News Excerpt
Recently, the coal ministry has opened up the plans to utilise Coal Bed Methane (CBM) for household energy purposes and soon launch a large scale programme.

●    Coal India has set a target of producing 1 Million Metric Standard Cubic Meter per Day of CBM by 2023-24.
●    In 2018, the Union Cabinet relaxed the rules for Coal India Limited (CIL) to extract natural gas. CIL accounts for over 80 % of India’s domestic coal output.
●    Under the CBM policy, CBM bidding rounds have been implemented in 33 CBM blocks. It is expected that India will have 2,600 billion cubic meters of CBM.
●    India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, and CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.
●    The country’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states.The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and all the current CBM producing blocks. FArtical or instance-CBM projects exist in Raniganj coalfield, the Parbatpur block in Jharia coalfield and the East and west Bokaro coalfields.
●    The vast majority of the best prospective areas for CBM development are in eastern India, situated in DamodarKoel valley and Son valley.

About CBM
    CBM is a clean non-conventional source of energy extracted from unconventional gas reservoirs. Where gas is extracted directly from the coal that is the source of the gas.
    CBM is formed during the process of coalification – the transformation of plant material into coal. The methane is present as lining in the inside of pores within the coal.
    The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater.
    Coal bed methane contains very little heavier hydrocarbons such as propane or butane, and no natural-gas condensate.
    It is called ‘sweet gas’ because it does not contain any hydrogen sulphide. The gas often contains up to a few percent of carbon dioxide.
    Uses of CBM: CBM can be used for power generation, as compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel, as feedstock for fertilisers, industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and for methanol production.

    The government in 2019 liberalised foreign investment (FDI) norms in coal mining. For sale of coal, allowing 100 % FDI for coal mining activities including associated processing infrastructure. This move is expected to attract international players and create an efficient and competitive coal market. Coal bed methane should also be included in this.
    Coal extraction and its widespread use as an energy resource pollutes the environment a lot. Coal is becoming outdated practice, instead of it the electricity led infrastructure should be given preference. Though CBD is relatively a cleansource its extraction requires coal mining which is not a clean way of harnessing energy.
    The poor permeability of coal seams makes CBM production a major challenge for extraction. Also, the gas present in the coal seams depends on the type of coal and the quantity of gas present may vary depending upon the coal type.
Issues involved in CBD Extraction
    Water pollution: Coal bed methane exploration involves pumping large volumes of water out of coal seams to reduce the hydrostatic pressure and liberate the gas. Either water gets contaminated or polluted.
    Global Warming: Methane is the potential Greenhouse Gas its leakage and inefficient extraction may contribute to GHG which ultimately contribute to global warming.
    Environmental Clearance: CBD producers need to get environmental clearance. It is time consuming and prone to delays, causing losses. Further local resistance would also limit the potential of CBD extraction.

India should ensure its energy security and CBD as a cleaner source of energy is a sustainable alternative source for augmenting India’s energy resource. CBD extraction would reduce crude Oil and Gas Imports and therefore reduce import billing. Further CBD doesn't involve huge cost as its proximity with coal mining is well defined. Power is essential in economic development. Therefore, India should diversify its power sources in order to achieve sustainable development goals by harnessing resources which are present with it.

CNG, HELP, NELP, Conventional and non-Conventional Sources