There is huge scope for utilising alternative fuels
There is huge scope for utilising alternative fuels

There is huge scope for utilising alternative fuels

Madhavkrishna Singhania, Special Executive, JK Cement
The Indian Cement Industry has witnessed a sea change in its outlook towards environmental consciousness over the last three decades. The industry has taken significant strides towards transforming itself from one of the most polluted industries to a ´Green´ one. Madhavkrishna Singhania outlines the initiatives taken by the industry and the challenges on the way towards a sustainable manufacture.

What is the overall impact of the various environmental acts that are binding on the cement industry in India? Are these observed both in letter and spirit?
The various environmental acts are derived, based on international practices and in consultation with the cement industry representatives. These are followed in both letter and spirit.

What operational measures have you taken to improve sustainability of your plant?
We have a mix of old as well as new units. Some were installed 3 decades ago while some have been installed in the last 5 years. Our new plants installed in 2008 and 2013 are equipped with the latest technology. We have installed vertical roller mills and roller presses for raw mills and cement grinding and have very efficient pre-heater kilns with fuel consumption between 700-710 kcal/kg clinker. There has been constant upgradation at our old plants. We have undertaken many projects to increase the capacity of the older kilns, installed high efficiency motors and fans and reduced fuel and power consumption, which has led to improved efficiency. We have installed waste heat recovery power plants (WHRP) at our Nimbahera and Mangrol units. While WHRPs are a must even for new plants, they have made our old units more efficient. WHRP installation addresses the inefficiency in the old plant in terms of fuel consumption owing to old pre-heaters.

Have you done any modifications in the plant lately to reduce emissions?
We have installed bag houses for the kiln and raw mill circuit at our new unit at Mudhol, Karnataka and Mangrol, Rajasthan. The emission levels meet international standards. The flagship plant at Nimbahera has ESP and the controller of ESP has been upgraded to maintain high efficiency. We are continuously working towards reducing the emissions in our old plants.

What are your views on upgrading old cement plants?
In India, all cement plants using the wet process of manufacturing have shut down as these have become uneconomical to operate. The old dry process plants can be upgraded to modern technology of raw material grinding, pyro-process/calcination, keeping the same kiln if the layout and space permits and depending upon the condition of the existing infrastructure. The current trend of setting up a new facility is to build a plant of capacity not less than 1.5 million TPA with a waste heat recovery power plant of the latest technology to ensure power consumption of not more than 75 kwh/tonne of cement and fuel consumption under 700 kcal/kg clinker.

How much is the scope for using fly-ash in the cement manufactured at your plant?
At all our units, we are producing PPC (Portland Pozzolana Cement) with fly ash usage in the range of 26-27 per cent. At JK Cement we educate the consumer on the benefits of blended cement and encourage its consumption through consumer awareness programmes.

What is your view about the emerging technologies in raw material substitution?
Today, the cement industry uses wastes generated by power plants and steel plants as alternative raw materials. Fly ash generated by power plants and slag generated by steel plants is used to produce Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) and Portland Slag Cement (PSC) respectively, which are more durable and application friendly. As per CII´s Cement Vision 2025, the Indian cement industry will have a capacity of 600 MTPA of cement and has the potential to consume almost 200 million tonnes of fly ash and 10 million tonnes of slag generated annually by 2025. However, the government needs to put in place, a structured policy on the principles of ´polluter pays.´ Cement plants have also undertaken initiatives to use various types of wastes as alternative fuels. Pet coke, which is a by-product of the petroleum industry, is already being used by the cement industry as a fuel to the extent of 70 per cent to 80 per cent. Further, use of pet coke in white cement production has helped in saving huge quantities of fuel oil.

Substantial volumes of fossil fuels can be saved and associated CO2 emissions mitigated, by co-processing several wastes as Alternative Fuel Resources (AFRs). Based on the generation/availability of these wastes as per the table given below, the cement industry consumes a significant quantum, hence solving the problem of disposal and making the environment safer.

Several cement plants in India are using alternative fuels. In India, Thermal Substitution Rate (TSR) is within 2 per cent on an average whereas in countries like The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, etc., the TSR is above 30 per cent. Thus, there is huge scope for utilising alternative fuels and the same may be achieved if the availability is ensured through a more sincere collective effort. Industry for Industrial Productivity (IIP) has initiated a project aimed at developing an action plan to mainstream AFRs and facilitate its implementation, thereby helping the industry realise higher TSR levels with accompanying societal benefits.

How can IT be harnessed to reduce emissions and or improve sustainability?
Better control and instrumentation systems over the years have ensured improved productivity of equipments resulting in optimised power and fuel consumption. Stack emissions are monitored in the central control room to ensure adherence to standards and corrective action. IT has become a lifeline in the modern age, without which information sharing and communication is difficult. It has helped improve inventory management reducing inventory levels. We are also working on vehicle management within the plant, which should optimise vehicle movement and waiting time. Sharing of ideas and information is key and IT makes this possible.

What is the ratio of alternative fuel to conventional fuel used at your plant?
At present we are using 70-80 per cent pet coke and 1-2 per cent alternative fuels.

What are the challenges in switching to alternative fuels?
The basic challenge in switching over to alternative fuel is lack of continuous availability. Depending on homogeneity, it may pose problems in smooth running of the plant and hence there must be some cost advantage in using alternative fuels over the use of coal/pet coke.

WHRP installation addresses the inefficiency in the old plant in terms of fuel consumption owing to old pre-heaters.

At JK Cement we educate the consumer on the benefits of blended cement and encourage its consumption.

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