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ACC plans waste-heat recovery system at four plants

According to reports, after commissioning its first waste-heat recovery plant at Gagal in Himachal Pradesh, ACC plans to replicate the success at its cement plants in Wadi (Karnataka), Jamul (Chhattisgarh), Kymore (Madhya Pradesh) and Chanda (Maharashtra) with an investment of about ₹360 crore.

The Gagal heat recovery plant, which produces 7.5 MW, achieved stabilisation last week. It is expected to reduce over 44,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emission a year. Gagal, faces shortage of power during winter, as hydro-power plants taper off generation due to snowing.

ACC invested ₹100 crore to set up the plant which is fitted with a turbine that can enhance power production to 9 MW as and when steam availability in the cement plant improves. ACC expects to recover the investment made in Gagal in four-and-a-half years with an annual saving of ₹22 crore.

KN Rao, Director (Energy and Environment), told Business Line the four cement plants where the heat recovery system would be installed over 3-4 years are capable of producing 30-32 MW in all, resulting in a savings of `90-100 crore a year.

“The Wadi cement plant has the world’s largest kiln and is capable of producing up to 9 MW. We are exploring various options of funding the projects,” he said.

The cement industry has urged the Government to give renewable energy status to waste-heat recovery plants. Most of the cement companies are power surplus as they have captive power plants. The surplus power produced through waste heat is sold at ₹2.30 a unit due to lack of renewable energy status.

A few cement plants buy grid power at ₹6.20 a unit, while the production cost of thermal power works out to ₹4.50-5 a unit. The industry with a cement production capacity of 350 million tonnes is capable of producing about 1,000 MW through waste heat recovery, said Rao. “The industry has to invest ₹12,000 crore to set up 1000 MW heat recovery plants. It would be viable only if the Government fixes a competitive price for the surplus power,” he said.

Apart for heat recovery plant, ACC has drawn an elaborate plan to bring down energy consumption by 5 per cent at its 10 plants by improving efficiency.

The company targets to take up energy saving measures, which call for low investment and early payback. For instance, Rao said installation of variable speed drive to control the speed of large motors used in the cement plant does not call for huge investment and the project can be completed in sa hort span, besides payback is less than a year.

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