The Fertilizer Ministry has proposed to convert all urea plants that use fuel or feedstock other than gas to ones based on gas on priority within a definite time-frame to ensure availability of continuous flow of fuel for the manufacture of fertilizers.
State-controlled GAIL India Ltd. has been approached to help with supply of syngas, short for synthesis gas, for this purpose. Syngas is the gas product resulting from the gasification of coal or other bio-fuels and can be used as a fuel to drive power generation or as a feedstock for use in the fertilizer industry.
According to internal communications in the Fertilizer Ministry made available to Hindustan Times, GAIL is in process of expediting the coal gasification process project at Talcher based on Shell technology to help the fertilizer industry, while the Coal Ministry has agreed to provide the necessary coal linkages to GAIL.
This would enable fertilizer companies such as Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers and Deepak Fertilizers to secure syngas from Talcher. The two companies are likely to soon enter into negotiations with GAIL for gas purchase.
The Indian gas major would be using domestic coal to produce syngas by using the Shell Coal Gasification Process (SCGP), which has an inherent capacity of handling high ash content coal, which is available in abundance in the country.
A paper considered at a meeting in the Fertilizer Ministry last month on coal gasification technology said "the
Department of Fertilizers in future aims to convert all non-gas based urea plants to gas". It said apart from natural gas and liquidified natural gas, other emergent sources of supply of syngas such as coal bed methane and coal gasification may also be considered.
Senior executives from Shell India Ltd have already made a presentation to the senior officers in the Fertilizer Ministry highlighting the process and benefits of SCGP.