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Indian Coal-to-Liquids Venture Brewing

State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) are forming two joint ventures, one for a Coal-to-Liquids plant, the other to increase coal production to feed the plant. India is the world’s third largest coal producer (after China and the United States).

The proposed CTL venture would use high-sulfur coal from the North Eastern Coalfields (NEC) in Assam.

OIL projects requiring some 3.5 million tonnes of coal per year for CTL feedstock. NEC’s current annual production is less than one million tonnes.

OIL has concluded that CTL is competitive with crude at a cost of around US$40 per barrel.

Earlier this year, four leading Indian industrial groups—Jindal, Essar, Tata and Bhushan Steel—began exploratory talks with SASOL of South Africa on the use of its CTL technology in India.



This could be another tipping point to add to the list. As well as melting permafrost we now have coal as the replacement feedstock for oil. No mention of any capture of CO2 or other pollutants. It's kind of schizo; on the one hand Hurricane Katrina is saying stop and on the other hand we are keeping cars on the road at any cost.


^ Is there any sense for the amount of CO2 released from producing (and burning) 1 gallon of gasoline from oil vs. producing (and burning) 1 gallon of gasoline from coal?


I can't seem to find a credible figure for well-to-wheels efficiency of coal to liquids. Argonne National Laboratory doesn't appear to be working on it (hint). However coal has to be dug up, not pumped. In the Fischer Tropsch process much of the combustion energy is needed to make hydrogen atoms stick to carbon atoms to get liquids, and there are other energy losses. In South Africa they seem to prefer to use natural gas as feedstock rather than coal when they can get it. Apart from higher direct and indirect CO2 per gallon or litre of fuel it means more unsightly holes have to be dug in the ground. Unless they can cheaply fix the CO2 (I predict never) then CTL is not a replacement for oil despite the abundance of coal.


Did you miss this. This could be significant news.

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