New Delhi: Bringing green methanol production to scale will allow India to achieve a crucial Panchamrit milestone of reducing 1 Billion Tonnes (BT) of carbon emissions in the next four-five years itself, said NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohit Bhargava on Thursday. Making a strong case for including green methanol in India's energy transition discourse along with green hydrogen and green ammonia, Bhargava said that green methanol can help the thermal power sector in tackling one of its biggest challenges — reducing carbon emissions.
"We have been talking about green hydrogen and green ammonia. We also need to start talking about green methanol. For all the people in the thermal power sector, one of the biggest challenges that needs to be tackled is reducing carbon emission. Green methanol is an opportunity which actually enables us to use green hydrogen, capture carbon dioxide, use both of them and produce green methanol," said Bhargava while speaking at Confederation of Indian Industry's (CII) 'India @2030: A Roadmap for Atma Nirbhar Bharat in Renewable Energy' conference on Thursday.
"In terms of cost, there's a challenge today. But we are sure that the way we can bring down the hydrogen production cost and carbon capture cost are more or less established. There are technologies worldwide," said Bhargava. The NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd's CEO said that the Maharatna PSU is in the process of setting up a pilot project at its Vindhyachal power plant in Madhya Pradesh, which will feature India's first carbon capture plant. As a pilot project, the facility will be set up in Vindhyachal, wherein carbon dioxide emitted from the plant will be mixed with hydrogen to form methanol. Bhargava said that green methanol is especially of interest to NTPC because it is India's largest power utility.
Bhargava stressed that green methanol production is something which can be done on scale. "It will also help in achieving one of the other targets set out by the Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Glasgow as part of the Panchamrit numbers…reducing 1 BT of carbon emission (by 2030). That can be done in the next four-five years if we can bring green methanol to scale," he said.
"Along with green hydrogen and green ammonia, green methanol also needs to be considered as one of the important pillars in this journey of energy transition," the NREL CEO added.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and sequestration is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) before it enters the atmosphere, transporting it, and storing it (carbon sequestration). The technology is yet to be deployed at commercial scale in India, but it is considered crucial for ensuring cleaner utilisation of coal until the time it is phased out. India, which has the world's third-largest coal reserves in the world, is keen on utilising coal for the next 15 years at least to meet the growing power demand of the economy. Carbon Capture is a technology which will allow India to use coal while reducing its carbon emissions. NTPC, being India's largest thermal power generator, is keen on leveraging the technology in order to reduce its carbon footprint.