Friday, July 12, 2024

India Plans Carbon Capture Policy to Sustain Coal Usage Amid Growing Emissions

India is gearing up to introduce a carbon capture policy aimed at leveraging its extensive coal resources while addressing the challenges of escalating emissions, as outlined by a top government energy adviser. The anticipated policy, scheduled for release later this year, contingent on the government’s continuity after upcoming elections, will provide incentives for companies to capture, recycle, and potentially store their emissions underground, as disclosed by Rajnath Ram, the energy adviser at Niti Aayog, the policymaking arm of the Indian government.

With 42% of India’s total emissions originating from the power sector, Ram emphasized the potential to capture and recycle 70% of these emissions through carbon capture technologies. He argued that, to meet surging demand peaks and avert blackouts, relying solely on aggressive renewable deployment is insufficient. Ram stated, “In the absence of storage, you need to add at least the same amount of thermal capacity. We have abundant coal and we want to use it in a sustainable way.”

While acknowledging the importance of carbon removal in climate change mitigation, Ram highlighted the nascent stage of existing technologies, with many projects proving unviable due to high costs and low efficiency. Globally, around 40 Carbon Capture and Storage units are currently operational, and an additional 50 are projected to be operational by 2030—a pace deemed insufficient by the International Energy Agency for achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century.

India is also exploring coal gasification, earmarking $1 billion in subsidies to support projects in this field. This early-stage technology, converting coal into gas for electricity generation, marginally reduces emissions compared to conventional coal firing.

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