The US-based industrial gases major Air Products and Chemicals is planning to invest $5-10 billion over the next five years in coal gasification projects in India.
Air Products, the world leader in coal gasification, will build, own and operate multiple world-class coal gasification complexes in India, partner with coal suppliers like Coal India to get the feedstock, and supply industrial gases to end customers. To begin with, the company is looking at a $2-billion investment, similar to the one Air Products recently announced to set up in Indonesia, Richard Boocock, Senior Vice-President and Chief Information Officer of Air Products told BusinessToday.In.
Air Products, which has 750-plus production facilities worldwide in over 50 countries with 1,800 miles of industrial gas connections for 30-plus different manufacturing industries, see India as a major growth market in future, as the country is opening up the coal sector in a big way for energy security, he said. "Industrial gases are a highly localised industry as its transportation is an issue. India is a growing market for manufacturing and the 'self-reliant India' policies will also help growth of consumption of industrial gases, a primary enabler for industrial activity across many sectors," he said.
The Ministry of Coal has recently set a target to gasify 100 million tonnes of coal by 2030, as part of the vision to ensure energy security, reduce coal imports and dependence on fossil fuels. Coal gasification is the process of producing syngas, a mixture of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other compounds. Air Products' proprietary 'Syngas Solutions' - dry-feed gasifier - will enable nearly two million tonnes per year (TPY) of methanol to be produced from nearly six million TPY of coal. Air Products is currently executing many gasification projects in China and Saudi Arabia, besides the Indonesian project.
Recently, the state-run Coal India (CIL) had announced to set up a coal-gasification project in five years with an estimated investment of Rs 5,800 crore in the Dankuni coal complex in West Bengal. Air Products has technology to use coal as feedstock to convert coal with oxygen to make clean syngas, which can be converted into many high-value chemicals like methanol and then to ethylene, or ammonia and fertilisers. Air Products build plants closer to end-users and supply industrial gases on a long-term supply agreement, he said.
Air Products already operates an industrial gas complex at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL)'s Kochi refinery. They build, own and operate syngas production facility to support BPCL's Integrated Refinery Expansion Project (IREP) at the same location to manufacture auto-fuels complying with the required Bharat Stage IV (Euro IV) specifications. Air Products' industrial gas complex supplies hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and steam to the Kochi Refinery.
Its coal gasification technology is also being used in the Talcher fertiliser project in Odisha, being executed by a consortium of public sector companies. Air Products has an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) centres in Pune and Vadodara, which acts as the EPC hub for operations in India and abroad. Air Products also has a joint venture Inox Air Products, formed in 1999 with the Jain family, former owners of the Industrial Oxygen Company.