Arun Mote, Triveni Turbines, reviews the role of turbine design in waste heat recovery (WHR) systems and looks at the future of the technology in the Indian cement sector.
Cement production growth reached a high of 4200 million t (MT) in 2014 and has hovered between 4000 MT and 4200 MT ever since. China accounted for approximately 55% of global production and stood as the largest cement producer, followed by India at 8%. The demand for cement is mainly from the construction industry which is driving production and is also the key determinant for higher energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Some of the key trends observed globally include the continued decline of thermal and electric energy intensity, as dry-process kilns, including staged pre-heaters and pre-calciners, replace wet-process kilns, and more efficient grinding systems are deployed.
Similarly, in order to reduce carbon emissions caused by cement production, post 2030 many developments are being undertaken by the industry. Some of them include:
- The usage of blast furnace slag generated by steel plants (a by-product of blast furnaces).
- The usage of waste from other industries as alternate fuels (AFs).
- The usage of alternative binding materials.
- Electrification of cement production.
- Deployment of innovative low-carbon technologies particularly carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
Energy efficiency and the role played by WHR in the Indian cement industry
According to India’s Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA), energy efficiency and environmental concerns are considered top priorities in the Indian cement industry. Almost 99% of the large cement plants in India use the dry process. Additionally, the industry has improved its use of AFs and alternative raw materials (ARMs) as well as enhanced the use of power generation based on waste heat recovery (WHR).
That being said, the adoption of WHR systems in cement facilities in India has a long way to go. As per recent industry estimates, there are over 250 large cement plants in the country; only 70% of the cement kilns have adopted WHR systems, whilst the remainder are setting up the plants over the next 3 – 4 years. In contrast, the installation rate of WHR in China is over 80%, much ahead of India.
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