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CIL retrofitting dumpers to run on liquefied natural gas, to cut diesel use

Coal Ministry informed that Coal India has recently begun the process of retrofitting liquefied natural gas kits in its dumpers that transport coal from mines. The state-owned miner intends to further reduce the company’s carbon footprint, while cutting down on its diesel usage, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement assumes significance in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday stating that India will reach its net zero carbon emission target by 2070, as he laid out the country’s climate action plan.

“In order to further reduce carbon footprint, Coal India Ltd (CIL), Ministry of Coal has recently initiated the process of retrofitting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) kits in its dumpers,” according to an official statement.

CIL, the world’s largest coal miner, uses over 4 lakh kilolitres of diesel per annum with an expense of over ₹3,500 crore.

The company in association with GAIL (India) Ltd and BEML Ltd has taken up a pilot project for retrofitting LNG kits in its two 100 tonne dumpers operating at the subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) under an MoU with GAIL and BEML.

Once the LNG kit is successfully retrofitted and tested, these dumpers will be able to run on dual fuel systems and their operations will be significantly cheaper and cleaner with the use of LNG.

CIL has over 2,500 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 ₹500 crore savings annually if all heavy earth moving machines 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 performance of the dumpers. The pilot project is likely to be completed by the year’s end.

Based on the outcome, CIL will decide about bulk use of LNG in its Heavy Earth Moving Machines (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.

Globally, LNG hybrid operation in high capacity mining dump trucks has been implemented by the US, Canada, Mexico, Russia and Ghana.

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