Ambuja employs new tech at Ropar plant

Written by State Bureau | Ropar, Sep 30 | Updated: Oct 2 2008, 04:06am hrs
Leading cement producer Ambuja Cements Limited has developed a technology to operate on coal and a wide variety of biomass which reduces carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) significantly at its multi biomass co-fired captive power plant at Ropar and intends to extend this technology in its other plants spread across the country.

The 30 mw captive power plant at Ropar which was commissioned in 2004 uses agricultural waste for power generation. The plant is presently using 24 types of biomass at the plant. This biomass is collected from villages of Ropar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala and other districts. It includes biomass, rice husk, cow dung cakes, sunflower stems, maize cobs, sugar mills waste and villagers gets paid for providing the agro-waste to the company.

Talking to FE, Balbir Singh Rana, deputy general manager, captive power plant, Ambuja Cement said, The plant is producing 22 mw for Ropar plant and 4 mw for the Bathinda-based Ambuja plant. The biomass is procured through seven agents who earn around 7% commission out of each transaction.

Senior vice-president and unit head Rajesh C Kothari said the energy generated from agricultural waste proves to be a great source of renewable energy, particularly in agrarian economy like in India. He added the design of a boiler co-fired to accept a wide variety of biomass is the most suitable source of sustained generation of industrial power.

The captive power plant meets the need of the adjoining cement-grinding plant. The plant officials claimed that this was the only kind of power plant in the country that utilises agricultural waste for power generation. The company aims at replicating this model at its other plants in the country as well. Ambuja Cements has 11 cement plants, out of which four units have captive power plants (CCPs) attached to them, including the one at Ropar in Punjab.

Ambuja Cements is also plans to invest nearly Rs 1,600 crore in the captive power generation, which would have a capacity of 200 mw by 2010. We are planning 200 mw electricity generation capacity from our captive power plants in three years time, a company official told reporters here on a site visit. We hope to have captive power plants attached to all our manufacturing units across the country, he added.