‘Coal gasification alternative mode of feedstock for urea’
With government likely to rejig priority allocation of domestic natural gas, the Fertiliser Ministry is exploring the possibility of using coal gasification as alternative mode of feedstock for urea plants.
At present, urea manufacturers have the first right over the domestically produced gas. But the government is likely to give firms selling CNG and piped cooking gas top priority.
"We are exploring the possibility of using coal-based gas gasification as alternative mode of feedstock. It seems to be cost effective option and also help in removing all feedstock related supply issues of the industry," Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters here.
Kumar had also discussed this matter recently at a high-level meeting with Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Power Minister Piyush Goel and secretaries of all three ministries.
The Fertiliser Minister added the government is aiming to increase indigenous production of fertilisers, which could be provided to farmers at reasonable rates. In coal gasification process, the coal is milled, dried and injected into a gasifier to produce gas.
In 2013-14, the fertiliser plants received 29.79 mmscmd of gas, against the allocated 31.5 mmscmd of gas. Whereas the total demand of fertiliser industry in the country is around 44 mmscmd.
There are about 28 plants in the country out of which 25 are gas based and remaining three are on naptha, which is costlier feedstock compared to gas.
Meanwhile, the government is working on revival of FCIL unit of Talcher through coal gasification technology and an MoU will soon be signed in this regard, Kumar added.
Besides this, the ministry is also considering to revive closed unit of FCIL Gorakhpur and HFCL Unit of Barauni. The annual demand of urea in the country is around 30 million tonnes (MT), whereas the domestic production is around 22 MT, and the rest is met through imports.