Conversion of high ash Indian coal to methanol
Part of: GS-Prelims
In News: India has developed an indigenous technology to convert high ash Indian coal to methanol and established its first pilot plant in Hyderabad.
- Will help the country move towards the adoption of clean technology
- Will promote the use of methanol as a transportation fuel (blending with petrol), thus reducing crude oil imports.
Process and Challenge:
- The broad process of converting coal into methanol consists of conversion of coal to synthesis (syngas) gas, syngas cleaning and conditioning, syngas to methanol conversion, and methanol purification.
- Coal to methanol plants in most countries are operated with low ash coals. Handling of high ash and heat required to melt this high amount of ash is a challenge in the case of Indian coal, which generally has high ask content.
- Currently, the pilot plant is producing methanol with purity of more than 99%. Scaling it up will help in optimum utilization of the country’s energy reserves and accelerate its journey towards self-reliance.
- Methanol could be the most promising option for large-scale market penetration of a natural gas-based fuel for light-duty vehicles because of its low fuel cost and low additional cost relative to powering a vehicle with gasoline. Methanol will cut down India’s oil import bill by an estimated 20 per cent over the next few years.
News Source: PIB