L&T has emerged as the best technical bidder for NLC India’s lignite gasification project. Price negotiations between the two companies are going on, NLC India’s Chairman and Managing Director, M Prasanna Kumar, told businessline today.  

The ₹4,350-crore project is for producing ‘syn gas’ (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) and making methanol from the syn gas. NLC India had issued two separate tenders — for lignite to syn gas and for syn gas to methanol.  In December 2023, Kumar told businessline that three parties had submitted bids for the ‘lignite to syn gas’ package.

As for syn gas to methanol, the deadline for responding to the tender has been extended till March end.  

Air Products of USA is the technology partner for the project. Government of India-owned Engineers India Ltd is the project manager.  When completed, the project would produce 400,000 tonnes of methanol using 2.5 million tonnes of lignite, replacing ₹1,000-crore worth of crude imports. 

Kumar said this on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ meet organised by the Ministry of Coal to sensitise the industry about emerging opportunities to make mining equipment in India.  

Small modular reactor

Kumar also said that NLC India was “exploring the possibility” of setting up a small modular reactor (SMR), for doing its part in ‘energy transition’. He said the company had initiated talks with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for that purpose. Later, he told businessline that what he had in mind was a 200-MW nuclear plant and would not be put up at Neyveli. (SMRs are the in-thing in the nuclear industry today, many companies are interested in putting up small, or even micro, nuclear reactors for producing electricity locally.)