With WHRS, power requirement can be reduced by about 20-25per cent
UltraTech a leader in cement industry has made considerable investments in captive power generation. Apart from generating power from coal fired captive plants, the company satiates a large portion of its power demand through renewable sources. O P Puranmalka elaborates on some of the initiatives in an interaction with ICR. Excerpts from the interview.
What is your current requirement of power and how much of it is met through captive power production?
Our pan-India presence with 12 integrated plants, 12 grinding units and five bulk terminals demands a focused approach towards captive power production to meet our requirements. Our captive power plants with a combined capacity of 707 MW and Waste Heat Recovery System (WHRS) based power plants with a capacity of 55 MW ensure smooth and efficient operations at our units.
We have further extended the wheeling of power to some of our cement grinding units. These measures have resulted in UltraTech being able to meet over 80 per cent of its power consumption through captive sources.
Are you using renewable resources for power generation?
In our quest to explore more options for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, our unit at Awarpur Cement Works has installed 6 solar arrays in a parallel combination through channel partner Tata BP Solar. The Awarpur unit constitutes an ideal location for a solar power plant installation because it has sufficient shadow-free land area. In addition, the intensity and clarity of light rays in the area are optimal to generate maximum power through the installation of solar arrays. Since 2009, a wind farm has been installed at our Reddipalayam unit. In 2013-14, we generated 2.9 million units from solar power panels and 2.05 million units from wind power.
Brief us about the latest investments made in the captive power generation at your plant.
UltraTech recently invested in brownfield capacity expansion projects in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. These projects include commissioning a clinkerisation plant of 3.3 MT capacity at Rawan Cement Works, Chhattisgarh; a clinkerisation plant of 3.3 MT capacity at Rajashree Cement Works, Karnataka; grinding unit of 1.6 MT capacity at Hotgi, Maharashtra; grinding unit of 1.6 MT capacity at Jharsuguda, Orissa, and grinding unit of 1.5 MT capacity at Rajashree Cement Works, Karnataka.
Further, UltraTech acquired an integrated unit and a grinding unit from Jaypee Cement in Gujarat in June 2014. The integrated plant at Sewagram and grinding unit at Wanakbori in Gujarat together have added 4.8 million tonnes to our capacity, taking our installed capacity to 62 million tonnes.
Recently, UltraTech commissioned captive power plants incorporating latest technologies at three location; Rawan Cement Works in Chhattisgarh 1 x 30 MW, Rajashree Cement Works at Karnataka 2 x 25 MW, and Andhra Pradesh Cement Works 1 x 25 MW (commissioned) + 1 x 25 MW (commissioned).
The two captive power plants at our Sewagram Cement Works plant include a total capacity of 57.5 MW (CPP-I: 35 MW and CPP-II: 22.5 MW). The power requirement of the plant is around 57 MW. The plant also has a standby source of power of around 35 MW.
As part of its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, UltraTech Cement commissioned a Waste Heat Recovery System (WHRS) producing 13.2 MW of electricity at Awarpur Cement Works in Maharashtra. UltraTech also has a 3.5 MW waste heat recovery plant operational at Andhra Pradesh Cement Works, Tadipatri. We are in the process of installing a WHRS at Rawan Cement Works in Chhattisgarh, Aditya Cement Works in Rajasthan, and Rajashree Cement Works in Karnataka. Post the commissioning of these three plants, UltraTech Cement will be the leader in WHRS in India with a combined capacity of 55 MW. With WHRS, power requirement can be reduced by about 20-25 per cent of total requirement for cement manufacturing. The cost of electrical power for the cement plant gets reduced to a considerable extent.
Are you facing any issues in availability of the raw materials of appropriate quality/price or any kind of logistical challenges?
Majority of our products originate from minerals extracted from quarries, such as limestone, gypsum rock and clay. We have made the use of alternative materials a strategic priority in order to reduce the consumption of natural resources and to extend the life of the quarries.
One of the raw materials used in the manufacture of cement is gypsum. Gypsum can be sourced naturally from quarries or from chemical gypsum, which is a by-product of the process used to treat flue gas from fuel or coal-fired power plants. Chemical gypsum generated during this process is an industrial waste, and depositing it in landfills could be toxic to the environment.
This chemical gypsum is now being used as a part replacement of natural gypsum in cement manufacturing at UltraTech, resulting in effective use of industrial waste as an alternative to a natural raw material, a step ahead in our sustainability journey.
India has huge potential to tap solar and wind energy. What can be done to ensure that these resources are utilised effectively?
After the two oil shocks that our country suffered in the 1970s, a lot of interest has been evinced in new and renewable forms of energy. Solar and wind energy with their "clean energy" tag have received their fair share of research and investment. At the end of last calendar year, it is estimated that India had 20,140 MW of wind power and 2,200 MW of solar power. These numbers are low considering that India generates over 967 TWh (Terra Watt-hour) of energy from non-renewable sources. To give a push to renewable energy sector in the country, we need friendly policies that will incentivise businesses to invest in such forms of thinking. We also need innovative ideas, plans and the will to implement them, even on a pilot basis. For example, the offshore wind farm is one such idea. Our country is blessed with a lot of sunshine and geographical areas like the Thar desert that lend itself to solar power generation.
With governmental will, access to suitable capital and cost effective distribution policies, there is good opportunity to become a world leader in this space, especially as there are still about 300 million people in India who have no access to electricity.