10:26 GMT +317 November 2019
Listen Live
    Indian laborers work near solar panels at the Gujarat Solar Park at Charanka in Patan district, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Ahmadabad, India. (File)

    Delhi Makes Double Green Energy Breakthrough… Or Does It?

    © AP Photo / Ajit Solanki
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    0 09
    Subscribe

    India’s Prime Minister Modi previously claimed that 40 percent of his country’s energy would be delivered by renewable sources by 2015. Two 2016 projects, both from Tamil Nadu state, are perceived as “world-leading.” But will they be enough to satisfy the country’s appetite for the level of power needed to get its vast population out of poverty?

    The coal-powered Tuticorin industrial plant has switched toward zero-CO2 emissions, according to media reports. While one plant in a country with a population of over a billion people can be considered to be a drop in the ocean, the case is interesting, as the owner did not use the time-honored practice of accepting state or international subsidies.

    Instead, Tuticorin owners implemented a method developed by two Indian chemists that, despite proclaimed goals in green energy, the Indian central government previously refused to consider. The scientists, undaunted, turned to a United Kingdom-based entrepreneur support scheme for seed money.

    The technology developed by the Indian scientists uses a form of salt, which, when sprayed as a fine mist, bonds with CO2 in the power plant's chimney. According to statements from the scientists' company, Carbonclean Solutions, the new method is more effective than legacy carbon-cleaning technologies.

    While the plant's owner can claim to be ecologically conscious, profit motivated the installation of the filters.

    "I am a businessman. I never thought about saving the planet. I needed a reliable stream of CO2, and this was the best way of getting it," owner Ramachadran Gopalan told reporters.

    Gopalan required CO2 as an ingredient for the production of sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking powder, a chemical widely used as a food additive.

    Gopalan is currently considering installing a second boiler at his plant, which would produce additional CO2 from burning coal.

    According to reports, Carbonclean Solutions admits that their method of CO2 capture will not stop climate change. They estimate that a realistic impact of their technology, if used on all coal-fired power plants, would be an estimated 7-percent reduction of world CO2 emissions.

    The overall ecological impact of the new technology is not known. What is known is that, while eliminating CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, the technology produces alkaline waste. However, the method is less expensive to implement than popular methods of CO2 absorption.

    In other attempts to make its energy sector more green, the Indian government has adopted subsidies for a plan to use solar energy to power 60 million homes by 2022.

    One example is an enormous solar power plant in Kamuthi, commissioned in July 2016. The facility has become the world's largest solar plant, taking the title from California's Topaz Solar Farm. The Kamuthi solar facility occupies over 10 square kilometers, generating about 648 megawatts. Kamuthi only generates power during daylight hours, storing overflow into vast banks of batteries, making it unfit for industrial purposes.

    Adani, the company behind the Kamuthi solar power plant admits that renewables "can't answer India's vast appetite for power to lift people out of poverty." Therefore, the company is looking to create Australia's biggest coal mine, to provide power to 100 million people in India.

    It is unclear whether India will stick with Modi's earlier green-energy goals now that US President-elect Donald Trump has announced his intention to ditch US renewable and sustainable energy regulation brought about by outgoing President Barack Obama.

    During UN climate talks in Morocco, India notably made no pledge to push green energy policy, despite changes in energy priorities in the US.

    Related:

    Record US Gasoline Exports Push Up Energy Costs More Than Other Commodities
    Tokyo Investors Eye Investing $11 billion Into Russia-Japan Energy Bridge
    Baltics' Entry Into EU Energy Ring Makes Problems for Kaliningrad Energy Supply
    Tags:
    energy, CO2 emissions, solar power, India
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik