NEW DELHI: The government of India has constituted a task force to study the feasibility of producing methanol from coal, and using coal gas as a replacement of natural gas in steel production.
The development assumes significance as India is aiming to achieve crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (MT), which will require extensive mobilisation of natural resources, among others.
The 15-member task force under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat has secretaries of coal and steel ministries.
Coal India Chairman Gopal Singh, BHEL CMD Atul Sobti, SAIL Chairman P K Singh, JSW Steel Chairman and Managing Director Sajjan Jindal, Essar Steel Chairman Shashi Ruia and NMDC CMD Baijendra Kumar, among others are also members of the task force.
“A task force is constituted…to explore the feasibility of producing methanol from coal at Mozambique and India, replacement of natural gas by coal gas through gasification process in steel plants, and carbon dioxide capturing from steel plants into methanol liquid fuel,” according to a steel ministry notification.
The terms of reference of task force include examining the feasibility of transporting methanol to India and convert it into olefins, parafins and other chemicals.
“The task force would be expected to outline the action plan and the time lines of implementation,” the notification said.
Asserting that the deliberation of task force will become reference point for project feasibility, the steel ministry said, adding that “the task force shall submit the report within 60 days of formation”.
Under the National Steel Policy, the government of India has set a production target of 300 MT by 2030-31.
The government of India had earlier expressed hope that the steel production capacity will be much higher in the next fiscal from the present 126 MT.