To have the lowest cost of operation, it is ideal to run the plant between 90 and 105 per cent capacity; maintenance cost is the lowest when we run the plant under slightly stretched condition, say 105 per cent capacity, says Jagdish Chandra Toshniwal, Executive Director, Wonder Cement. Excerpts from the interview..
Brief us about your long term plans for improving energy efficiency in your plants.
At present, we are operating at 90 per cent of our capacity. On thermal energy, we are better off; we shall rate ourselves ´good´ as our thermal energy consumption is 690 kcal per kg of clinker. However, on electrical energy, we need to improve our performance. On clinkerisation, we are now running at 58-59 kWh/tonne and for cement grinding, we are at 35 kWh/tonne. Our short-term focus is to reach 55 kWh/tonne of clinkerisation in the next 2-3 months and in long term to 50 kWh/tonne. For cement grinding, presently we are operating at 35 kWh/tonne and want to achieve 30 kWh/tonne. Our immediate attention is optimisation of electrical energy.
What are the challenges you face in the use of AFR?
On the subject of AFR, we started taking steps only after I joined here. Till date, there is not much progress worth mentioning on AFR front. In fact, the time is ripe to start initiating action in that direction. The leading companies like ACC and Ambuja are the torch bearers. We shall follow them. On the role of regulators, it is changing very fast but there seems to be some confusion. For getting approval, we have to go through several layers. The agencies involved are CPCB and State Pollution Boards.
Sometimes, they are not clear as to who will approve what? The procedures have been simplified because even the state officials are realising that waste disposal is a big problem today. There is a positive side, as the mindset of government officials, pollution control board is changing.
What is the scope of using fly ash and other cementitious materials?
In the overall perspective of green awareness, we have to try different cementitious materials to conserve our limestone deposits. For us, we produce blended cement apart from Portland cement, both 43 and 53 grade. Fly ash is used as one of the ingredients. The level of fly ash absorption is 26 per cent at present.
Brief us on initiatives taken to harness IT to bring down energy consumption.
When I joined Wonder Cement, I was pleasantly surprised to see the status of IT initiative taken by the company. Today, I can proudly say that we are at par with any other large size cement manufacturer. We have an enterprise version which is similar to SAP in place for carrying out various business-related activities like purchase indents, purchase order, acceptance of goods, daily reports, etc. The performance management of staff is done online. On the sales front, the daily sales reports are generated online, dealer management is also through a system to have easy viewing and monitoring.
Please offer your comments on PAT initiatives.
As a concept, PAT is a welcome initiative and one should take full advantage of it. It will lead to increase the competitiveness among the cement plants.