Week 4 India
Taj Mahal, India - photo credit Beautiful Free Stock Photos (CC0).
Welcome to the fourth edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
This week we focus on India who signed the Paris Agreement on the 22nd of April 2016, ratified it on the 2nd of October that year (147th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth), with it coming into force on the 4th of November 2016.
According to the European Commission’s research database EDGAR (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research), India was the third highest emitting nation of Co2 into the atmosphere in 2014 with 6.5% of global emissions.
India submitted its first “Biennial Update Report” (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, produced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in December 2015. The report outlined greenhouse gas emissions by sector with the highest emitters being energy (71%), agriculture (18%) and industry (8%).
The 2015 energy statistics from the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation reported that 95% of India’s primary energy supply was sourced from coal (59%) and crude oil (36%) alone. In Enerdata’s Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2016, India was reported as the second highest consumer of coal after China. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this high consumption is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
To combat its high levels of CO2 emissions, the Indian government has set up two funds - the National Clean Energy Fund, financed by a carbon tax of 200 Rupee per tonne and the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change to which the Indian government has allocated 3.5 billion Rupee.
The goal of both funds is to provide financing to companies who strive to develop innovative CCUS solutions across all sectors, although some environmental experts coal, of criticise this funding as falling significantly short.
Nonetheless, Indian companies are creating innovative solutions to help drive reductions in CO2 emissions. BREATHE, a Bangalore-based team, has qualified for the semi-finals of the $20m NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition (mentioned in last week’s article). BREATHE converts waste from coal-fueled power plants into methanol, which has multiple industrial uses, e.g. it is the main ingredient in anti-freeze. Another Indian company, Carbon Clean Solutions, have developed a technology that is capable of capturing up to 90% of emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants. This technology can be easily retrofitted into plants and capture flue gas CO2 emissions. Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals in Southern India are using the technology to capture CO2 from its boilers and use it to make baking soda. Interestingly, the Tuticorin project was completed without requiring any subsidy. The Guardian newspaper in the UK ran a feature on this innovation, highlighting its potential as a profit-maker for companies that introduce it.
India’s reliance on coal and crude oil as primary energy sources will provide them with steep challenges as they strive to meet their Paris Agreement commitments. The Indian Government’s commitment to CO2 emissions reductions through funding and also the technologies developed by innovative Indian organisations like BREATHE and Carbon Clean Solutions offer encouragement.