Opinion | Turning Dirty Coal Into Clean Energy

Opinion | Turning Dirty Coal Into Clean Energy

If India’s need for energy security (reduction in energy imports) seems at odds with its need for clean energy (reduction in energy related air pollution), can indigenous coal provide some relief to a large and complex problem? The answer is yes, if new technologies are adopted for gasifying coal and usher in the methanol economy.

The lyrics of the Kaala re (coal bazaari) song from the 2012 film Gangs of Wasseypur 2 centres around coal being dark and dirty. The song aptly describes the concerns about our coal. Indian coal has gained this reputation due to its high ash content and there is a global campaign to phase out coal completely.

India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to have grown at 6.7% in 2017-18, which could rise to 8% in the future depending on the effectiveness of economic reforms. As GDP growth is positively correlated to energy requirement, we can expect strong energy demand in the coming years. Given that India is rich in coal reserves, there could be a way in which we can create clean energy security through coal to meet our growing demand. Read more

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