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Coal in India UPSC NOTE

 Report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP):

  • The OCCRP, supported by billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthropist George Soros, released a report with new documents.

  • The report alleges that in 2014, the Adani Group mislabeled 'low grade' coal imported from Indonesia as 'high-quality' coal.

  • This mislabeling allegedly inflated the coal's value, which was then sold to Tamil Nadu's power generation company, TANGEDCO (Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company).

OCCRP is a global network of investigative journalists with staff on six continents. It was founded in 2006 and specializes in organized crime and corruption.

What is ‘High Grade’ and ‘Low Grade’ Coal?

  • High and low quality coal are relative terms, meaningful only in specific contexts of use and processing.

  • Gross Calorific Value (GCV) measures the heat or energy generated from burning coal, determining its gradation.

  • Coal is a fossil fuel composed of carbon, ash, moisture, and other impurities.

  • Higher carbon content indicates higher quality or grade of coal.

  • There are 17 grades of coal.

  • Grade 1 (top quality) yields more than 7,000 kcal/kg.

  • Lowest grade yields between 2,200-2,500 kcal/kg.

Uses of Coal:

  • Coking Coal: Used to produce coke, essential for steel making, requiring minimal ash content.

  • Non-Coking Coal: Used to generate heat for running boilers and turbines despite higher ash content.

Characteristics of Indian Coal

  • High ash content, low calorific value.

  • Imported coal has Higher calorific value (+6,000 kcal/kg), lower ash content (<10%).

  • High-ash Indian coal results in higher particulate matter, nitrogen, and sulphur dioxide emissions when burned.

  • Since 1954, the Indian government has controlled coal prices to disincentivize the use of high-grade coking coal for power generation.

  • The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) recommended 10-15% blending of imported coal in Indian power boilers designed for low-quality Indian coal.


What is Clean Coal?

  • Clean coal has increased carbon content with reduced ash content.

  • Coal plants have ‘washing plants’ on site which can process the coal in ways that reduce ash and moisture content.

  • On-site washing plants use blowers or baths to remove fine and coarse ash.

  • This process is expensive, adding to the cost of power.

  • Other method to clean coal s Coal Gasification

  • It Converts coal into gas, avoiding direct burning.

  • Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) system Combines steam and hot pressurized air or oxygen with coal.

  • Produces syngas (carbon monoxide, hydrogen, CO2, water vapor).

  • Syngas is cleaned and burned in a gas turbine to produce electricity.

  • IGCC increases the efficiency of coal usage by producing two forms of energy.

Future of Coal in India

  • India produced 997 million tonnes of coal in 2023-24, an 11% growth from the previous year.

  • Most coal is produced by state-owned Coal India Ltd and its subsidiaries.

  • As of March 2024, India produced 261 million tonnes of coal, including 58 million tonnes of coking coal.

  • Despite commitments to move away from fossil fuels, coal remains central to India's energy economy.

  • In early 2024, renewable energy accounted for 71.5% of the 13.6 GW power generation capacity added.

  • Coal's share of total power capacity dropped below 50% for the first time since the 1960s.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Coal in India UPSC NOTE
Coal in India UPSC NOTE
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