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Problem Areas of oil Sector and conservation
(i) India's large and growing reliance on import of oil and oil products makes it susceptible to changes in international oil prices. Oil imports accounted for 44 percent consumption and the value accounted to 27 percent of total imports in 1995-96. This also raises concern regarding ensuring oil security for the nation.
(ii) The domestic crude production has stagnated for some years and even gone down.
(iii) Since the finding of Bombay High in the '80s, we have not found any major oil filed. We have also been unable to attract foreign oil companies to come for exploration in India.
(iv) Pricing of oil products is highly politicised and full of distortions.
Conservation — A very high priority is being attached to the conservation of petroleum products. The petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), operating under the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural GAs, has taken the following measures for conservation of petroleum products: (i) creation of mass awareness on the need for conservation of petroleum products; (ii) promotion of measures to curb wasteful practices; (iii) improve the oil use efficiency of equipment, devices and vehicles; (iv) R&D for improving oil use efficiency in various end uses; and (v) promotion of inter-fuel substitution — like compressed natural gas (CNG) was introduced as an alternative fuel in road transport sector.
In order to enhance energy security with the objective to ensure that petroleum products are available across the country at the minimum cost and on regular basis, the Government has adopted a four-point strategy as given below:
(i) Exploration Abroad : Domestic oil and gas companies like OIL and ONGC will take up exploration abroad which will earn them foreign exchange for purchase of oil.
(ii) New Refineries : Oil exporting countries to be allowed to set up new refineries in the country. Oman Oil and Kuwait Petroleum Corp., are doing so.
(iii) Pipeline Grid : To ensure quick and free movement of oil, a pipeline grid is to be built. This will save transportation cost.
(iv) Strategic Reserves : Petroleum ministry wants to build up a 45 day reserves in certain areas. Through this country can tide over a temporary shortage.
Natural gas is found both alone or in association with crude oil; but most of the output comes from associated sources. Exclusive natural gas reserves have been located in Tripura, Rajasthan and almost in all the offshore oil fields of Cambay in Gujarat, Bombay High, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
In a power deficient country like India, natural gas is precious gift. It can be used both as a source of energy (for thermal power) and also as an industrial raw material in petro-chemical industry. It takes less time to build a power plant based on natural gas. For Indian agriculture it has a capacity to boost its production through the building of fertiliser plants based on natural gas. The utility of gas is further heightened because of its easy transportability through gas pipe lines. Now gas from Bombay and Gujarat gas fields is taken to states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), set up in 1984 for transportation, processing and marketing of natural gas, was assigned the priority task of setting up the cross country Hajira-Bijapur-Jagadishpur (HBJ) gas pipeline which is 1,730 km long and carries 18 million cubic metres of natural gas per day. It would feed six fertiliser plants and 3 power plants to begin with. Hazira, the starting point, is in Gujarat; Bijapur, from where one line runs towards Sawaimadhopur in Rajasthan, is in Madhya Pradesh; and Jagdishpur, the terminus, is in Uttar Pradesh. HBJ pipeline is a part of the network for southern gas grid— a concept envisaged for transport of surplus gas from the western offshore fields to the southern states, supplementing to the extent feasible, by additional gas finds and the gas proposed to be imported from the Middle East. A proposed 2,3000 km gas pipeline will be laid from Oman to India from where gas could flow to all southern states.
Power development in India began in 1910 with the commissioning of hydel power station at Sivasamudram in Karnataka. India's electricity generation capacity has increased tremendously since independence but it has not kept pace with demands resulting from rapid industrialisation, social and economic development and urbanisation.
Power, whether thermal,, hydro or nuclear, is the most convenient and versatile form of energy. It is in great demand by the industry accounting for 50 percent of total power consumption, agriculture 25 percent and the remaining in transport, domestic and other sectors.
Coal, petroleum and natural gas are the chief sources of thermal power. These sources are of mineral origin and are also called as fossil fuels. Their greatest demerit is that they are exhaustible resources and cannot be replenished by man. Moreover, they are not pollution free as hydro-electricity is.
Thermal power stations are located mainly in the big industrial regions and coal fields. Of the total installed thermal power generation capacity Maharashtra accounts for 14.1%, West Bengal 13.2%, Uttar Pradesh 12.8%, Gujarat 12.2%, Jharkhand 12%, Tamilnadu 9.4%, Madhya Pradesh 7.8% Andhra Pradesh 5.9% and Delhi 5.2% .
In order to develop thermal power, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), New Delhi was set up in 1975 as a Central sector company. It aimed at augmenting electricity supply by setting up Super Thermal Power Stations and began with a 200 MW project at Singrauli in 1982. Today it has an installed capacity of 16,795 MW, representing about 28% of the all India thermal capacity. The corporation has successfully commissioned super thermal power projects a Singrauli (UP), Korba (MP), Ramagundam ( AP), Farakka (WB), Vindhyachal (MP), Rihand (UP), Dadri (UP), Kahalgaon (Bihar), Talcher (Orissa) and five combined cycle gas power projects at Anta (Rajasthan), Auraiya (UP), Dadri (UP), Kawas (Gujarat) and Gandhar (Gujarat).
Surface water because of its potential energy in certain areas, provides the cheapest, neat and clean resource of energy. Electricity produced from water represents hydro power. With the limited resources of coal, lignite and oil, growing reliance is being placed on hydel and nuclear power.
Potential Areas : India has huge untapped identified potential in the hydel sector. The important hydel power region of India are: (i) the most important region lies along the foothills of Himalaya in Western Uttar pradesh and Himachal Pradesh having untapped identified potential of about 50,000 MW (ii) the north-eastern region also having huge hydro power potential; (iii) the region along Western Ghats running through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala; (iv) the region along the Satpura, Vindhyas, Mahadeo and Maikal ranges in Central India; (v) the thermal power region extending from east of Nagpur to west embracing coalfields of Gondwana belt.
Growth of Hydro Power : The first hydro power plant in India was set up at Darjeeling in 1897, followed by a second plant at Sivasamudaram in Karnataka in 1902. The total installed capacity which was 588 MW in 1951 increased to 20,976 MW in 1995-96. The current data has been given above Italics.
Merits of Hydro Power : Except for the heavy initial investment hydel projects have a definite edge over other power plants. Hydel power projects not only provide cheap generation of electricity but are renewable in nature (since water is renewable or inexhaustible source). In other words hydel projects have a very low generation and maintenance cost, while the cost of input i.e. coal in thermal power plants is considerably high. There is no problem of pollution of environment or disposal of waste matter in generation of hydel power. Oil, coal and gas resources which can be used for providing electricity are in short supply and exert greater pressure on foreign exchange resources; hydel power can easily replace them. In addition, hydel projects can also be used to meet the requirement of irrigation in the down stream areas, and can also adequately meet the demands of power.
Problems of Hydro Power : Although as per estimates of Central Electricity Authority, the annual hydroelectricity potential of our country at 60% load factor is 989,830 MW, yet hardly 25% of it has been harnessed, so far. It is probably because the initial investment and execution period of hydro-electric projects are comparatively much more. Another major drawback of hydel projects is displacement of population and damage to environment and fertile lands. There seems to be no escape from long gestation periods. But for the displacement of population and damage to environment and fertile lands, the focus is shifting from constructing big dams to the "run-of-the-river" projects. While dams are preferred in the foothills, so that area downstream could be irrigated also, run-of-the river projects are preferred in the high hills, which are far from plains. Such projects do not require big reservoirs and electricity is generated from water available in the river at a particular point of time. This does not need to displace any population, on the one hand, and does not affect the forests and environment, on the other. But such projects cannot increase electricity generation to meet the peaking requirements, as done by the reservoir based hydel projects. Hence a blend of both types of hydel projects is recommended.
Deficiency of quality coal and natural gas and oil has forced the urgency of developing nuclear power in India. The nuclear power generation began in India in 1969 with the commissioning of first atomic power station at Tarapore with foreign technology. India achieved a landmark in nuclear power programme by building and commissioning indigenously the Kalpakkam atomic power plant in Madras in 1983. Since then India has acquired all the capabilities needed to generate nuclear power.
Three Stage programme : Dr. Homi J.Bhabha in 1954, formulated a three stage programme for attaining self reliance in nuclear power using uranium and vast thorium resources of India.
First Stage : Use of natural uranium (U-238) as fuel in pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) to produce power and plutonium.
Second Stage : Use of plutonium produced in fast breeder reactor (FBR) to produce additional plutonium/U-233 from thorium and power.
Third Stage : Use of thorium-U-233 in an advanced fuel cycle and reactor system (Under development)
The first stage has reached the commercial stage. The generation of power from nuclear energy began in India in 1969 with the commissioning of first atomic power station at Tarapore i.e. TAPS. The total installed capacity of nuclear power stations in operation at five sites in five states is 1940 MWe.
The commissioning, in 1985, of the fast breeder test reactor (FbTR) of 40 MW thermal and 13 MW electrical power at IGCAR, Kalpakkam marked the commencement of the second stage of India's nuclear power programme.
For the third stage some progress has been made like U-233 bearing fuel has been fabricated and tested in small reactor system; an advanced heavy water reactor system that can make use of appropriate thorium/U 233 fuel cycle is being developed. India's long term strategy is to depend on thorium reactors because, (i) thorium converted into U-233 would help to keep the cycle going, without sizeable inputs of external fissile material; (ii) the energy potential of thorium on thermal reactors is way above that of natural uranium; (iii) India has nearly five times as much high grade thorium as uranium (abundant availability of thorium from natural resources); and (iv) potential of thorium exceeds that of fast reactors.
Sun is the universal, most abundant and inexhaustible source of energy with a huge potential . Solar energy may be used for cooking, power generation, space heating, crop drying etc.. Solar energy is tapped through thermal and photovoltaic routes for thermal and electricity applications.
India being a tropical country receives on an average 5 kWh/sq. m smaller radiant energy (SRE) for about 300 days/annum.
The SRE is supplementing the thermal energy and electrical energy requirement in different sectors. Over 12 million litre of hot water/day capacity has already been installed in India. Solar thermal power is envisaged to be more suitable for arid areas where abundant sunshine is available while other sources of power would require heavy investments. It is estimated that around 100 hectares of land in a region like Rajasthan can deliver 35 MW of power from solar energy. Salijipally in Andhra Pradesh became the country's first village to be electrified using solar photovoltaic (SPV) systems. The first two 100 KW partial grid interactive SPV power projects at Kalyanpur in Aligarh district and Saraisadi in Mau district of UP have been commissioned. At present SPV systems in India are being used for powering a variety of lower power applications in rural, remote and unelectrified areas for lighting and water pumping, power for railway signalling, rural telecommunication, water purifying for drinking water and irrigation and TV transmission.
Wind has kinetic energy by virtue of the movement of large masses of air caused by differential heating of the atmosphere by the sun. This energy can be utilised for performing mechanical works like lifting water from wells and for water pumping, a prime need in irrigating farms, and also for generating electricity. The total potential for wind energy in India is estimated to be 20,000 MW. The major sites suitable for power generation from wind energy are located in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala. Wind power in India has been developed both in the stand alone mode (wind mills) and in wind farms. Asia's largest wind farm of 28 MW is located at Mandvi in Kutch district of Gujarat. Asia's largest wind farm cluster of 150 MW is at Muppandal in Tamilnadu.
Geothermal energy is the energy produced by natural processes occurring within the earth. The major source of this energy (in the form of heat) is molten underground rock or magma. Geothermal energy is extracted for heating and power generation from natural steam, hot water or dry rocks in the Earth's crust. The most potent sources are volcanoes and hot springs but there are other areas too from where heat can be generated under controlled conditions.
In India 340 hot springs localities with average temperatures of 800-1000C have been identified as the potential source of geothermal energy. A 5 kW geothermal pilot power plant has been commissioned at Manikaran in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. A potential of 4-5 MW geothermal power has been estimated in the Puga Valley of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
The use of geothermal energy for space heating and green house effect has been demonstrated. A project on mushroom cultivation and poultry farming using geothermal fluid is under implementation at Regional Research Laboratory Jammu. The green house for the project will be established at Puga Valley utilising the existing geothermal borewell.
Biomass occupies a predominant place as an energy source in rural India. Biomass is defined as living matter or its residue, which is a renewable source of energy. Common examples of biomass are wood, grass, gerbage, grains, bagasse etc. The main sources of biomass can be classified into two groups : (i) waste material including those derived from agriculture, forestry and municipal wastes, and (ii) growing energy crops involving short duration forestry plantations.
Under biomass programme measures have been initiated to plant fast growing, high calorific value species of plants and trees to meet the needs of fuels, fodder and power. These are called energy plantations. grown in wastelands, besides providing energy. For producing power from biomass gasifier systems and Stirling engines have been developed indigenously.
Biomass is also being used for production of liquid fuel (for transportation) such as ethanol and methanol and solid fuel through conversion of agricultural wastes into pellets and briquettes vegetable oils, having high calorific value and ignition quality approximating to those of diesel oil, can act as substitute or supplement diesel oil.
India has made following strides in raising energy from biomass conversion:
• A 10 MW rice straw based thermal plant — the first of its kind—has been commissioned by BHEL at Jhalkhari in Punjab.
• A pilot plant to generate electricity from garbage and municipal wastes has been installed at Timarpur, Delhi.
• The first large scale of plant to produce fuel pellets from municipal garbage has begun trial runs at Mumbai.
• A 100 KW gasifier system has been established at Port Blair .
Biogas is a sustainable source of energy by virtue of its production from vastly available natural organic wastes, simplicity of construction, operation and maintenance of the production units and multiple benefits accrued at the national and user level.
Biogas is a gaseous mixture (in varied composition); generally composed of 60 per cent methane (high value fuel), 40 per cent carbondioxide (an inert gas) and traces of other gases such as nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide. It is produced by anaerobic fermentation (biological process) of natural organic wastes. The organic wastes may be: (i) cowdung and other animal excreta, (ii) human excreta, (iii) agricultural wastes such as straw, plant, leaves, algae, paddy husk, water weeds etc., (iv) industrial wastes containing cellulosic material such as distillery sludge, wastes from tannery, food industries, paper mills etc.
While producing biogas, the manorial value of the dung is not reduced but the slurry from biogas plant is an enriched manure as it has a higher content of oxygen, phosphorous and potassium. Accordingly such plants help in obtaining both fuel and manure from the same quantity of cattle dung. Biogas is a clean, cheap and convenient cooking fuel. It can also be used for lighting purposes and running small motors for lifting and providing power for cottage industries. There are several other advantages for rural families if they adopt biogas technology. The rural women and children will be spared the ordeal of daily collection and loading on their heads heavy bundles of firewood. There will be an end to the fumes (that is part of the traditional chulhas) that are smarting to the eyes and cause lung diseases; a lot of time is also saved in cooking and cleaning of the utensils and vessels; indiscriminate felling of trees for fuel is also reduced. And if latrines are attached to these plants it helps village sanitation too.
What makes the unit financially viable is the cash inflow in terms of saving on firewood and production and use of enriched manure with a high content of oxygen, phosphorous and potassium for agriculture.
Ocean Thermal Energy conversion
India is having large potential of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) which could be of the order of about 50,000 MW. Some of the best sites in the world for OTEC are situated off the Indian mainland and near the islands Lakhsadweep, Andaman and Nicobar. An Ocean Energy Cell has been set up at IIT, Madras to keep pace with the international developments in this field. The world's first OTEC plant is proposed to be set up at off the coast of Tamilnadu with a capacity of 100 MW.
The OTEC makes use of the difference in temperature between the surface of the sea and at a depth of 1000 m or more, to extract energy. This energy is used to drive turbines for generating electricity. In tropical countries like India the technique works even better as the temperature gradient in the seas is as great as 25°C.
The main hurdles in OTEC technology is the cost factor, operational stages and the low operational efficiency of OTEC plants.
The energy of ocean waves, generated in their continual upward and downward motion, is harnessed to activate either a water operated or, preferably, air operated turbine to generate electricity. The wave energy potential of the 6000 km long Indian coast is estimated at about 40,000 MW. Trade wind belts in Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal are the ideal places for trapping wave energy.
Wave power is renewable and pollution free but very expensive (Rs. 1 per unit).
India's first wave energy power plant of 150 kW (maximum) capacity based on Oscillating Water Column (OWC) has been commissioned at Vizhingam by IIT. Madras. The Department of Ocean Development has declared the plant at Vizhingam as a national facility for wave energy and wave application studies. A Swedish organisation Sea Power AB has developed technology for harnessing wave energy under floating wave power concept (FWPC). Harnessing wave energy on this principle is being explored in India and a 1MW wave energy plant is being set up in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The regular flow and ebb of tides in the sea, produced by the gravitational attraction of the sun and the moon, are also useful for producing electricity, specially where the tidal range, i.e. the difference between the high and the low tide is large. If either a natural or artificial reservoir is available, power can be produced by moving the incoming and outgoing tides through turbines. The tidal power potential in India is estimated to be about 8000 MW to 9000 MW. The potential sites identified are Gulf of Cambay (7,000 MW), Gulf of Kutch (1000 MW) and Sunderbans (100 MW). Asia's first tidal power plant of 900 MW capacity is proposed to be set up at Kandla in the Gulf of Kutch.
Theoretically, the moving ocean current can be used to generate energy by allowing the water to pass through a series of turbines installed under water. But the energy density that can be harnessed is low : maintaining the turbines in position is a bigger problem.
Ocean Wind Energy
Winds in the coastal areas are relatively stronger and smoother than winds in the land areas and can be harnessed as a source of energy. Several countries are producing energy from this source. Some of the problems associated with trade wind zone are icing and hurricane.