Coal India has decided to venture into cleaner coal technologies at a time when coal demand is muted and lower realisation a headache for the global miner. Coal India has sought interest from technology licensors for converting coal to chemical for a commercial project at Dankuni but not on a large scale, a CIL officer involved in the project said. “We are trying for a clean coal use technology. The miner has invited EoI for pre-qualification of licensors of coal gassification technology for a proposed coal based methanol plant,” the officer said.
Asked whether this is coal to liquid (CTL) in pure CTL terms, the officer said “By CTL we understand coal to auto fuel which is done by Sasol in South Africa. But we will produce methanol which can be added in auto fuels and can be put to industrial use.” CIL will use high calorific value low ash thermal coal from Raniganj to convert it into chemical. Raniganj coal has ash content up to 28 per cent.
“In pursuit of implementing this new strategy the premises of the existing Dankuni Coal Complex have been identified as the location,” a CIL document said. The project will be completely funded by Coal India but the project size and investment will be finalised after discussions with the technology licensors, the officer said.