In an innovative move, the union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan proposed to public sector undertakings (PSUs) to create startup funds on the lines of private sector in order to promote innovation and nurture new ideas in the energy sector.
“I am advising my CEO friends in PSUs that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for startups and so can Narayana Murthy, then why can’t you?” asked Pradhan while addressing a conference on methanol economy organised by NITI Aayog.
On this occasion, NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent with the Methanol Institute of the US to further work on the technology.
“ONGC has already offered Rs 100 crore for startups. Can we create a synergy in innovation and this kind of startup fund?” the minister asked. This, he said, can be a win-win situation for all.
“Let us create a platform for our young Indians and scientific brains,” he said.
On moving to methanol-based economy, Pradhan said, it is a ready made case of proven technology.
A methanol-based economy can create a lot of employment and entrepreneurship.
While supporting promotion of methanol manufacturing & economy in India, Pradhan advocated for linking it to Indian farmers.
— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) September 6, 2016
“The raw material (for producing methanol) should be coming from the Indian market. If we could monetise the agriculture waste and bio waste in urban areas to energy then there will be two benefits – sizeable reduction of health expenditure and our economy can be multi-fold,” he said.
Pradhan noted that Methanol will not only reduce oil & gas import dependence, it will also contribute towards Hon’ble PM’s vision of Energy Justice.
“How do we reduce our import dependency? My ministry is ready to offer Rs 1 lakh crore business to scientific community. Now India is importing Rs 4.5 lakh crore worth of hydrocarbons. We have the required technology and blending of 85% of ethanol in transportation fuel is possible,” he added.
Storing energy as Methanol could reduce dependence on fossil fuels.India 2 use its coal reserves 2 produce methanol pic.twitter.com/WpITf1XUti
— Amitabh Kant (@amitabhk87) September 6, 2016
Pradhan also said that petroleum consumption is increasing in the country. “Last financial year, the petroleum consumption was predcited at 7-8% but the actual growth was 11%. Petroleum need is growing in a bigger way. The rural India is emerging in a big way. Petrol consumption is increasing in hinterland of the country,” he added.
Realising the potential of methanol and DME (dimethyl ether) as a transportation fuel in road, shipping and rail, NITI Aayog has constituted an expert group to develop a roadmap for India to adopt ‘methanol economy.’
The group will explore various techno commercial angles to enhance production of methanol through natural gas, high ash content coal and through bio, agri and municipal solid waste. It will also draw out a technical roadmap to adopt both methanol and DME as chemical feedstock and for power generation.