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Wartsila eyes cement units for combined heat and power plants

According to reports, Wartsila India is eyeing the cement industry for the combined heat and power business opportunities it offers.

The company says that setting up power plants using waste heat will help cement plants bring down their cost of electricity and reduce emissions.

Wartsila India believes its long relationship with the cement industry, to which it has supplied captive diesel power generating plants, will help it in tapping this opportunity.

“We have a good relationship with the cement industry. Their needs and our expectations can be a good meeting point,” said Rakesh Sarin, Managing Director, Wartsila India. “We are going from base zero.” A few cement plants in India have installed waste heat recovery systems to generate additional electricity and reduce their dependence on the grid.

According to James Rajan, Director-Service Unit (South Asia), Wartsila, there are more than 100 cement plants in the country where such waste heat recovery systems can be installed.

Also, new cement plants will have to go in for these systems if they are to substantially reduce their emission levels.

A cement plant of 6,000-7,000 tonnes a day capacity can have a 7 MW power plant using waste heat and gas, according to Rajan.

Wartsila India, a subsidiary of Wartsila of Finland, is present in three segments – power plants, ship power (where it supplies engines) and services, where it operates and maintains power plants. It employs 1,150 people and has a plant in Maharashtra, from where it makes balance of plant equipment for power plants. It exports to Africa and West Asia from this unit.

The Indian subsidiary had a strong presence in the DG sets market. But with diesel prices increasing and coal-fired power plants of small capacity (around 20-50 MW) becoming available, this business took a hit.

Wartsila India now sells power plants that can be operated on either gas or heavy fuel oil. Sarin reckons that these can be used as peaking power plants (for a few hours in the morning and evening when power demand peaks), with utilities using coal-based plants as base load stations, especially if the new government at the Centre is keen on pushing through 24×7 power availability.

Wartsila can supply power plants from 10 MW going up to 500 MW capacity.

Meeting the peak demand with flexible capacity is the way forward, according to Sarin, and Wartsila will shortly come out with a detailed proposal on this. These are quick start, quick stop plants that can operate at high efficiencies.

On the services business, Sarin said Wartsila does operation and maintenance of even coal-based power plants.

Over the last few years, this business had grown to cover about 1,000 MW of coal-fired plants and 600 MW of gas/HFO units.

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