Ambarish Mukherjee

New Delhi, Dec. 13

INDIA is likely to participate in the $1-billion US-sponsored FutureGen Project for emission-free coal-based power plant.

China has joined the project and India's participation would ensure that the three largest coal-based economies join hand in developing clean coal technology, officials said.

FutureGen is an initiative to build the world's first integrated sequestration and hydrogen production power plant. The $1-billion project is to create the world's first zero-emission plant that would be the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power facility in the world.

The push for India to participate in the project came recently when a high-level team from the Ministry of Coal visited the US for the second meeting of the India-US Energy Dialogue Coal Working Group.

It was also decided to establish a Business Advisory Group as a resource to the coal working group consisting of eight members from each country, the officials said.

FutureGen project is part of the US President, Mr George Bush's Clear Coal Power Initiative launched in 2001 with an investment of $2 billion. It emphasises on clean technology for coal; making this fuel environmentally competitive; and using technology to reduce emission even as coal use increases.

The prototype plant will establish the technical and economic feasibility of producing electricity and hydrogen from coal, while capturing and sequestering the carbon-dioxide generated in the process.

The project is a government-industry partnership. It will employ coal gasification technology integrated with combined cycle electricity generation and the sequestration of carbon-dioxide emissions.

In a limited way, India is already developing integrated gasification combined cycle technology through Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, officials pointed out.

During the operational phase, the project will generate revenue streams from the sales of electricity, hydrogen and carbon-dioxide. The revenue will be shared among the project participants, including the US Government, in proportion to their respective cost-sharing percentage.

The India-US joint group will next meet in India next summer, officials said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 14, 2005)
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