Work on to have Coal-to-Methanol plants in India: Union min Puri

Guwahati, Jan 24 (PTI) Work is in progress to set up Coal-to-Methanol plants in the country using indigenous technology, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.

BHEL (Hyderabad and Trichy), Thermax, and IIT Delhi are working on the project, the Union minister said while inaugurating the demo run of an Inland Water Vessel powered by Methanol blended Diesel (MD15) on the Brahmaputra here.

The low-carbon boat ride was done on a 50-seater motor launch marine vessel named ‘SB Gangadhar’ by Puri and Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameshwar Teli.

Methanol is a cost-effective alternative marine fuel, less expensive than other marine fuels and is economical in terms of developing shoreside storage and bunkering infrastructure, Puri said.

Assam Petrochemical Limited (APL), Namrup, currently produces about 100 TPD of Methanol and is implementing a new project for the production of 500 TPD of Methanol, Puri said at the event, organised as a part of the run-up to the India Energy Week 2023 (IEW 2023) to be held in Bengaluru from February 6 to 8 next.

NITI Aayog’s ‘Methanol Economy’ programme is aimed at reducing the country’s oil import bill, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and converting coal reserves and municipal solid waste into methanol.

The cost to convert vessels to run on methanol is significantly less than other alternative fuel conversions with no need for expensive exhaust gas after treatment and as a liquid fuel, only minor modifications are needed for existing storage and bunkering infrastructure to handle methanol.

Blending of 15 per cent methanol in gasoline can result in at least a 15 per cent reduction in the import of gasoline/crude oil.

In addition, this would bring down GHG emissions by 20 per cent in terms of particulate matter, thereby improving the urban air quality, he said.

Methanol is a low-carbon hydrogen carrier fuel produced from high ash coal, agricultural residue, CO2 from thermal power plants and natural gas.

Although slightly lower in energy content than petrol and diesel, methanol can replace both these fuels in the transport sector (road, rail and marine), the energy sector (comprising DG sets, boilers, process heating modules, tractors, and commercial vehicles) and retail cooking (replacing LPG [partially], kerosene and wood charcoal.

India Energy Week- 2023 is the first major event under India’s G20 Presidency, which follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge at the global climate summit, COP26, to cut India’s emissions to net zero by 2070. PTI