Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 55% of the country’s energy need. The country’s industrial heritage was built upon indigenous coal.
Coal is a fossil fuel and is the altered remains of prehistoric vegetation that originally accumulated in swamps and peat bogs.
The energy we get from coal today comes from the energy that plants absorbed from the sun millions of years ago. All living plants store solar energy through a process known as photosynthesis. When plants die, this energy is usually released as the plants decay. Under conditions favourable to coal formation, the decaying process is interrupted, preventing the release of the stored solar energy. The energy is locked into the coal.
Coal formation began during the Carboniferous Period – known as the first coal age – which spanned 360 million to 290 million years ago. The build-up of silt and other sediments, together with movements in the earth’s crust – known as tectonic movements – buried swamps and peat bogs, often to great depths. With burial, the plant material was subjected to high temperatures and pressures. This caused physical and chemical changes in the vegetation, transforming it into peat and then into coal.
Commercial primary energy consumption in India has grown by about 700% in the last four decades. The current per capita commercial primary energy consumption in India is about 350 kgoe/year which is well below that of developed countries. Driven by the rising population, expanding economy and a quest for improved quality of life, energy usage in India is expected to rise. Considering the limited reserve potentiality of petroleum & natural gas, eco-conservation restriction on hydel project and geo-political perception of nuclear power, coal will continue to occupy centre-stage of India ‘s energy scenario.
Indian coal offers a unique ecofriendly fuel source to domestic energy market for the next century and beyond. Hard coal deposit