New Delhi: Asserting that the time is right to start thinking about diversified use of coal as production is expected to reach surplus levels in the next two years, Coal Secretary Amrit Lal Meena said that the government is open to offering land in the eastern part of the country in areas where coal companies are operating for setting up coal-to-hydrogen projects. “We see definite ray of hope in converting coal to hydrogen,” said the top bureaucrat on Friday while delivering the key note address on “Blue Hydrogen-Energy Security and Hydrogen Economy” organised by the Coal Ministry.
“In India, coal is in abundance and its production is being ramped up. So, after meeting the requirements of the various other sectors of the economy, we will have surplus availability of coal in the time to come. Therefore, this is the moment when we should think of diversified use of coal to other chemical products,” said the Coal Secretary.
The Coal Secretary urged the industry to associate with the government in an advisory role in the formulation of policies to ensure its effectiveness. “The current policy framework is a mix of some financial incentives and some viability gap funding (VGF) which will be rolled out in the times to come. Apart from these incentives, in the eastern part of the country where coal companies are operating, we have enormous land. And we also have a policy of offering land on long-term lease for setting up of energy projects. We also have water. So, apart from these financial and tax incentives, these things are also available,” Meena said.
The welcome address was delivered by Additional Coal Secretary M Nagaraju, who outlined the policy initiatives taken by the ministry to promote coal gasification to meet the energy demands of the country in a sustainable way. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mandated that 100 MT of coal should be gasified by 2030.
Debasish Nanda, Director (BD) at Coal India Limited (CIL), presented the report of a committee he chairs on the Green Hydrogen Mission, offering a comprehensive analysis of the current status, challenges and future prospects of green hydrogen production in the country.
A panel discussion was also chaired by Nanda and coordinated by Peeyush Kumar, OSD (Clean coal technologies), Ministry of Coal. During the presentations and discussions, many new ideas came up for strategising the way ahead. The session was dedicated to discussing the potential of hydrogen in decarbonising steel-making processes and shared views on innovative approaches and technologies to reduce carbon emissions in the steel industry, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future. The discussion also focussed on exploring the potential applications of hydrogen in scaling Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) projects.
The program was attended by officials of NITI Aayog, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Fertiliser, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Heavy Industries, IICT Hyderabad, CSIR besides officials from CIL, CMPDI, WCL, SECL, MCL, EIL, PDIL, BHEL, SCCL, NLCIL, SAIL, RIL, TATA STEEL, JSPL, Dev Energy, CGAI, CAPSEC and PSU watch. Discussion pertaining to the development of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology, which plays a crucial role in mitigating carbon emissions, was also held and emphasised the importance of sustainable practices.
“The half-day session witnessed fruitful exchanges of ideas and knowledge on future uses of Hydrogen. The Ministry of Coal remains committed to promoting clean and sustainable energy solutions and will continue to facilitate such discussions to drive the nation's progress toward a hydrogen-based economy,” said the Coal Ministry.