What is coal?
Coal is a readily combustible, black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, predominantly made of carbon. It is formed over millions of years through geological pressure applied on plant remains buried under the soil. The heat value of coal reserves in our country (measured in Gross Calorific Value (GCV)), is unfortunately lower than that of international coal reserves. This has necessitated stringent quality monitoring through coal testing by various reputed national laboratories. This process is termed as “Third Party Sampling - TPS”
Major uses of coal
As one of the most affordable and abundant sources of energy in India, Coal is primarily used for the following:
- Power generation in Thermal Power Plants.
- Steel production with help of coking coal.
- Synthetic fuel by gasification and coal liquefaction.
- In alumina refineries, paper manufacturing, and chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Types of coal found in India
- Anthracite: It is the highest grade of coal containing a high percentage of fixed carbon. It is hard, brittle, black and lustrous. It is found in smaller quantity in regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Bituminous: It is a medium grade of coal having high heating capacity. It is the most commonly used type of coal for electricity generation in India. Most of bituminous coal is found in Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.
- Subbituminous: It is black in colour, dull (not shiny) and has a higher heating value than lignite.
- Lignite: It is the lowest grade coal with the least carbon content. It is found in the regions of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Jammu & Kashmir.
Need for coal quality assessment
Coal India Limited (CIL) is striving to bring in transparency and accountability in the entire production and sale process for all stakeholders including citizens of India. Third Party Sampling (TPS) provides a very efficient system to achieve the same.
Third Party Sampling (TPS) facilitates assessment of coal quality, which has an impact on:
- Operating efficiency of the thermal power plant
- Cost of power generation (Both Domestic and Industrial) and a cascading effect on prices of other products due to higher input costs
There are various parameters on which the quality assessment can be done, two of the primary quality parameters are :
- Gross Calorific value (GCV)
- Ash/Moisture content
Coal India Limited (CIL) has set a target of covering 100% of coal dispatch under Third Party Sampling (TPS), which will help lower pollution level, increase operating efficiency of thermal power plants, thereby providing cheap electricity to Indian Households and Industries
New Initiatives by CIL to Improve Quality of Coal
Coal India Limited (CIL) has taken numerous steps in order to improve quality of coal such as:
GCV Based pricing – The unit price of coal will be linked to the unit GCV value of the coal dispatch being sampled by Third Party/Joint agencies.
Shakti Scheme – Coal India Limited has recently launched Coal linkage policy called SHAKTI - “Scheme to Harness and Allocate Koyla.” It aims to auction long-term coal linkages to power companies to ensure an adequate supply of fuel to power plants.