World’s largest coal miner CIL will diversify into coal to chemical business and is planning to set up a coal—based methanol plant in West Bengal.

“Coal India (CIL) intends to diversify into new ‘Coal to Chemical business’ domain by converting the high calorific value, low ash thermal coal into chemical,” an official said.

To implement the new strategy, premises of its existing Dankuni Coal Complex in West Bengal has been identified as the location for setting up a coal to methanol complex by using the good quality coal from Raniganj coalfield, the official said.The methanol plant, the official said, would be set up through coal gasification route.“The first step to this new venture will be pre—qualification of coal gasification licensors who can produce Syngas of required composition for production of methanol utilising the Raniganj coal,” the official added.

CIL, the official said, has also invited an expression of interest from internationally reputed technology licensors having the requisite coal gasification technology and those willing to provide the technology for production of synthesis gas (Syngas) on commercial basis.

“The licensor should be capable of providing basic design package for coal gasifiers and associated equipment, including coal preparation for gasifying coal from Raniganj coalfield with ash content up to 28 per cent on commercial basis,” he said adding that the objective is to process Raniganj coal for gasification to produce Syngas for methanol production.

The government had earlier said the domestic coal gas can be used as feedstock for producing urea and other chemicals that can help limit the country’s import bill by USD 10 billion in five years and reduce carbon emission.

Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar had earlier said that India’s dependence on petroleum and natural gas can be brought down or done away with if the country manages to extract gas from coal.