Despite various technological barriers and absence of proper regulation and enabling policy framework this is an opportune time for the Indian cement industry to focus all its efforts on increasing co-processing.
While developed countries have successfully achieved a TSR rate over 40 per cent, in certain cases even up to 80 per cent, in India it is around a meager one per cent; and the target set for 2020 is just 5 per cent. What the industry needs is specific policy and regulatory framework that help enhance the AFR utlisation.
Cement plants can dispose different kinds of wastes in an environmentally sound manner, without any residue for further treatment and disposal. Co-processing offers an environment-friendly waste solution that is superior to land filling or incineration. Cement kiln co-processing facilitates zero waste future having no concern or liability of the generated waste. While disposing wastes, cement kiln recovers the energy and recycle raw material in it, thereby reducing the use of traditional renewable fuels and raw materials.
The global scenario
Some of the energy-intensive industries when became unviable due to very high cost of energy have been able to transform themselves into viable industries by co-processing waste as an alternate fuel. Tracking the history of AFR usage Axel Pieters, Head, Geocycle India, says, ´About 25 years ago, Geocycle Belgium initiated the use of waste as alternative fuel. This plant turned from a low profit to a high profit plant. Over a period, investments of the order of $30 million were made to develop state-of-the-art facilities to move to a significant TSR percentage in this plant.´ According to Pieters 80 TSR is considered to be a remarkable achievement. In some developed countries, where the waste markets are mature and legislation and enforcement are in place, these numbers can be achieved. Here, the society at large is ready to invest in a clean environment.
Legislation - the enabler
What kind of legislation is there in developed countries for the industry to make long term investments to reach very high levels of TSR like 60-80 per cent? Pieters sheds some light. Countries like Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Norway have already reached the figures of 60-90 per cent of TSR in many cases. A part of Eastern European countries, which moved to European Union later on, are raising their investments now. European Union has a policy to reduce 40 per cent landfill area by 2020 as compared to what it was in 1998, otherwise these countries will get penalties. Therefore, there is a mandatory drive to implement the landfill directive. There is a big strive in Eastern Europe to raise TSR levels.
Says Shashank Jain, Programme Manager (Industry), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, ´Cement kilns, in-fact, in the developed countries are seen as an effective option for disposing industrial and urban waste. Enabling policy and regulatory environment has helped these countries manage the waste as a resource.
According to Jain TSR in Indian cement industry varies in great range. Few leading plants have achieved high figures in the range 15-20 per cent but most operate below three per cent of substitution. Jain is however optimistic. He says, ´AFR usage in cement industry is rising slowly but steadily since last few years. Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) have also become more concerned and acting proactively in terms of speeding up the clearance processes. We are very positive on this and expect TSR to be above five per cent by 2020.´
Policy framework, a must
What is the present policy framework in India for utilisation of waste and what amendments are needed? According to Pieters high values of TSR indicate that the industry has made investments because there is a conducive policy framework which infuses investments. Plans have to be made in feeding installations and preprocessing installations which are to the tune of $10 million. If one plans to use RDF derived out of municipal solid waste that contains 0.8 per cent of chlorine gas, one has to implement the chlorine by-pass system beyond a certain TSR level. A chlorine by-pass system typically costs about $8 million. In India, the installation of a chlorine by-pass is blocked due to legal limitations.´
´ At Geocycle India, we have made investments for implementing co-processing solution for the wastes and expect a reasonable return on investment for the same. However, in the Indian set up, the legislation is politically influenced. It is blocking the co-processing of waste by favouring dumping and land filling. It thus becomes difficult for the cement industry to compete. For the environmental protection of the country as such, the policy framework is lagging behind compared to the other countries,´ avers Pieters.
Ulhas Parlikar, Deputy Head, External Affairs, R&D, Geocycle India explains it further. According to him most countries are adopting environment-friendly technologies for waste management and co-processing technology has been recognised as one of the preferred technologies in their policy framework. Different kinds of wastes are diverted in these countries to cement kilns for co-processing because co-processing, being a recovery process, is higher in waste management hierarchy over landfill or incineration. In India, co-processing technology has started receiving its deserved recognition now and the policies are getting aligned towards the same. The current permitting process consists of waste-by-waste clearance through an elaborate trial burn process. In India, as of now more than 75 trial burns of different kinds of wastes have been implemented successfully and all have been approved as acceptable by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs). These wastes ranged from non-hazardous wastes to most dangerous Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Now, therefore, there is a need to move the legislation from waste-by-waste permitting process to infrastructure and emission monitoring-based permitting system.´
According to Rajnish Kapur, Business Head (Grey Cement Division), JK Cement, the time taken to get the approval from the respective authorities for use of AFRs is too long. With the implementation of online monitoring systems the online data is transferred to the concerned board. Hence the board should now issue open clearance system for all the AFRs which have been used in various cement manufacturing units. He adds,´Automatic open clearance system for all cement plants for waste co-incineration is to be given, if the trial has been conducted successfully for that class of material in any cement plant.´
Says KN Rao, Director-Energy & Environment, ACC Ltd, ´Co-processing of alternative fuels in place of fossil fuels and use of non-carbonaceous raw material are aligned to the company climate change mitigation strategy. ACC has deployed huge amount of technical resources and also made huge investments for pre-processing facilities and feeding system in various plants of ACC for use of alternative fuels and raw materials in cement manufacturing process.´
The 2020 target
Action plan has already been drawn up by the Institute of Industrial Productivity (IIP) for Indian cement industry by which the target is to reach five per cent of TSR by the year 2020. According to Kamalkumar, Chief General Manager, Holtec today TSR is less than 1 per cent for the whole of industry. UltraTech is around 0.45 per cent, ACC is 0.6 per cent, My Home is 0.3 per cent. Achieving the target of five per cent of TSR itself seems to be a Herculean task. He says, ´In fact, we have the technical capability to reach the target of five per cent TSR and manufacturers are ready and taking initiatives to achieve the stipulated target. But there has to be a collective mechanism in place. Suppose today one invests in creating a facility to use RDF and in future RDF is not made available to him that is going to create enough trouble. Vikram Cement at Khor has invested in the facility and it is working fine. On the flip side JP cement in HP has invested, however they are not getting RDF.´ He adds, ´In short everybody including CMA, SPCB, CPCB are working hard to put the system in place, make it happen. Facilities are being created and we can reach the target in the near future.´
For Parlikar to achieve the target there is an urgent need to implement necessary policy level reforms that are emission monitoring and infrastructure based. Further, there is a need for the cement industry to implement necessary facilities for waste handling, storing, pre-processing and feeding in the kiln. There is also investment required for creating facilities for monitoring and control of emissions. Further, the legislative process needs to bring the material in the market. For example, although, large quantities of tyres are replaced every year in the country, the same is not visible in the waste market. This is because there is no defined regulatory system in place to collect and divert them in the waste market. Once they become visible in the waste market, they will be available to cement industry for disposal through co-processing.
He further points out, ´Similarly, about 60 million tonne of municipal solid waste is generated every year. About 30 per cent of this is non-compostable and non-recyclable combustible fraction which can be converted into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). If proper policy framework is put in place, about 10 million tonne of this combustible waste can be disposed as RDF in an environmentally friendly manner through co-processing in the cement kilns. It is also important that the ´polluter pays´ principle has to be embedded in the policy framework. This will facilitate generation of enough funds for the proper management of wastes´
Inter-state movement: According to KamalKumar the industry is comfortable in using agri waste but when it comes to industrial waste there are issues. When waste moves from one state to another state there are many issues involved. Transportation hurdles is the main bottleneck. Even moving from one district to another is a problem. He quips, ´Cement plants are the best and the most economic solution for waste management. There are challenges which collectively we have to overcome.´ Says Kapur ´In case of interstate movement of wastes, permission of both state pollution control board is required. This needs time and efforts. One policy related with movement can be made across the country to promote AFR use, and there is also a need to introduce GPS tracking system for controlling the end use.´ Says Jain, ´Permitting inter-state movement of waste will definitely help enhance the use of AFR. However, having clearly defined responsibility of each stakeholder in collection, packaging, transportation, handling and storage, etc will support the decision makers. Similarly, development of operational guidelines with built-in safety features for the earlier mentioned sub-activities will ensure safe and environmentally sound co-processing.´
Speaking about the on-ground reality Parlikar says, ´This is because of the NIMBY syndrome. The receiving state has the concern of owning the liability of the waste that is received for disposal in their incineration or landfill facility. Their additional concern is about quicker depletion of the available disposal capacity of the state through the disposal of waste from other states. Hence, the receiving state has a tendency to oppose the transfer.
However, if it is transferred for implementing co-processing, the waste conserves the natural resources used in that state and also reduces the GHG emissions. Further, being a zero-waste technology, co-processing does not leave any waste footprint in the state and also does not utilise the available capacity of the landfills. In fact, it enhances the available capacity of the existing landfills due to diversion of the landfill material for co-processing. Hence, transfer of wastes across the state is beneficial to the receiving state and should be encouraged.´
Pieters adds, ´This system is practised in different parts of the world successfully. In the entire Europe, waste moves from one country to another. There are well-defined processes in place in Basel Convention that are practiced successfully in these country to country transfers. These processes can be easily adapted for transfer of wastes across the states in India and the Basel convention is already signed by India years ago.´
Cost impact: According to Jain suitable technologies are available for converting MSW to cement grade RDF, which are financially viable also. He says, ´Use of alternate fuels for TSR is a financial viable intervention with very good IRR. It also depends on the type of waste proposed for usage and technical intervention. Many Indian cement plants have successfully implemented these options and substituted fossil fuel significantly. The payback period generally varies between 2-4 years.´
Consistent quality supply: Says Kapur, ´The consistent supply and uniform quality are main constraints in utilising AFRs - for example, tyre carbon black. The cost of the carbon black depends upon the cost of waste tyres in the market/import conditions. Due to high demand for waste tyre, the cost of carbon black is increasing and hence its adulteration too.´ He suggests, ´There should be long term agreement with the manufacturers directly with clear quality parameters, thereby the traders can be avoided and can sustain the supply as well as quality. However, the essence of the agreement shall be the price factor with regards to the coal price. Regulatory authorities need to standardise all waste for stream line the market operations.´ Speaking about the current emission norms Kapur had this to say. ´There is no existing standard for NOx from kiln. Only SPM standard is 50 mg/Nm3 for new plants and 100 mg/Nm3 for old plants. NO2 standard from 1-1-2016 and SPM standard from 1-6-2016 for cement kiln will be 800 mg/Nm3 and 30 mg/Nm3 respectively. Online monitoring system has been installed and commissioned in plants stacks for monitoring SPM, SO2 and NOx. The online monitoring system has already started. It will help us in controlling emissions while firing different type of AFRs.´
According to Rao the government is gearing up to release regulatory norms for these emissions. ACC has already installed the required measuring systems for these emissions. We are aware of the base line emissions which are very well below the expected norms in majority of their plants. In respect of a few exceptions, the required corrective actions are initiated to address these emissions.
Long way to go
Enhanced AFR usage in kilns will help even exceed energy consumption reduction targets under the Perform- Achieve- Trade (PAT) scheme. We still have a long way to go. There is huge potential for use of AFR.
Kapur sums it up. AFR mission has to be encouraged by government, society, business entities and individuals. Let us not forget cement plants are best disposal of hazardous wastes. It serves mother earth, humanity at large and therefore economical in long run and has to be achieved in collaboration of all stakeholders. Waste to wealth - and that is the way to go.
Agith G Antony
THRUST AREAS TO PROMOTE THE USE OF RDF
Reducing the CO2 Footprint - The Road Map
India is the world´s fastest growing cement market with increasing demands giving rise to fast pace infrastructure development. The Indian cement industry has made strong efforts to reduce its carbon footprint being the most efficient in the world. Yet, because the manufacturing process relies on the burning of limestone (calcium carbonate), it produced 137 mt of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2010 - approximately 7 per cent of India´s total man-made CO2 emissions.
To further reduce CO2 emissions and achieve sustainability, International Energy Agency (IEA) and Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB) have developed a low carbon technology roadmap specifically for the Indian cement industry as part of their global initiative.
Under this new roadmap, Indian cement industry has set a target of halving its carbon emissions to 0.35 tonnes (t) of CO2/t cement in 2050, about 45 per cent lower than current levels to support the global goal. The roadmap development was spear-headed by the three co-chair companies, ACC, Shree Cement and UltraTech, who committed extensive resources and expertise from across their companies to lead the project.
Courtesy: KN Rao, Director-Energy & Environment, ACC Ltd
INITIATIVES TAKEN BY ACC