You are on page 1of 14

1

ENERGY SOURCES OF INDIA
1.0 Introduction
Energy is derived from two sources, generally classified as commercial and non-commercial.
Commercial sources include coal, oil, gas, hydro and nuclear while non-commercial sources
comprise firewood, agricultural and animal waste. Some agricultural waste is being exploited as
a commercial form of energy. The Indian industry uses commercial energy sources.
Consumption of commercial energy by various sectors is given in Table 1. It is apparent from
Table 1, that industry uses 48% of the commercial energy.

Table 1. Consumption of Commercial Energy
Sector Percent
Agriculture 5.5
Industry 48.0
Transport 29.5
Services 17.0
Total 100.0
Source: RBI, 1999 and TERI Various Issues

In the last two decades, the share of agriculture in the economy has declined substantially while
that of industry and services has increased. There has been a significant slowdown in agriculture
and allied sector growth from 7.1% in 1998-99 to a mere 0.7% in 1999-2000, despite a record
level of food grains production in 1999-2000. There was a significant improvement in the overall
growth in industrial value added goods from 3.4% in 1998-99 to 6.8% in 1999-2000. This was
due to growth in value added services by the manufacturing sector from 2.5% in 1998-99 to
6.8% in 1999-2000 (GOI, 2001). Service sector which includes hotels, communication,
financial, real estate and other business services also performed well during the above period.

The shares of specific fuels used by various sectors are given in Table 2. Sectoral demand for
energy arises mainly from lighting and cooking in the household sector; irrigation and other
operations in the agricultural sector; transport of passengers and freight and fuel input
requirements in the transport sector. Industrial sector remains as the largest consumer of
commercial energy, followed by the transport sector.

Table 2. Share of specific fuels used by various sectors
Sector Oil Electricity Coal
Household 29 11 3
Agriculture 10 16 -
Industry 5 62 78
Transport 56 2 13
Others - 9 6
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Source: Energy Conservation in Textile Wet Processing, 1992
2

Large amounts of energy are being wasted by various sectors and the potential to conserve
energy is as high as 25% in the industrial sector, 20% in the transport sector and 30% in the
agricultural sector. The household sector also wastes enormous amounts of energy and the saving
potential could be as high as 30-40%.

2.0 Energy Consumption by Sources:
India is richly endowed with coal. Besides coal, other sources, viz., petroleum based sources,
hydel sources, nuclear energy, wind and solar energy form major sources of energy. On one
hand, petroleum based resources should be conserved for production of industrial chemicals and
products like plastics etc., On the other massive investment is required to pool these energy
sources for domestic and industrial consumption purposes. Studies on the use of biomass wastes
have given encouraging results. The decentralized system emphasizing the establishment of
gobar gas and other energy generating methods would also help in reducing pollution and these
could be set up with smaller investments. Table 3 shows the various energy sources available for
consumption.
Table 3. India’s available Energy Reserves
Fuel Type Quantity
Coal 186 billion tonnes
Lignite 5060 million tonnes
Crude Oil 728 million tonnes
Natural Gas 686 billion cu-m
Uranium 78000 tonnes
Thorium 3,63,000 tonnes
Hydro 84000 MW at 60% PLF
Renewables Biomass 6000 MWe
Wind, Solar etc., 20,000 MWe
Source: http://www.npcil.nic.in/main/faq.aspx#1

The present Energy consumption patterns with various fuel types are shown in Figure 1.
Source: Energy and infrastructure banking and investment development, October 2010


Fig 1. Energy consumption pattern in India from various fuels
53%
11%
1%
25%
3%
8%
Coal
Gas
Oil
Hydro (Renewable)
3

Coal
India has vast reserves of coal and participation of the private sector in captive mining across
different user industries is an immediate opportunity for investment. Coal fields with mineable
coal reserves in excess of 1,000 million tonnes are proposed to be identified and are in the
process of being allocated for captive mining. This may imply a total capital requirement of
around USD 1.5-2 billion. (Source: India Energy Outlook, KPMG International, 2006)

Oil
The Government policy of allowing full private participation in upstream exploration and
production has already attracted a number of private investors. Five rounds of competitive
bidding under the Government policy named New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) have
already been done and reserves estimated at 700 MMT of oil and gas have been discovered. In
addition, India presents a lot of potential in the refining sector due to strategic advantages of low
cost and location and is already a net exporter of products. The downstream marketing sector is
now also open to private participation.

Gas
Discoveries of gas to the tune of 700 bcm
3
in the last decade in the country hold promise for gas
reserves in India. Apart from domestic gas, significant focus is being placed on LNG as a means
of ensuring supplies for domestic demand, resulting in a number of LNG terminal projects that
are being planned in different parts of the country. Coal bed methane potential appears to be very
promising and will probably exceed free natural gas reserves. An emerging area on the demand
side is auto CNG and piped gas which together would account for about 7 % of total demand in
five years. In the last couple of years, at least 30 cities have been identified for city gas coverage
by private and public sector players. Draft gas pipeline policy gives support to the development
of a national gas grid, which would create a common gas market across the country.

Nuclear
The growth of nuclear power in India as envisaged is possible provided robust technologies are
developed for both the front end and the back end of the fuel cycle. India has one of the largest
reserves of the nuclear fuel thorium, however till commercial production based on this fuel
becomes feasible, the nuclear energy programme will be uranium based. There is a persisting
need for developing techniques for economic and efficient extraction of uranium from lean
sources e.g. sea water.

Hydro
India is endowed with hydro-potential of about 250,000 MW. However, only 17 percent of the
hydroelectric potential has been harnessed so far and 5 percent is under various stages of
development. Private participation in the hydro sector will be important to meet the target of an
additional 45,000 MW of hydro capacity addition in the next ten years. Various policy measures
are also being considered to attract private investment.
4

Renewable Energy
India has a vast potential for renewable energy, especially in areas such as solar power, biomass
and wind power. The current installed capacity of renewable energy is around 7100MW,
comprising 6% of India’s total installed generation capacity. The Government has set an
objective of achieving an installed renewable based generation capacity of 10,000 MW by the
year 2012, largely in the areas of wind and small-hydro. Technological breakthroughs for the
cost-effective photovoltaic technology could generate a quantum leap in the renewable energy
sector as India is well endowed with solar insolation (average of 6 kwh/sq.mt./day). The
potential of various renewable energy sources excluding solar energy is shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Potential of various energy sources in India

Source: Life Academy News on climate change & Wind power, 2010
56%
19%
4%
18%
3%
Wind
Biomass
Bagasse Cogeneration
Small Hydro
Waste based
5

ENERGY CONVERSION TECHNOLOGIES

2.0 Introduction
Modern life is unimaginable without electricity. It lights houses, buildings, streets, provides
domestic and industrial heat, and powers most equipment used in homes, offices and machinery
in factories. Improving access to electricity worldwide is critical to alleviating poverty. Coal
plays a vital role in electricity generation worldwide. Coal-fired power plants currently fuel 41%
of global electricity. In some countries, coal fuels a higher percentage of electricity as shown in
Table 2.1. The importance of coal to electricity generation worldwide is set to continue, with
coal fuelling 44% of global electricity in 2030.

Table 2.1. Conversion of Coal to Electricity by various countries
South Africa 93% Poland 92% PR China 79%
Australia 77% Kazakhastan 70% India 69%
Israel 63% Czech Rep 60% Morocco 55%
Greece 52% USA 49% Germany 46%
Source: IEA 2010

2.1 Conversion of Coal to Electricity
Steam coal, also known as thermal coal, is used in power stations to generate electricity. Coal is
first milled to a fine powder, which increases the surface area and allows it to burn more quickly.
In these pulverised coal combustion (PCC) systems, the powdered coal is blown into the
combustion chamber of a boiler where it is burnt at high temperature (see diagram below). The
hot gases and heat energy produced converts water in tubes lining the boiler into steam.

Figure 2.1 Schematic view showing conversion of coal to electricity
6

The high pressure steam is passed into a turbine containing thousands of propeller-like blades.
The steam pushes these blades causing the turbine shaft to rotate at high speed. A generator is
mounted at one end of the turbine shaft and consists of carefully wound wire coils. Electricity is
generated when these are rapidly rotated in a strong magnetic field. After passing through the
turbine, the steam is condensed and returned to the boiler to be heated once again. The electricity
generated is transformed into higher voltages (up to 4,00,000 volts) used for economic, efficient
transmission via power line grids. When it nears the point of consumption, such as our homes,
the electricity is transformed down to the safer 100-250 voltage systems used in the domestic
market.
The total installed capacity for electricity generation from thermal power plants in India in 2007
was 89275.84 MW (INCCA, India – Green House Gas Emissions 2007, MoEF, GOI, May 2010).
Coal utilization was 90% of the total fuel mix, the remaining is contributed by natural gas and
oil.

2.2 Conversion of Oil to Electricity
Crude oil is extracted from oil fields located on land or offshore in the ocean. It is then converted
to more refined products in large oil refineries. One product of this refinement is fuel oil that can
be burnt to produce electricity in oil-fired power plants. Oil deposits are found in deep
underground reservoirs. Like other fossil fuels, oil is the end product of millions of years of
decomposition of organic materials. As the ultimate amount of oil is finite and cannot be
replenished once it is extracted and burnt, it cannot be considered as a renewable resource. There
are about three possible approaches used in the conversion of oil into electricity: (Source:
Leonard Wagner, “Overview of power generation techniques”, January 2007)

 Conventional steam: Oil is burnt to heat water to create steam to generate electricity.
 Combustion turbine: Oil is burnt under pressure to produce hot exhaust gases, which spin
a turbine to generate electricity.
 Combined-cycle technology: Oil is first combusted in a combustion turbine, using the
heated exhaust gases to generate electricity. After these exhaust gases are recovered, they
heat water in a boiler, creating steam to drive a second turbine.

From Fig 2.2, the oil (1) is piped into the boiler (2), where it is burnt, converting its chemical
energy into heat energy. This heats water in pipes coiled around the boiler, turning it into steam.
The hot steam expands in the narrow pipes, so when it emerges it is under high pressure. The
pressure drives the steam over the blades of the steam turbine (3), causing it to spin, converting
the heat energy released in the boiler into mechanical energy. A shaft connects the steam turbine
to the turbine generator (4), so when the turbine spins, so does the generator. The generator uses
an electromagnetic field to convert this mechanical energy into electrical energy. After passing
through the turbine, the steam comes into contact with pipes full of cold water. In coastal stations
7

this water is pumped straight from the sea (5). The cold pipes cool the steam so that it condenses
back into water. It is then piped back to the boiler, where it can be heated and turned into steam
again, and keep the turbine turning. Finally, a transformer converts the electrical energy from the
generator to a high voltage. The national grid uses high voltages to transmit electricity efficiently
through the power lines (6) to the homes and businesses that need it (7). Here, other transformers
reduce the voltage back down to a usable level. As well as heat, burning oil produces exhaust
gases. These are piped from the boiler to the exhaust stack (8), which contains equipment that
filters out any particles, before venting into the atmosphere. The stack is built tall so that the
exhaust gas plume (9) can disperse before it touches the ground. This ensures that it does not
affect the quality of the air around the station.
(Source: http://www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/generation-oil)

Figure 2.2 Schematic view showing conversion of Oil to electricity






8

2.3 Conversion of Natural gas to Electricity
In Fig. 2.3, natural gas (1) is pumped into the gas turbine (2), where it is mixed with air (3) and
burned, converting its chemical energy into heat energy. As well as heat, burning natural gas
produces a mixture of gases called the combustion gas. The heat makes the combustion gas
expand. In the enclosed gas turbine, this causes a build-up of pressure. The pressure drives the
combustion gas over the blades of the gas turbine, causing it to spin, converting some of the heat
energy into mechanical energy. A shaft connects the gas turbine to the gas turbine generator (4),
so when the turbine spins, the generator does too. The generator uses an electromagnetic field to
convert this mechanical energy into electrical energy. After passing through the gas turbine, the
still-hot combustion gas is piped to the heat recovery steam generator (5). Here it is used to heat
pipes full of water, turning the water to steam, before escaping through the exhaust stack (6).
Natural gas burns very cleanly, but the stack is still built tall so that the exhaust gas plume (7)
can disperse before it touches the ground. This ensures that it does not affect the quality of the air
around the station. The hot steam expands in the pipes, so when it emerges it is under high
pressure. These high-pressure steam jets spin the steam turbine (8), just like the combustion gas
spins the gas turbine. The steam turbine is connected by a shaft to the steam turbine generator
(9), which converts the turbine’s mechanical energy into electrical energy. After passing through
the turbine, the steam comes into contact with pipes full of cold water. In coastal stations this
water is pumped straight from the sea (10 and 11). The cold pipes cool the steam so that it
condenses back into water. It is then piped back to the heat recovery steam generator to be
reused. Finally, a transformer converts the electrical energy from the generator to a high voltage.
The national grid uses high voltages to transmit electricity efficiently through the power lines
(12) to the homes and businesses that need it (13). Here, other transformers reduce the voltage
back down to a usable level. (Source: http://www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/generation-gas)
9


Figure 2.3 Schematic view showing conversion of Gas to electricity

2.4 Conversion of Wind Energy to Electricity
Wind turbines use the wind’s kinetic energy to generate electrical energy that can be used in
homes and businesses. Individual wind turbines can be used to generate electricity on a small
scale – to power a single home, for example as shown in Fig. 2.4. A large number of wind
turbines grouped together, sometimes known as a wind farm or wind park, can generate
electricity on a much larger scale. A wind turbine works like a high-tech version of an old-
fashioned windmill. The wind blows on the angled blades of the rotor, causing it to spin,
converting some of the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy. Sensors in the turbine
detect how strongly the wind is blowing and from which direction. The rotor automatically turns
to face the wind, and automatically brakes in dangerously high winds to protect the turbine from
damage. A shaft and gearbox connect the rotor to a generator (1), so when the rotor spins, so
does the generator. The generator uses an electromagnetic field to convert this mechanical
energy into electrical energy. The electrical energy from the generator is transmitted along cables
to a substation (2). Here, the electrical energy generated by all the turbines in the wind farm is
combined and converted to a high voltage. The national grid uses high voltages to transmit
electricity efficiently through the power lines (3) to the homes and businesses that need it (4).
10

Here, other transformers reduce the voltage back down to a usable level. (Source:
http://www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/generation-wind)

Figure 2.4 Schematic view showing conversion of Wind Energy to electricity

2.5 Conversion of Hydro power to Electricity
A hydroelectric power station converts the kinetic, or movement, energy in flowing or falling
water into electrical energy that can be used in homes and businesses. Hydroelectric power can
be generated on a small scale with a ‘run-of-river’ installation as shown in Fig. 2.5, which uses
naturally flowing river water to turn one or more turbines, or on a large scale with a hydroelectric
dam. A hydroelectric dam straddles a river, blocking the water’s progress downstream. Water
collects on the upstream side of the dam, forming an artificial lake known as a reservoir (1).
Damming the river converts the water’s kinetic energy into potential energy: the reservoir
becomes a sort of battery, storing energy that can be released a little at a time. As well as being a
source of energy, some reservoirs are used as boating lakes or drinking water supplies. The
reservoir’s potential energy is converted back into kinetic energy by opening underwater gates,
or intakes (2), in the dam. When an intake opens, the immense weight of the reservoir forces
water through a channel called the penstock (3) towards a turbine. The water rushes past the
turbine, hitting its blades and causing it to spin, converting some of the water’s kinetic energy
into mechanical energy. The water then finally flows out of the dam and continues its journey
11

downstream. A shaft connects the turbine to a generator (4), so when the turbine spins, so does
the generator. The generator uses an electromagnetic field to convert this mechanical energy into
electrical energy. As long as there is plenty of water in the reservoir, a hydroelectric dam can
respond quickly to changes in demand for electricity. Opening and closing the intakes directly
controls the amount of water flowing through the penstock, which determines the amount of
electricity the dam is generating. The turbine and generator are located in the dam’s power house
(5), which also houses a transformer. The transformer converts the electrical energy from the
generator to a high voltage. The national grid uses high voltages to transmit electricity
efficiently through the power lines (6) to the homes and businesses that need it (7). Here, other
transformers reduce the voltage back down to a usable level.

Figure 2.5 Schematic view showing conversion of Hydro power to electricity
12

2.6 Conversion of Nuclear power to Electricity
A nuclear power station turns the nuclear energy in uranium atoms into electrical energy that can
be used in homes and businesses. In Fig. 2.6, the reactor vessel (1) is a tough steel capsule that
houses the fuel rods – sealed metal cylinders containing pellets of uranium oxide. When a
neutron – a neutrally charged subatomic particle – hits a uranium atom, the atom sometimes
splits, releasing two or three more neutrons. This process converts the nuclear energy that binds
the atom together into heat energy. The fuel assemblies are arranged in such a way that when
atoms in the fuel split, the neutrons they release are likely to hit other atoms and make them split
as well. This chain reaction produces large quantities of heat. Water flows through the reactor
vessel, where the chain reaction heats it to around 300°C. The water needs to stay in liquid form
for the power station to work, so the pressurizer (2) subjects it to around 155 times atmospheric
pressure, which stops it boiling. The reactor coolant pump (3) circulates the hot pressurized
water from the reactor vessel to the steam generator (4). Here, the water flows through thousands
of looped pipes before circulating back to the reactor vessel. A second stream of water flows
through the steam generator, around the outside of the pipes. This water is under much less
pressure, so the heat from the pipes boils it into steam. The steam then passes through a series of
turbines (5), causing them to spin, converting the heat energy produced in the reactor into
mechanical energy. A shaft connects the turbines to a generator, so when the turbines spin, so
does the generator. The generator uses an electromagnetic field to convert this mechanical
energy into electrical energy. A transformer converts the electrical energy from the generator to a
high voltage. The national grid uses high voltages to transmit electricity efficiently through the
power lines (6) to the homes and businesses that need it (7). Here, other transformers reduce the
voltage back down to a usable level. After passing through the turbines, the steam comes into
contact with pipes full of cold water pumped in from the sea (8). The cold pipes cool the steam
so that it condenses back into water. It is then piped back to the steam generator, where it can be
heated up again, turn into steam again, and keep the turbines turning.
13


Figure 2.6 Schematic view showing conversion of Nuclear power to electricity

2.7 Conversion of Solar power to Electricity
Solar panels turn energy from the sun’s rays directly into useful energy that can be used in
homes and businesses. There are two main types: solar thermal and photovoltaic, or PV. Solar
thermal panels use the sun’s energy to heat water that can be used in washing and heating. PV
panels use the photovoltaic effect to turn the sun’s energy directly into electricity, which can
supplement or replace a building’s usual supply. A PV panel is made up of a semiconducting
material, usually silicon-based, sandwiched between two electrical contacts. To generate as much
electricity as possible, PV panels need to spend as much time as possible in direct sunlight (1a).
as shown in Fig. 2.7. A sloping, south-facing roof is the ideal place to mount a solar panel. A
sheet of glass (1b) protects the semiconductor sandwich from hail, grit blown by the wind, and
wildlife. The semiconductor is also coated in an antireflective substance (1c), which makes sure
that it absorbs the sunlight it needs instead of scattering it uselessly away. When sunlight strikes
the panel and is absorbed, it knocks loose electrons from some of the atoms that make up the
semiconductor (1d). The semiconductor is positively charged on one side and negatively charged
14

on the other side, which encourages all these loose electrons to travel in the same direction,
creating an electric current. The contacts (1e and 1f) capture this current (1g) in an electrical
circuit. The electricity PV panels (2) generate is direct current (DC). Before it can be used in
homes and businesses, it has to be changed into alternating current (AC) electricity using an
inverter (3). The inverted current then travels from the inverter to the building’s fuse box (4), and
from there to the appliances that need it. PV systems installed in homes and businesses can
include a dedicated metering box (5) that measures how much electricity the panels are
generating. As an incentive to generate renewable energy, energy suppliers pay the system’s
owner a fixed rate for every unit of electricity it generates - plus a bonus for units the owner
doesn’t use, because these can help supply the national grid. Installing a PV system is not cheap,
but this deal can help the owner to earn back the cost more quickly - and potentially even make a
profit one day.

Figure 2.7 Schematic view showing conversion of Hydro power to electricity