Coal Gasification in India: What is It, Benefits and Disadvantages

Coal gasification is an alternate process of producing energy using coal. With the Indian government encouraging employing it nationwide, it’s important to know what coal gasification is and why it's needed. Read on to find out.
Coal Gasification in India: What is It, Benefits and Disadvantages
Coal Gasification in India: What is It, Benefits and Disadvantages

Coal is responsible for covering more than half of India’s energy needs. But like all fossil fuels, it’s non-renewable and very polluting. India needs sustainable and cleaner energy sources if it wants to develop and achieve economic milestones.

Coal gasification is an alternative and better way of exploiting coal reserves to produce energy. It’s also more environment-friendly and can reduce carbon emissions if used correctly.

What is Coal Gasification?

Coal releases a lot of energy upon combustion and is used in thermal power plants to generate electricity. Another major use of coal is to produce coal gas or town gas, but it’s not much prevalent nowadays.

Coal is considered to be the most polluting fossil fuel. Its by-products include several greenhouse gases, predominantly carbon dioxide (CO2). During gasification, coal is partially oxidised at extremely high temperatures, instead of being directly burned,  resulting in emission of syngas.

Syngas is a mixture of CO2, carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4), and water vapour. Syngas has wide-ranging usage in the agriculture, energy, and chemical industries.

Benefits of Coal Gasification

As evident from the Ukraine crisis, fuel sources hold the power to undermine a country’s functioning. India, being a diplomatically neutral country, managed to make the most of the situation, but it still needs more self-reliance when it comes to meeting energy demands. Coal gasification is a much-needed step in that direction.

Also, addressing climate change and global warming is the need of the hour. Coal gasification is a cleaner, less-polluting method of processing coal. It emits less carbon upon burning, and other polluting gases like CO2 can be easily separated, captured, and put to other uses.

The syngas derived from coal gasification can also be further treated to create fuels like gasoline and diesel. Other by-products of coal gasification, like hydrogen, can be used to make ammonia, explore alternate fuel sources or in the petrochemical industry.

Disadvantages of Coal Gasification

Coal gasification actually emits much more carbon dioxide than other processes. Coal gasification reduces overall waste, but it still releases a substantial amount of CO2.

Coal gasification is also a more energy and water-intensive process than traditional methods. But it’s a relatively new method and is still evolving. However, coal gasification’s potential benefits far outweigh its disadvantages.

 

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FAQ

Is coal gasification better than other methods of utilizing coal?

Yes. In most aspects, coal gasification is a much better process of mining energy using coal. It’s more environment-friendly and produces less hazardous waste.

What are benefits of coal gasification?

Some of the by-products of coal gasification are ammonia and hydrogen, which is considered as an alternate and eco-friendly energy source. Coal gasification also leads to better utlisation of coal and produces by-products that can also be used in agriculture and petrochemical industries.

How does coal gasification affect the environment?

Coal gasification produces more carbon dioxide than other methods but less methane, and less toxic waste. CO2 is the leading cause of global warming but during coal gasification, it can be easily captured and put to other uses.
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