In a major move to cut down carbon emissions, Coal India Ltd (CIL), a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Coal has recently initiated the process of retrofitting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) kits in its huge trucks engaged in transportation of coal in mines. CIL is the world’s largest coal miner and consumes over four lakh kilolitres of diesel annually with an expense of over Rs 3500 crore.
The Coal miner has joined hands with GAIL India Ltd. and BEML Ltd. to take up a pilot project for retrofitting LNG kits in its two 100 tonne dumpers (the huge trucks used for transporting coal in mines) operating at the subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. (MCL). CIL has signed an MoU with GAIL and BEML for the pilot. Once the LNG kit is successfully retrofitted and tested, these dumpers will be able to run on a dual fuel system and their operations will be significantly cheaper and cleaner with the use of LNG.
CIL has over 2500 dumpers operating in opencast coal mines and the fleet consumes about 65 to 75 per cent of the total diesel used by CIL. LNG is likely to replace diesel use by 30 to 40 per cent and reduce fuel cost by about 15 per cent paving the way for Rs 500 crore savings annually if all heavy earth moving machines (HEMMs) including dumpers are retrofitted with LNG kits.
The cost economics of the project will be evaluated after completion of the pilot project and technical study on the performance of the dumpers. The pilot is likely to be completed by year-end. Based on the outcome, CIL will decide about bulk use of LNG in its HEMMs, especially dumpers. CIL is planning to buy HEMMs with only LNG engines if the project becomes a success and this will help reduce its carbon footprint drastically and achieve sustainable goals.
Hybrid dumpers with LNG powered engines are being used globally by countries including the US, Canada, Mexico, Russia and Ghana.
(With inputs from PIB)