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JSPL's sponge plant to go on stream soon
Sep. 02, 2016

Manufacturing of sponge iron from synthesis gas is expected to begin by May 15

Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar on Thursday said that the coal gasification technology to be used for revival of Talcher Fertilizer plant will be finalized in two months time.

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Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar on Thursday said that the coal gasification technology to be used for revival of Talcher Fertilizer plant will be finalized in two months time.

Ananth Kumar held a review meeting on the progress of the revival of Talcher Fertilizer plant by way of a joint venture at New Delhi.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who was present at the review meeting informed that the effort is to try and line-up the entire proposal and even commission it during the current fiscal. Senior officials of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (RCF), Coal India Limited (CIL) and Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL) were present in the meeting.

There are new coal gasification technologies that may work out to be cheaper, said Pradhan while stating that a open tender for the purpose will be floated.



RCF To Lead Development Of India’s First Gasification Fertilizer Unit
Sep. 01, 2016

In an effort to revive shuttered fertilizer units of Fertilizer Corp. of India (FCI) in Orissa, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) has been appointed lead partner in a consortium to build a coal gasification-to-fertilizers facility. This would be the first such facility in India, but it has been in perpetual planning and permitting stages since 2010.

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In an effort to revive shuttered fertilizer units of Fertilizer Corp. of India (FCI) in Orissa, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) has been appointed lead partner in a consortium to build a coal gasification-to-fertilizers facility. This would be the first such facility in India, but it has been in perpetual planning and permitting stages since 2010.

According to a recent report, the companies seek to leverage the abundance of coal in India against conventional fertilizer production feedstocks, such as natural gas, naphtha and imported LNG. The project is reportedly on the verge of finalizing the technology selection.

RCF, Coal India Ltd. (CIL), Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) and FCI have previously signed a memorandum of understanding to convert the brownfield site to a coal-to-ammonia and urea production unit along with offsite facilities. Reportedly, coal block development and gasification technology licensor selection is underway. On completion in 2020, the estimated $1.34-billion facility will produce 3,850 metric tons per day (mt/d) of urea and 2,200 mt/d of ammonia.

The Talcher project’s progress slowed in December 2014 when a consultant raised doubts about the feasibility of the program. However, the project appears to be gaining steam, according to government statements in a InfraCircle report.

“Urea production fueled by the coal gasification technology will cost $30 to $40 less per metric ton, which will benefit the farmers in a big way. We will ensure that the proper technology for coal gasification is in place in the next two months. By November we will lay the foundation stone and revive the Talcher project,” according to the statement.

“The coal available at Talcher contains 35% ash compared with 6% to 10% ash content found in imported coal. That’s why more efficient technology is needed to cater to high-ash content coal. We are evaluating the capital and recurring cost for the technology and once it is done, coal from Talcher will be blended with low-ash coal for testing purpose,” the statement noted.

The government statements in the report highlighted technology by Lurgi, Royal Dutch Shell plc and GE, but did not specify which technologies would be used in the final project. The Indian government previously announced plans for the additional revival of three shuttered units in Barauni, Sindri and Gorakhpur by Indian Oil Corp., National Thermal Power Corp. Ltd. and CIL.



Government to Finalise Soon Coal Gasification Technology for Talcher Fertiliser Plant
Aug. 31, 2016

BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar today reviewed the revival programme of the Talcher unit of the Fertiliser Corporation of India in New Delhi.
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BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar today reviewed the revival programme of the Talcher unit of the Fertiliser Corporation of India in New Delhi.

Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and senior officials of Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited (RCF), Coal India Limited (CIL) and FCIL were present in the meeting held in New Delhi.

Asserting that the coal gasification technology for the project will be finalised soon, Pradhan said petcoke from Paradip oil refinery will be blended with coal produced from Talcher for production of gas. He said work on the project will start during the current financial year.

While gas produced from coal gasification is to be used as fuel for fertiliser production, he said thrust will be given to reduce the cost of the project make it viable. Besides, improved technology will be used in the plant for a safe environment in and around the plant areas.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) after a series of deliberation decided to revive the Talcher Unit in 2014.

It was decided that the unit will be revived by a consortium of GAIL, RCF, CIL and FCIL. Efforts are on to make the plant functional by 2018-19.

The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) ordered closure of FCI's Talcher unit in 2002 as it was making losses over a period of time. After nearly a decade, revival plans were mooted during the UPA government in 2012. The demolition process of some portions of the old unit began after the revival plan received Cabinet approval.



Draft Policies on Coal-based Urea, Ethanol in 3 Weeks: Gadkari
Jul 5, 2016

Ministries of Chemical and Fertilizer and New and Renewable Energy will come out with the draft policies for manufacturing of coal-based urea and second generation ethanol in three weeks, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said.
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Ministries of Chemical and Fertilizer and New and Renewable Energy will come out with the draft policies for manufacturing of coal-based urea and second generation ethanol in three weeks, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said.

"We want to manufacture coal-based urea in the country as presently we are providing Rs 45,000 crore as subsidy on urea. Also, we want to promote second generation ethanol. A unanimous decision was taken that Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Chemicals Fertilizers will come out with the policies," Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said.

After chairing an inter-ministerial meeting attended by Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Chemical and Fertilizer Minister Ananth Kumar, Science and Technology Minster Harsh Vardhan among others, Gadkari said the draft policies will be ready in three months and will be sent to the Cabinet.

Gadkari said once urea manufacturing from coal begins, urea prices will be slashed by 50 per cent.

He said that earlier the country faced shortage of coal but now there is surplus coal and urea plant based on gas from coal could easily be set up.

He said coal based urea production technology for producing urea was common in South Africa, China, USA etc countries and once India started manufacturing, farmers will get a huge relief.

The Minister also said based on promotion to second generation ethanol the government planned to take up ethanol blending in petrol to 22.5 per cent and in diesel to 15 per cent.

"If we start making ethanol from bamboo in North-East, lakhs will get employment and several industries will come up," he said.

The minister said recently he saw such successful industries in Italy and as per rough estimates 40,000 litres of second generation ethanol could be produced here easily.

He said boost to ethanol production could cut India's huge crude oil imports bill, which is pegged at Rs 7 lakh crore per annum.

Citing the example of flex-fuel cars in Brazil, Gadkari said India was also on the way to promote such vehicles as this could minimise pollution.

To augment supplies of ethanol to oil marketing companies (OMCs) under EBP, the policy for procurement of ethanol has been modified to smoothen the entire ethanol supply chain to provide remunerative price of ethanol.

In December 2014, the Cabinet had approved usage of non-food feedstocks besides molasses as source of ethanol to be used for blending in fuel.



Harsh Vardhan Stresses on Coal Liquefaction Research
May 16, 2016

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan today urged scientists of Central Institute of Mining fuel Research (CIMFR) to focus on coal liquefaction research in the interest of people as well as the country.
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Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan today urged scientists of Central Institute of Mining fuel Research (CIMFR) to focus on coal liquefaction research in the interest of people as well as the country.

The Union Minister, who is on a two-day visit here, while inspecting CIMFR research plant said coal-to-liquids research is the need of the country and demand of the times for if price of petrol is hiked or its scarcity arises coal liquid would be available as an alternative for the country.

Funds would not be an impediment for research at all 38 laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) across the country, he said and appreciated the performance of CIMFR Dhanbad, a CSIR laboratory.

Vardhan inaugurated the countrys first Advance Mining Research Centre at CIMFR and asked industrialists and scientists to associate themselves in research works for the success of Make In India programme.

He said present government is committed for improvement of common mans facilities and this can be achieved when industrialists join scientists in research work and transfer of industry related technology.

Taking a dig at the UPA II government, Vardhan said coal is not only for scams but is a major guiding force of countrys GDP growth.

"Transparency is a major tool to check the corruption. So whatever model you develop make it transparent and objective so that no one can misuse that," he added.



India Turns to Lurgi and JSPL to Revive Talcher Fertiliser Plant
Apr. 29, 2016

In an attempt to revive the Rs9,000-crore Talcher fertiliser plant in Odisha, the Indian government has turned to Lurgi Technology Co. SA’s coal gasification technology.
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In an attempt to revive the Rs9,000-crore Talcher fertiliser plant in Odisha, the Indian government has turned to Lurgi Technology Co. SA’s coal gasification technology.

While gas produced from coal gasification is to be used as fuel for fertiliser production, no technology partner has been found for it.

The fertiliser ministry has now decided to run a pilot test project for coal gasification using indigenous coal at Jindal Steel and Power Ltd’s (JSPL) Angul direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant. The plant uses Lurgi’s technology to produce gas from a mix of imported and domestic coal. If found technically and financially viable, Lurgi’s technology can be used for the revival of the Talcher project.

DRI, popularly known as sponge iron, is produced by using gas to reduce oxygen content from iron ore.

Even as Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government is pulling out all stops to ensure that farmers get a regular supply of fertilisers, the Talcher project has hit the skids with project consultant SBI Capital Markets Ltd raising doubts over its feasibility, as reported by VCCircle on 12 April.

“The government has decided to conduct pilot tests for coal gasification at JSPL’s Angul unit on the basis of 100% Talcher coal of high-ash content as well as blending 70% Talcher coal with 30% better quality coal from Coal India Ltd’s Raniganj fields,” said a senior government official requesting anonymity.

The government had earlier requested Naveen Jindal-promoted JSPL to share its experiences with the processes used at the company’s Angul plant.

“In order to find better and accurate results, pilot tests will be undertaken for five days with 100% high ash coal while another five days with blended coal,” said another government official who also didn’t want to be identified.

In December 2014, a consortium of four state-run units including GAIL (India) Ltd, Coal India Ltd, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) and Fertilizer Corp. of India Ltd signed an agreement to set up a coal gasification-cum-fertiliser plant at Talcher.

While experts believe that washed Talcher coal will be fit for the coal gasification process, they have raised doubts over usage of coal from Raniganj in West Bengal.

According to U.S. Jha, former chairman and managing director of RCF, coal from Raniganj fields may have a mere 5% less ash content compared with Talcher, and more importantly it is a depleting mine as most of the coal may have been taken out already.

Queries emailed to the spokespersons of fertiliser ministry and JSPL on 28 April remained unanswered. Lurgi Technology Co. couldn’t be immediately contacted.

“Lurgi Technology company had already qualified as a preferred bidder for the coal gasification technology, but it has not been selected as of now as questions had been raised over the viability of the project,” a third government official requesting anonymity said. He added that the impasse over the revival of Talcher project will be over in few months.

This comes in the backdrop of the government exploring the revival of closed fertiliser units at Barauni and Gorakhpur by Maharatna public sector units such as Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd, NTPC Ltd and Coal India.

India’s demand for urea in 2015 was 31 million tonnes (MT) out of which around 8 MT was imported mainly from China and Iran during the financial year ended 31 March 2016.



Coal Gasification Urea Plant to Come up in Chhattisgarh
Apr. 23, 2016

The facility will come up at an investment of Rs 6,000 crore and will be developed on PPP basis.
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The facility will come up at an investment of Rs 6,000 crore and will be developed on PPP basis.

A coal gasification-based urea plant with an annual capacity of 1.3 million tonne has been planned for Chhattisgarh.

Union minister for chemicals and fertilizers, Ananth Kumar, said the plant will come up at an investment of Rs 6,000 crore. The project will be based on coal gasification and will be developed on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

The state’s industry department officials said that the project was in the initial stage, though the process for its implementation had started. The department had identified a few places in Raigarh and Korba districts that it would allot once the ministry approved after studying the feasibility, the officials added.

Earlier, the ministry had planned a urea plant in Korba district that was later dropped. Instead, it had planned to revive the Korba plant that was closed down some 42 years ago. The plant would be ready for production by 2019 and would have installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum.

Though the proposed plant would be based on coal gasification, the ministry did not have any coal block in Chhattisgarh to play with. According to officials, efforts were on by the state-run Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) to bag a coal block that could also feed the raw material requirement for the proposed urea plant. This would facilitate state’s partnering in the project.

A private company is also coming up with a coal gasification plant in Korba. The ministry may also explore the possibility of associating the company with the project.

The exercise is part of the new urea policy of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government that aimed of maximizing indigenous urea production, promoting energy efficiency in urea production, and rationalizing subsidy burden on the government. The government is raising domestic urea output by setting up new plants and reviving the closed ones.



Govt Seeks Help from Naveen Jindal-promoted JSPL to Salvage Talcher Fertiliser Plant
Apr. 20, 2016

In its quest for a suitable coal gasification technology for the Rs9,000-crore Talcher fertiliser plant in Odisha, the central government has requested Naveen Jindal-promoted Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) to share its experiences with the processes used at the company’s Angul plant.
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In its quest for a suitable coal gasification technology for the Rs9,000-crore Talcher fertiliser plant in Odisha, the central government has requested Naveen Jindal-promoted Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) to share its experiences with the processes used at the company’s Angul plant.

In December 2014, a consortium of four state-run units including GAIL (India) Ltd, Coal India Ltd, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) and Fertilizer Corp. of India Ltd signed an agreement to set up a coal gasification-cum-fertiliser plant at Talcher. Gas produced from coal gasification is to be used as fuel for fertiliser production.

While Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government is pulling out all stops to ensure that farmers get a regular supply of fertilisers, the Talcher project has hit the skids with project consultant SBI Capital Markets Ltd raising doubts over its feasibility, asreported by VCCircle on 12 April.

“A meeting was called under the chairmanship of the chief executive officer of Niti Aayog on 13 April to decide upon the future of the Talcher project. However, since there is status quo on the issue of coal gasification technology, it has been decided to call upon JSPL to share their experience with the technology which is being used at its Angul DRI (direct-reduced iron) plant,” said a department of fertilizer official requesting anonymity.

DRI, popularly known as sponge iron, is produced by using gas to reduce oxygen content from iron ore. JSPL’s Angul DRI plant uses Lurgi Technology Co. SA’s technology to produce gas from high ash content coal after the Utkal B-1 coal block was cancelled after a 2014 Supreme Court ruling.

Another department of fertilizer official, who also didn’t want to be identified, confirmed the development and said that state-run Projects and Development (India) Ltd in its report had earlier recommended that the project is viable.

A senior PDIL executive on condition of anonymity confirmed its recommendation.

India’s demand for urea in 2015 was 31 million tonnes (MT) out of which around 8 MT was imported mainly from China and Iran during the financial year ended 31 March 2016. According to information available on the website of the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, the Talcher project will produce 1.3 MT of urea and few other fertilisers as well.

While queries emailed to the spokespersons department of fertilizers and Niti Aayog on 18 April remained unanswered, a JSPL spokesperson in an emailed response said that the company’s experience of coal gasification has been satisfying and it has been a reliable source of supply in the steel-making process.

Queries emailed to spokespersons of PDIL on Wednesday weren’t immediately answered.

According to experts, there is no dearth of proven technology for coal gasification but the Indian government needs to be cautious.

“China also produces urea from coal gas. But in the context of more shale gas coming and gas prices coming down, the question of competitiveness for use of coal gas comes around,” said U.S. Jha, former chairman and managing director of RCF.

He added that coal from Talcher can be made fit for coal gasification by washing it, but it will involve additional costs.





JSPL to Expand Odisha Steel Plant by 2016-end
Feb. 20, 2016

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) chairman Naveen Jindal Friday said the coal gasification steel plant in Odisha’s Angul district would be expanded to six million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity by the end of 2016.
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Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. (JSPL) chairman Naveen Jindal Friday said the coal gasification steel plant in Odisha’s Angul district would be expanded to six million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity by the end of 2016.

“The coal-to-gas project, the first such project in the country, would be expanded from its present two mtpa to six mtpa by the end of next year,” said Jindal while participating at the event ‘Advantage Odisha 2015’ here.

He said there is the issue of inadequate raw materials in the state that makes it difficult for industries to run their plants.

“We, however, are confident of getting raw materials. We will import the raw materials not available here,” said Jindal.

Admitting that there are challenges in setting up industries, he added that the company has received cooperation from the state government.

He also hoped that the policies of the Centre and state government would encourage investors in future.

Stating that he is satisfied with the ongoing coal auction, Jindal said: “Where we have not been satisfied, we have approached court.”

The Delhi High Court Feb 11 stopped the auction of two coal blocks (Utkal B1, B2) owned by the company in Odisha.

It ordered a review of the government decision to change the end use of the two blocks from steel to power, before putting it out for auction.



Government to Exploit Unviable Coal Mines to Make Urea, Nitin Gadkari Says
Jan. 30, 2016

NEW DELHI: The government will soon exploit economically unviable coal mines for gasification to produce cheaper urea to cut down on huge Rs 55,000 crore annual subsidy on the fertilizer, Union MinisterNitin Gadkari said on Saturday.
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NEW DELHI: The government will soon exploit economically unviable coal mines for gasification to produce cheaper urea to cut down on huge Rs 55,000 crore annual subsidy on the fertilizer, Union MinisterNitin Gadkari said on Saturday.

"We cannot extract coal from 40 per cent coal mines in the country, which are not economically viable. The idea is to use these soon for coal gasification by which we can get urea at a cost of only Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 a tonne," the Road Transport and Highways Minister said at Economic Times Global Business Summit here.

Four of the 30 chemical and fertilizer factories in India produce urea from naphtha, the cost of which comes to around Rs 40,000 a tonne, he said.

The remaining 26 use gas, cost of which comes to $15 to 20 per mmBtu and hence the urea produced is very costly.

"We are giving subsidy of Rs 55,000 crore every year for the chemical fertilizer. Coal gasification will reduce the cost of fertilizer. I am pursuing this matter with chemical and fertilizer ministry and we are sitting in this regard to reduce the cost of the fertilizer by 50 per cent, and to save the subsidy of Rs 55,000 crore," Gadkari said.

He said the government is importing urea from China which is making it through coal gasification.

The minister said as far as the international scenario is concerned, efforts were on to set up a urea factory at Chabahar where the government is setting up a port.

"We are making a port at Chabahar in Iran where the gas price is less than $1. If we get gas then we can make urea there and bring it to the country as the distance between Chabahar and Kandla port is less than that of Delhi and Mumbai," he said.

For agriculture growth and development of rural economy it is very important to reduce the price of urea, he said.

He had said earlier: "We are trying to procure gas at a very economical rate. In 2013, they had offered it at the rate of 82 cents, less than a dollar. We make urea from naphtha."

"We are trying to set up a urea plant in Iran," Gadkari said.



Government May Make Methanol Production from Domestic Coal a High Policy Priority
Nov. 20, 2015

NEW DELHI: The government may soon make methanol production a high policy priority, much on the lines of solar energy, as part of strategy to reduce dependence on imported fuel, including coal.
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NEW DELHI: The government may soon make methanol production a high policy priority, much on the lines of solar energy, as part of strategy to reduce dependence on imported fuel, including coal.

NITIAayog is firming up a proposal that aims to replicate China's model, wherein the government would incentivise use of domestic coal to substantially increase methanol production, which in turn could be used to run vehicles and meet India's growing energy requirement, a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, told ET. India's annual requirement of methanol, which is mostly used in the chemical industry, is estimated at 1.35 million tonnes.

Domestic production, however, is barely 0.38 million tonnes and that too mostly from imported natural gas, which makes the product expensive. Besides being used as feedstock for making other chemicals, methanol has potential for use as an alternate automotive fuel.

"We are currently working on the technocommercial viability of producing methanol from domestic coal, which is largely of the same quality as that in China and can, therefore, be used to increase methanol production in the country," the official said, adding that once it is worked out, a proposal will be moved to the ministries concerned to consider creating enabling environment to attract methanol producers to set up plants in the country. The official said, "Supporting private players with a one-time investment or providing them with subsidies over a period of time, as we have done to boost solar energy production, could motivate players to set up base in India, considering there is no dearth of coal in the country."

While methanol can be used in place of petrol, dimethyl ether, which is obtained by dehydrating methanol, can be used in place of diesel-—moves that can help reduce the country's annual oil import bill of $100 billion. India is the third-largest producer of coal after China and the US, with 299 billion tonnes of resources.




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