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India Inc warms up to climate change

From coconut shells and cashew kernels to ice creams, ketchups, tea and soaps. From municipal solid waste to alternate energy. CDM has spawned the development of the Indian carbon market with a robust and diverse portfolio of projects.Gaurav Choudhury & Anupama Airy report.

business Updated: Dec 05, 2009 01:34 IST

From coconut shells and cashew kernels to ice creams, ketchups, tea and soaps. From municipal solid waste to alternate energy. Clean development mechanism (CDM) has spawned the development of the Indian carbon market with a robust and diverse portfolio of projects.

Consider this: As many 746 Indian companies, representing over 40 sectors, account for 1,056 projects that have applied for the United Nations-mandated CDM accreditation.

Power sector leads the table with 68 projects followed by wind energy (54), sugar (30) and cement(26).

“We are working on a plant based on underground coal gasification technology,” said D.K.Jain, executive director (engineering) NTPC. It would allow producing gas from underground coal seams which would emit negligible CO2 for producing power. Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited (BHEL) is commissioning a 120MW power plant based on underground coal gasification technology.

In the case of municipal solid waste management, majority of the projects, come from the private sector. Fast moving consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) hopes to ride on the non-descript agricultural waste as it sets out to achieve multiple objectives of strengthening its bottomline and reducing harmful emissions.

The company has set an ambitious target to reduce carbon-dioxide emission (CO2) in its manufacturing operations by 25 per cent in the next four years by using agri waste to fuel its boilers in factories.

“Market-based mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol have been effective instruments for cooperative green house gas mitigation. India has responded positively to CDM and will remain an active player,” said Prodipto Ghosh in a recent report prepared by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Efforts are also underway to produce oil from coal. Companies such as ONGC, Tata Group and the Jindal Group are working with international partners to produce from oil from using the coal-to-liquid technology.

Such environment friendly technologies are expected to contribute towards meeting country’s energy security goals as India spends nearly $80 billion every year to meet its crude oil requirements.

“These technologies will find a mention in the mission document on clean coal technologies that is being prepared as part of the Prime Minister’s initiative on climate change,” said a government official who did not wish to be identified.
“Indian Industry is well positioned to turn the challenge into an opportunity,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.

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