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Coal gasification:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Infrastructure – Energy.



To help India become energy independent, the Ministry of Coal has proposed 50% concession in revenue share to promote coal gasification.



If the successful bidder consumes the coal produced either in its own plant(s) or plant of its holding, subsidiary, affiliate, associate for coal gasification or liquefaction or sells the coal for coal gasification or liquefaction on an yearly basis, subject to conditions that at least 10% of scheduled coal production as per approved mining plan for that year shall be consumed or sold for gasification or liquefaction, then the bidder can avail of concessions.


What is Coal Gasification?

  • It is considered a cleaner option compared to burning coal.
  • It is the process of producing syngas, a mixture consisting of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), natural gas (CH4), and water vapour (H2O).


How is it done?

It facilitates utilization of the chemical properties of coal.

  • During gasification, coal is blown with oxygen and steam while also being heated under high pressure.
  • During the reaction, oxygen and water molecules oxidize the coal and produce syngas.



  • Transporting gas is a lot cheaper than transporting coal.
  • Help address local pollution problems.
  • Has greater efficiency than conventional coal-burning.


Concerns and challenges:

  • Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production.
  • There are also concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of waste water safely.



India’s Coal dependency:

India is the second largest importer, consumer and producer of coal, and has the world’s fourth largest reserves (Reference). It mainly imports from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.


Recent Reforms In Coal Sector:

Commercial mining of coal allowed, with 50 blocks to be offered to the private sector.

Entry norms liberalised as it has done away with the regulation requiring power plants to use “washed” coal.

Coal blocks to be offered to private companies on a revenue sharing basis in place of fixed cost.

Coal bed methane (CBM) extraction rights to be auctioned from Coal India’s coal mines.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that Syn-Gas produced from coal can be used to produce various other Gaseous Fuels?

  • This includes Hydrogen, Substitute Natural Gas (SNG or Methane), Di-Methyl Ether (DME), Liquid Fuels such as Methanol, Ethanol, Synthetic diesel and Chemicals like Methanol derivatives, Olefins, Propylene, Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG), nitrogenous fertilizers including Ammonia, DRI.


Know more about syngas? Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is Coal Gasification?
  2. How is it done?
  3. What are the byproducts?
  4. Benefits of Gasification?
  5. What is Underground Coal Gasification?
  6. What is coal liquefaction?
  7. Benefits of Liquefaction.

Mains Link:

Write a note on goal gasification and liquefaction. Discuss their significance.


[Try this Question:


Consider the following statements:

  1. India, despite having the world’s fourth largest coal reserves, is the largest importer of coal in the world.
  2. There are no known coal reserves in Maharashtra.

Which of the above Statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only.
  2. 2 only.
  3. Both.
  4. None. ]

Sources: Livemint.