What is the general break-up of composition of fuel use in the Indian cement manufacturing process - particularly of coal, pet-coke and AFR?
Taking average of most of the cement players (70 per cent of the capacity) fuel mix, we found that 56 per cent is contributed by coal followed by 39 per cent of pet coke and mere 5 per cent in alternative fuels.
What are the specific used of different fuels in your cement manufacturing process? Which is the best source of energy considering the economics and cost of electricity?
Majorly the fuels are used in kilns for manufacturing clinker as well as used in captive power plants. Some of the other nominal uses of fuels are drying up fly ash and slag in order to reduce the moisture content.
Considering the coal and pet coke price inflation, renewable and waste heat energy is preferred over traditional thermal captive power plant or grid purchase. Amongst renewable and waste heat, it depends on the waste heat generated by the cement plant if waste heat generation is higher, then waste heat recovery system is preferred else renewable.
What are the precautions cement manufacturers have to take while adopting a particular fuel and what are the constraints (including cost fluctuations) you have faced while using them?
The fuel mix depends on the kilns technological acceptability towards a particular fuel source, i.e., either a coal based kiln or a multi fuel kiln. Nowadays most of the cement manufacturers have a multi fuel facility, cement manufacturers benefit from having a multi fuel kiln for the simple reason they have a flexibility to switch between different fuel sources depending on the cost (INR/Kcal) dynamics. For example from 1HFY17 to 1HFY18, the delta between pet coke prices and coal prices were as high as 30-40 paise, thus it made sense to use pet coke however this narrowed out from 1HFY18 to 5-10 paise, and in some cases coal were cheaper source thus making coal more lucrative.
Are there any supply constraints witnessed in any of these fuels? What are the supply-chain constraints of these fuels?
There were short-term supply constraints of coal or pet coke due to environmental issues domestically (allocation of coal blocks, mining issues related to lignite or ban of usage of pet coke, which forces the companies to use costlier fuel mix) or in the export country (coal mining issues in Australia, Indonesia, etc). However, the cement manufacturers managed this by switching their fuel mix to slightly a costlier substitute, thus resulting in erosion of its EBITDA/tonne.
What are the environmental concerns these fuels pose and what are the technologies that could help reduce their environmental impact?... What are the alternative fuels that are available to these manufacturers?
The major environmental concern of the traditional fuels like coal and pet coke is the high carbon emission during the manufacturing process. Major companies are migrating from traditional OPC (approximately 95 per cent clinker) towards alternative types of cements such as fly ash based (approximately 75 per cent clinker) or recently growing composite cement which is a mixture of slag as well as fly ash (approximately 65 to 70 per cent clinker) thus not only reducing the carbon emission due to manufacturing process of clinker but also using materials, which were earlier disposed from carbon intensive sectors like power and steel.
'The'larger players are proactively migrating towards the use of alternative fuel sources which use various products like torn cement bags, rubber, husks of various grains, biomass, etc., one of the manufacturing facility even used barred lead-based Maggie noodles as a fuel to generate energy.
What is the kind of fuel mix do you see for the industry, say by 2025?
With the growing awareness towards environ-mental issues and the internal target of large cement manufacturers to increase the share of alternative fuels, the agency expects the share of alternative fuels to increase to around 10 per cent and contribution from traditional fuels going down.