh litres, benefitting a little over Rs 65 crore, including transportation costs. Diesel price considered was of January-February when the study was conducted.  

Environmental and economic benefits would be significant when FMC projects of 415 MTs capacity become operational by 2024.

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