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India Launches First Pilot Project for Underground Coal Gasification in Jharkhand

Underground Coal Gasification

The Ministry of Coal has launched India’s first pilot project for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) at the Kasta coal block in Jamtara District, Jharkhand. This initiative, spearheaded by Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), marks a significant step in diversifying the coal sector. UCG aims to convert coal into valuable gases such as methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, which can be used to produce synthetic natural gas, chemical feedstocks for fuels, fertilizers, explosives, and other industrial applications.

The pilot project, a pioneering effort in the Indian coal industry, seeks to exploit coal resources that are otherwise economically unviable through traditional mining methods. This initiative represents a major milestone for Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries, positioning India as a leader in advanced coal gasification technologies.

In December 2015, the Ministry of Coal approved a comprehensive policy framework for UCG in coal and lignite-bearing areas. In line with this policy, Coal India selected the Kasta coal block to implement UCG technology suited to Indian geo-mining conditions. Managed by ECL in collaboration with CMPDI Ranchi and Ergo Exergy Technologies Inc. (EETI) from Canada, the two-year project comprises two phases.

The first phase, initiated on June 22, 2024, involves preparing a Technical Feasibility Report through borehole drilling and core testing. The second phase will focus on pilot-scale coal gasification. This ambitious research and development project, funded by the CIL R&D Board, exemplifies the collaboration between Eastern Coalfields Ltd and Ergo Exergy as sub-implementing agencies.

This project aims to set new standards in coal resource utilization, enhancing energy security and promoting sustainable development. As the pilot progresses, it will contribute to India’s journey towards energy self-reliance, showcasing the sustainable and efficient use of the nation’s coal resources. The Ministry remains dedicated to fostering innovation and efficiency in the coal sector, paving the way for a resilient and environmentally sustainable energy future for India.

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