Thermax is in the process of manufacturing methanol from coal, a technological breakthrough that would help India step up domestic production of the green fuel and cut dependence on imports.
Sources said the private player shared this information in a recent interaction with Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari.
India should be able to have its own 1500- 5000 TPD (tonnes per day) plant by 2023 and all licensing will be Indian, Thermax reportedly informed the minister.
This came in a high-level meeting of various ministries, ports and industry players chaired by Gadkari recently.
Addressing the meeting, sources said, Union minister Nitin Gadkari had exhorted industry players to explore possibility of producing green fuels like methanol from high-ash coal. India currently imports methanol from Saudi Arabia and Iran to meet domestic shortage of the green fuel.
Specifically, sources said, Gadkari asked global players like Volvo and Stena Lines in a recent interaction if automobiles and ships could be run on methanol. Gadkari asked players like Larsen and Toubro and Thermax whether they could develop technology for it.
Former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat were also present in the meeting, sources said .
The transport minister asked NITI Aayog to study automobile specifications that China has developed for running its fleet on ethanol.
“Most of the countries produced it from gas but in India it would be economically viable if we derive it from high-ash coal as India is surplus in coal generation,” Gadkari said.
“This government is committed to promote clean fuel. We have lots of coal mines….I had a meeting with the Prime Minister,” he said.