UPSC PRELIMS 2020: Coal Gasification

Topic:Coal Gasification

Topic in Syllabus: Science and Technology


  • Odisha’s Talcher fertiliser plant awarded a contract for starting a coal gasification unit for the production of urea and Ammonia.
  • It was part of the government’s initiative to revive closed fertiliser plants belonging to the Fertiliser Corporation of India Limited (FCIL) and the Hindustan Fertilisers Corporation Ltd (HFCL).

About Coal Gasification:

  • Coal gasification is the process of converting coal into synthesis gas (also called syngas), which is a mixture of hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • The syngas have variety of applications such as in the production of electricity and making chemical products, such as fertilisers.
  • The coal gasification process holds good potential in the future, with coal being the most abundantly available fossil fuel across the world, and that even low-grade coal can be used in the process.

Why Fertiliser plant at Odisha was shut down:

  • Frequent power restrictions.
  • Technology mismatch.
  • Precarious steam balance.

Benefits of Coal Gasification:

  • Reduce the import of LNG.
  • India currently imports 50 to 70 lakh tonnes of urea every year, and that the revival of the units would help increase the availability of domestically produced fertilisers.
  • Project would generate direct and indirect employment of around 4,500 people.
  • Project’s environment-friendliness would help India in meeting its commitments under the CoP-21 Paris Agreement.


Sample Question:

Which of the following statements are true?

a)      Anthracite has a carbon content of 60-75%.

b)      Acid rain is caused by burning coals with a high sulphur content.

c)       Coal originated from the decay of micro-organisms in the sea.

d)      None

Answer: b