Outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, India’s first coal gasification-based fertiliser plant at Talcher is on schedule. The state-of-the-art complex being set up on over 900 acre land consists of a coal gasification unit, an ammonia as well as urea plant. The ammonia plant has a designed capacity of 2,200 tonne per day while the urea plant’s capacity stands at 3,850 tonne. There are associated facilities, including coal based captive power plant.
The unit will use coal as feedstock and once operationalised, it will have an output of 1.27 MMTPA of ‘Neem’ coated prilled urea by using a blend of indigenous coal and pet coke as feedstock. The project is expected to be mechanically completed by end of this year. The unit will utilise about 3.3 million tonne per annum coal from Talcher mines.
The plant promoted by Talcher Fertilisers Ltd (TFL), a joint venture between GAIL India Ltd, Coal India Ltd, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd and Fertiliser Corporation of India Ltd, is expected to be commissioned by September 2023. The plant will have provision of blending up to 25 per cent pet-coke to handle high ash content in coal.
Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi and PNG and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had reviewed the project in the aftermath of the pandemic which affected the execution at different stages. Pradhan said, Covid situation may have delayed the execution of the project but it has been fast-tracked to compensate the delay so that the project meets the deadline. Taking stock of the progress Joshi advised them to expedite the project and assured them of support from the ministry.
When commissioned, the TFL along with other four revival projects at Ramagundam, Gorakhpur, Barauni and Sindri will be able to realise the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to achieve self-sufficiency in urea production, Pradhan said. The new fertiliser plant will produce 100 tonne per day of sulphur flakes as a saleable by-product. It will produce being2.38 million tonne cubic metres per day of natural gas equivalent synthesis gas from coal.
Envisaged at an overall investment of ` 13,277 crore with debt equity ratio of 72:28, the project during construction phase will generate employment for up to 10,000 people and once it begins commercial operation, around 4,000 people will get direct and indirect employment. Wuhuan, a China-based firm has prepared the basic design of coal gasification package.
The Talcher fertiliser plant formerly owned by Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL) had stopped production since March 1999 due to frequent power restriction, obsolete and mismatch of technology and precarious steam balance. The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) had declared the Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd sick in 1992.
Coal preparation-Coal is milled to fine particles and dried to improve conversion efficiency before being fed into the gasifier
Air separation-The air separation unit separates oxygen from air to help facilitate the reaction in the gasifier. The separated nitrogen is used as feed for producing ammonia synthesis gas
Gasification-Gasification converts coal to raw syngas at a high efficiency by partial oxidation of coal with oxygen to mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The coal ash is melted and recovered as a marketable stable glassy slag
CO shift conversion-In the water gas shift reaction, carbon monoxide in the syngas reacts with water to form carbon dioxide and hydrogen.
Gas clean-up-The raw syngas contains traces of impurities like trace minerals, particulates and Sulphur as well as carbon dioxide that are removed in the cleanup section.
Ammonia synthesis-In the ammonia synthesis, hydrogen and nitrogen react in the presence of a catalyst to form ammonia.
Urea production-The ammonia is reacted with the carbon dioxide which was removed from the syngas in the gas cleanup section to produce urea melt. The urea melt is then concentrated, prilled and bagged before dispatch