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FutureGen project: Indo-US talks fail

india Updated: Apr 04, 2008 20:39 IST
Samiran Saha
Samiran Saha
Hindustan Times
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India and the United States of America have failed to arrive at a consensus on technology transfer for the FutureGen projects, US under secretary of energy Clarence ‘Bud’ Albright Junior told reporters after his meeting with Indian foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon on Friday.

Albright was in India to co-chair the Steering Group of the India-US Energy Dialouge that concluded on Friday. “There is no consensus on the transfer of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). We as a government don’t own the IPR the private sector owns it,” Albright told reporters.

The Futuregen project envisages zero emission thermal power plants. The first of which with an installed capacity of 275 MW is being installed in India as a test project.

The project envisages employing coal conversion technology to gasify coal, oxygen, and steam to produce a hydrogen-rich “synthesis gas” considered clean fuel for thermal power projects.

India had in 2006 signed a framework protocol with the US for cooperation in the FutureGen Project. The Government of the United States had invited Government of India to join in the collaborative funding for the FutureGen Project, a US $950 million public-private initiative to design, build and operate the first coal-fired emission-free 275-megawatt power plant.

Of the project cost, $250 million was to be pooled by the US private sector and the balance $700 million was to be provided by the US government. In India 64.6 per cent or 90,895 megawatts of the total installed capacity of 1,41,079 mega watts is generated by thermal power plants in the country.

As coal is one of the main source of energy for power generation in India, the government has decided to participate in the FutureGen project.

India’s participation in the project would provide an opportunity to access knowledge and information on this potential technological solution for zero emission coal energy generation technology.

Albright also said this is the best climate for investment in India and added several US based companies were exploring opportunities to invest in the energy sector in India.