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Indian scientists to dev US zero emission coal plant

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 3: Indian scientists and engineers will participate in building a coal-based power plant in the US that is set to become the world's first plant with zero carbon dioxide emission.

An agreement signed this morning between US Assistant Secretary for Energy, Jeffrey Jarret, and Power Secretary R V Shahi allows the entry of India into the ambitious FutureGen project for building commercially viable 275 MW power plants using coal.

India is the first country to participate in the 10 billion dollar US project that is expected to produce power by 2012.

India's private companies will also be taking part in various stages of research and development.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who was present at the signing ceremony, said India's energy needs were growing rapidly and by 2020, the need for power would be 400,000 MW compared to the present 125,000 MW.

Today's agreement is independent of the nuclear deal signed between the two countries during the visit of US President George W Bush, said Mr Jarret.

The US administration will not help India set up FutureGen plants in the country, but Indian scientists could learn how to use various kinds of coal for FutureGen-like zero carbon dioxide emission plants.

Considerng the low quality of Indian coal, which has a high ash content, India could adapt the FutureGen technology to the domestic coal and even retrofit existing coal power plants, said Mr Shahi.

''It is inevitable that India should depend on coal-based power generation because of our growing energy needs and particuarly in the context of rising oil prices,'' he said.

The work on the FutureGen plant will start in 2009, completed by 2011 and in a year it will go operational. The US Energy Department has received proposals from 22 sites spread across 9 states. The final decision on the site will be taken next year, said Mr Jarret.

The agreement on FutureGen was announced during Mr Bush's visit to India last month and builds on the US-India Energy Dialogue launched in May 2005 to increase trade and investment in the Indian energy sector. FutureGen was announced by Mr Bush in 2003.

FutureGen plant will emit virtually no airborne pollutants and solid wastes will be converted into commercially viable and environmentally benign products. Carbon gases will be captured before they escape into the atmosphere. It will however take 10 per cent more cost to build a FutureGen plant compared to a conventional plant.


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