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Fuel Options for Power Generation. R.C. Mahajan Joint Adviser (Petroleum) Planning Commission New Delhi. Various Options. Various fuel options for power generation are: Coal and Lignite Natural Gas Petroleum Fuels Uranium and Thorium Biomass.

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fuel options for power generation

Fuel Options for Power Generation

R.C. Mahajan

Joint Adviser (Petroleum)

Planning Commission

New Delhi

various options
Various Options

Various fuel options for power generation are:

  • Coal and Lignite
  • Natural Gas
  • Petroleum Fuels
  • Uranium and Thorium
  • Biomass
Fuel option for electricity generation in a country depends on
  • Fuel resource endowment
  • Price of fuel
  • Convenience of use
  • Regulation on environment emissions
  • Generation for base load/peaking load
  • Availability through import

Resource Endowment

As on 1.1.2005

consumption supply of coal in 2005 06
Consumption & Supply of Coal in 2005-06
  • Consumption 448.72 million tonnes (333.15) million tonnes
  • Supply
    • Indigenous production 401.72 million tonnes

(307.16) million tonnes

    • Imports 41.67million tonnes

(17.78) million tonnes

Total 443.39 million tonnes

Gap (domestic supply) 47.0 million tonnes

(26.0 million tonnes)

Figures in brackets pertain to coal used in power generation

demand of natural gas
Demand of Natural Gas
  • Demand projections varies from 158 to 180 MMSCMD for the year 2011-12.
  • However, the materialisation of this demand will depend upon the price of natural gas/RLNG.
availability of natural gas
Availability of Natural Gas


* Includes LNG imports from Iran which are yet to be tied-up

price of gas in india
Price of Gas in India

Gas Suppliers $/MMBTU

NOCs : 1.84 to free pricing with restrictions

JVs : 4.75 to free pricing

Private : 4.08-5.00

LNG : 3.86

Spot LNG : 10-11

Gas prices becoming market driven

bio mass

* Included in Sl. No. 1 above


Fuels for Electricity Generation-one possible scenario

Figures in % indicate GDP Growth Rate

# includes secondary oil consumption for coal-based generation

coal and lignite
Coal and Lignite
  • In view of the relatively large reserves of coal in the country, coal would continue to play major role in power generation in the country.
  • However, to meet the requirement of power sector, the indigenous production capacity of coal needs to be augmented.
initiatives in coal sector
Initiatives in Coal Sector
  • Regulatory mechanism proposed to address resource development and allocation of blocks
  • Captive mining permitted for private sector
    • 148 blocks have been identified
    • 94 coal blocks allocated so far
    • 8 blocks have commenced production
  • At present, captive mines allowed to sell coal produced during the development period to a CIL subsidiary at price determined by a committee.
initiatives in coal sector contd
Initiatives in Coal Sector (contd..)
  • The higher import of coal would require augmentation of port capacity and transport infrastructure.
  • The indigenous coal has high ash content and thus low calorific value. It can be improved by beneficiation of coal.
  • Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology would improve the efficiency and reduce the emission.
natural gas
Natural Gas
  • Preferred fuel for power generation because of convenience and lower environmental impact compared to Coal.
  • Limited availability in India
  • Availability needs to be augmented by import through transnational gas pipelines and in the form of LNG. However, it would depend on the availability and price of natural gas in the international market.
natural gas contd
Natural Gas (Contd.)
  • The price of natural gas has gone up almost three times in the recent past making it unviable for power generation.
  • Natural gas can be used for meeting peak demand of power.
  • Use of gas in de-centralized small turbines using waste heat for space cooling through vapour absorption system with a view to increase conversion efficiency.
petroleum fuels
Petroleum Fuels
  • At current prices petroleum fuels are not viable for power generation.
  • However, in the absence of other options, captive generation in some industry would continue to use petroleum fuels to sustain production.
bio mass19
  • Bio-mass fuel is an option for Agro/food processing industries.
  • Bio-mass as fuels for power generation seems to be the feasible option for ensuring rural energy security.
  • Coal will continue as a main fuel for power generation for many years to come
  • The gas as a fuel option may be constrained because of its price and its sourcing from international market.