Odisha's Offer to Climate Change: Nalco's 'Out of the Box' at Angul

Even as India’s role in clinching the historic Climate Change agreement at Paris has been hailed by world leaders, a novel initiative in Odisha.

Published: 18th December 2015 06:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th December 2015 07:00 AM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR: Even as India’s role in clinching the historic Climate Change agreement at Paris has been hailed by world leaders, a novel initiative in Odisha is already showing the way for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

While the agreement calls upon all nations to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) by developing new technologies, an ‘out of the box’ project undertaken by Nalco at its Angul facility for carbon sequestration through micro-algae cultivation has posed itself as a glaring example.

Goaded by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), the national PSU took up the project using micro algae biotechnology to capture CO2 released from its captive power plant and convert it to algae biomass on a pilot basis in 2010.

The results of the first-of-its-kind technology in the country have been stunning. It has achieved CO2 sequestration at the rate of 32 tonne per acre per year.

“This means, CO2 generated by 20 tonne per acre a year of F-Grade coal is being captured. The sequestration volume is equivalent to planting trees over 30 acre,” Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Siddhanta Das, who spearheaded the project as the then Member, Odisha Pollution Control Board, said.

The renewable algae biomass generated through the sequestration technology is more than 20 tonne per acre per year which is equivalent to 10 tonne of coal. The total carbon neutral energy generation due to sequestration activity is equivalent to 10 tonne of coal.

If the project can be upscaled to a five acre unit in a power plant and 10 power plants take up the initiative, the State will have a capacity to generate as high as 1500 tonne carbon neutral energy.

“This holds immense import for a State like Odisha, which being the hub of thermal power generation in the country, has much higher carbon footprint than the national average. Odisha can thus demonstrate generation of 3000 Mwh (3 Gigawatt hour) as renewable energy as its contribution to the Climate Change Agreement and Action Plan,” Das said.

The algal biomass generated by the sequestration process has immense sustainable and commercially viable end-uses, and can be straight away used as industrial absorbent in coke processing plants for removal of cyanide and phenol from effluent.

Indocan Technology Solutions on Thursday showcased the successful experiment at a seminar on ‘Role of Micro-algae in developing sustainable society’ here. Nalco CMD TK Chand and member secretary, SPCB Rajiv Kumar hailed the technology. Das, who conceptualised the pilot project and has been promoting carbon sequestration efforts for last five years, was felicitated on the occasion.

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