The use of coal gasification as feedstock to produce chemicals and petrochemicals could increase domestic output of these products, according to Indian officials. China has already made advances in this area, and is now supplying a large amount of chemicals to India using coal gasification technology.
"In last decade or so, the demand of petrochemicals has gone up substantially and unfortunately this has led to increase in imports, as domestic output is lagging due to limited availability of feedstock like gas and oil. India has rich reserves of coal, which has a high ash content. Therefore, the time has come to encourage the use of better technology and modern methods of exploration and production to enhance coal gasification,” said Chemicals and Petrochemicals Secretary Surjit K Chaudhary, who was speaking at the symposium on 'Potential of Coal Gasification in India', organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals. During the symposium, participants discussed potential opportunities for coal gasification in India, coal to chemicals opportunities, coal to petrochemicals developments in China, and lessons for India and India-specific developments in the sector.
Petrochemicals could also be obtained from other sources, namely coal, guar gum and neem. "With the increase in imports of petrochemicals, it is resulting in sizeable capital outflow, therefore we need to raise domestic output," Chaudhary noted. A number of developments are already underway, globally as well as within India.
Edited from various sources by Rosalie Starling
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