Economic Undertakings

Development of the first pilot plant to convert high ash coal to methanol, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

New Delhi: India has developed indigenous technology to convert Indian high ash coal into methanol and has established its first pilot plant in Hyderabad, the Science and Technology Ministry said on Friday. This technology will help the country move towards adopting clean technologies and promote the use of methanol as a transportation fuel (blended with gasoline), thereby reducing crude oil imports, he added.

The extensive process of converting coal to methanol includes converting coal to syngas (syngas), cleaning and conditioning syngas, converting syngas to methanol and purifying methanol, a- he declared.

Coal-to-methanol plants in most countries operate on low-ash coals. Managing the high ash and the heat required to melt that large amount of ash is a challenge in the case of Indian coal, which typically has a high demand content, he said.

In order to overcome this challenge, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) developed the fluidized bed gasification technology suitable for Indian high ash coal to produce syngas, then convert the syngas to methanol with a purity of 99%.

BHEL has integrated its existing pilot coal to syngas plant in Hyderabad with a suitable downstream process to convert syngas to methanol.

This pilot project with a methanol production capacity of 0.25 metric tons per day was started by NITI Aayog and funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) as part of the Clean Energy Research Initiative , according to the press release.

Currently, the pilot plant produces methanol with a purity of over 99%. Its scaling up will help make optimal use of the country’s energy reserves and accelerate its path to self-sufficiency, he added.

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