Renewable energy initiatives
Cement has been long considered to be an energy- intensive sector, with energy costs making up a significant proportion of total cement production costs. Ambuja Cements well realises that climate change and energy security are global challenges and we need to adopt sustainable technologies, innovations and processes for techno-socio-economic development, says Sandeep Sh¡rivastava, Vice- President, Corporate Environment, Ambuja Cements. According to him, renewable energy, planning for climate change mitigation as well as energy security, all of it is part of the company's long-term strategy. In order to develop the company's roadmap, three major options have been included: wind, solar and biomass.
ACL renewable energy
Commissioning of 15MW biomass power plant at the Ropar unit in Punjab. (CDM accreditation acquired in 2005).
- 7.5 MW captive wind farm in Gujarat.
- 3x100KW solar-power farm at the Bhatapara plant in Chatthisgarh.
Biomass-based renewable energy
Punjab has long been known as the food bowl of India and generates agro residue in abundance. In an innovative way of utilising the excrement as fuel for power generation, ACL has installed a multi-fuel- fired captive power plant at their Ropar unit, with good accessibility, and road connectivity with other districts in Punjab as well as adjoining states. The boilers and feeding systems are capable of burning almost all kinds of agro residue. Currently, the company has 27 types of biomass fuels being used successfully and has indeed, become the torch- bearer in the country for the usage of biomass.
The meaningful use of agro residue, which were otherwise burnt in the fields leading to air pollution and serious health complications, has contributed significantly to minimising air pollution; simultaneously, it has given a new lease of life to numerous landless families as they are engaged in the collection of biomass from the fields, thus and earning respectably.
Pine needle collection in Himachal Pradesh
The company has taken the lead in the collection and burning of pine needles as biomass at its captive power plant at Ropar. Himachal Pradesh is blessed with an abundance of pine needles, given that 66 per cent of its area is forest. These dry pine needles are susceptible to fire and pose a fire hazard. The company, in collaboration with the Department of Forests, Hamirpur, has taken steps to collect this forest waste and its painstaking efforts have led to the utilisation of hundreds of tonnes of pine needles at Ropar.
The successful use of a variety of biomass fuels was widely appreciated by MNRE, PEDA, PSERC as well as the Press and electronic media, too.
Sugarcane trash as biomass fuel
Sugarcane trash is another agricultural waste which used to be burnt in fields, thus polluting the environment. It has never been used as a power fueluntil motivated by the successful pine needle collection project at Himachal Pradesh, last year the CPP Ropar team, along with the local Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) team, took the initiative.
While stepping up efforts in the area of renewable energy, ACL has installed its first windmill at Kutch (Gujarat). This windmill of 7.5 MW capacity, caters to the power requirements of the company's Surat plant. The project was commissioned in 2011.
300 KVA solar power farm at the Chattisgarh plant
ACL's Bhatapara unit installed a of 300 KW capacity solar power plant in 2012. The plant encompasses an area of 5,000 sq m and is on the premises of the captive power plant.