New Delhi: India need not wait for green hydrogen to become commercially viable, it can already start producing blue hydrogen from coal mined from its abundant reserves, said RK Malhotra, Member of India’s task force on coal-based hydrogen production and a former Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Indian Oil Corporation. “Teamed with carbon management, coal-to-hydrogen technology can help meet the primary goals of a Hydrogen economy. Coal can be a cornerstone for the diverse hydrogen supply mix,” said Malhotra while delivering a talk during a session organised by the World Mining Congress on hydrogen economy on February 24.
Arguing for seeding the hydrogen economy through blue hydrogen, Malhotra called for expeditious integration of CCUS technologies with coal gasification. “Blue hydrogen even today is a techno-economically feasible pathway for the hydrogen economy, industrial decarbonisation and reaching India’s net zero goals,” he said.
“Industrial scale and commercially established technologies amenable for gasification of Indian coals and addition of CCUS will be cost-effective solution for providing low-cost clean energy with energy security,” said Malhotra. The current CCUS technologies available in the market have can reduce carbon emission from carbon-intensive projects by 80-90 percent.
“The roadmap for coal gasification may be eventually setting up commercial plants of 7,500-25,000 TPD at different pithead locations for utilisation of up to 100 MMTPA coal for the production of value-added products. Hydrogen produced from coal can reduce dependence on import of natural gas and can be injected in natural gas for use as HCNG fuel in vehicles and H+PNG mixture fuel in cooking,” said Malhotra.
Since India has ample coal reserves, gasification of coal to produce syngas and then further extraction of hydrogen from syn gas using CCUS is an alternative for India to start the production of blue hydrogen. Currently, there is only one operational coal gasification project in India. It is run by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) in its Angul plant. Earlier, investors had complained about the lack of availability of coal for gasification. To address this, Coal India Ltd (CIL) has introduced a separate auction window for coal gasification. In addition, the government has also announced several incentives for companies who want to use coal blocks won under the commercial mining regime for coal gasification.
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