New Delhi: It is critical for a developing nation like India to address the rising greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a rapidly expanding industrial sector, while not compromising its economic growth. The Indian power/ steel/ cement/ refinery and other heavy industrial sectors rely heavily, at present, on coal and petroleum products. However, in the long-term, deep decarbonisation scenarios through Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS), could play an important role to achieve net-zero emissions in energy systems.
In view of the above, the NITI Aayog organised a National Workshop on CCUS on 30th March 2022, in the hybrid mode. The workshop brought together government officials, industry leaders and the academia to discuss the role of CCUS in enabling a circular economy for India.
In the inaugural session, Shri Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, mentioned about India’s commitment, in the CoP 26, to become a NET ZERO Carbon Nation by 2070, and the consequent need to make the CCUS projects both technically, as well as economically viable.
The Secretary, Ministry of Coal — Shri Anil Kr Jain — emphasised on the launching of a National Mission on CCUS and added that the CCUS projects would become viable once CO2 capture was done at the pithead.
Dr. K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said that a carbon market, with a suitable pricing mechanism, was important to create a pull amongst the stakeholders to ensure the right level of investment in CCUS technologies in India
Shri Atanu Mukherjee, President and Chief Executive Officer, M N Dastur Co. Ltd., presented the methodology of capturing and utilizing CO2 economically and effectively, at an industrial scale. He emphasised on the need for a policy support for enabling the CCUS value chain and the related carbon markets.
The Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog – Dr Rajiv Kumar — in his inaugural address, mentioned that India was, probably, the only country in the world that was required to continue growing, but in an environmentally benign manner. Such an imposing challenge, he added, could be met only through the implementation of CCUS projects. He further surmised that one sector – that continued to remain largely unnoticed from the carbon point-of-view – was Agriculture. In order to restore the carbon content in the soil to about 2.5% from the existing approximately 0.4%, natural farming needed to be promoted in a big way across the country. He concluded his address by saying that the NITI Aayog would come out, through a consultative process in the form of a task force, with a policy document for promoting the deployment of CCUS projects, in potential sites across India, in a time bound manner.
The 3 technical sessions deliberated on the work needed to overcome the current lack of experience while developing and integrating the capture and utilization of CO2, coupled with an optimum storage infrastructure.
In order to introduce and promote CCUS in India, a stewardship role needed to be played by the Government of India for the development of a robust and effective CCUS policy framework.