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Energy and Environment Management in Iron & Steel sector

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT IN STEEL SECTOR

Environment Management in Iron & Steel sector

Iron & steel industry in India are covered under the Environment Protection Act (EPA) as well as Environment Protection Rules & Regulations enacted & published by Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF&CC). At the beginning, the entrepreneurs are required to obtain statutory clearances from the Union/State Governments required under the EPA for setting up of any new iron & steel plants or its substantial expansion. Further, the steel companies are required to install specified pollution control equipments/facilities and also operate well within the prescribed Standards/Norms in respect of air, water and noise pollutions as also solid waste generation & utilization. These are monitored by Central/State Pollution Control Boards. MOS helps & facilitates formulation/amendment of Norms and standards.

Energy Management:

Energy consumption in most of the integrated steel plants in India is generally high at 6-6.5 Giga Calorie per tonne of crude steel as compared to 4.5-5.0 in steel plants abroad. The higher rate of energy consumption is mainly due to obsolete technologies including problems in retrofitting modern technologies in old plants, old shop floor & operating practices, poor quality of raw material viz. high ash coal/coke, high alumina iron ore etc. The energy consumption in steel plants is however, gradually reducing because of technological upgradation, utilisation of waste heats, use of better quality inputs, etc.

The Government/ Ministry of Steel, through various schemes and regulations, is facilitating reduction in energy consumption and emission of environment pollution in steel plants. Some of the steps /initiatives being taken through various forums and mechanisms are:

Steps/ Initiatives taken by the Government/ industry:

Charter on Corporate Responsibility for Environment Protection (CREP)

This is an initiative of Ministry of Environment & Forests/ Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with Ministry of Steel and the main/ major steel plants to reduce environment pollution, water consumption, energy consumption, solid waste & hazardous waste management etc as per mutually agreed targets with the purpose to go beyond the compliance of regulatory norms for prevention & control of pollution through various measures including waste minimization, in-plant process control & adoption of clean technologies. A National Task Force (NTF) has been formed for implementation of CREP recommendations. Ministry of Steel facilitates compliance of CREP action points in association with the steel plants. National Task Force (NTF) has recently been reconstituted

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)

National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) has been launched in 2008 to address the Challenge at national level. NAPCC outlines 8 National Missions, one of them being the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE). Perform Achieve & Trade (PAT) is the flagship scheme under NMEEE. PAT is a market based mechanism through certifications of energy savings which could be traded. PAT has become effective from April 2012.

The PAT Scheme has so far covered 163 numbers of Iron & Steel Units in India (referred as Designated Consumers). The threshold limit of energy consumption of 20,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) per year has been marked as the cut-off limit criterion for any unit in the iron & steel sector to be identified as designated consumer. The methodology of setting targets for designated consumers is based on reduction of specific energy consumption (SEC) on a gate to-gate (GtG) basis. The Indian steel industry overall has achieved the targets for reduction in energy consumption in PAT Cycle 1&2.

Promotion of Energy Efficiency in SME Sector:

UNDP-GEF-MoS Project: “Energy Efficiency in Steel Re-rolling Mills” (2004-2013):

The project has been completed and implemented. It has facilitated low carbon technologies in 34 steel re-rolling mills (model units) to bring down energy consumption and reduce GHG emissions by 25-50%. This has helped in replication of the energy efficient technological interventions in many other steel re-rolling mills.

UNDP-MoS-AusAID Project: Up scaling Energy Efficient Production in Small Scale Steel Industry in India” (June 2013-June2016)

Further replicated energy efficiency in steel re-rolling mills and expanded the interventions to other SME Sector like induction furnaces. The project is completed covering 321 mini steel mills (inclusive of 5 Induction furnace units at an investment of 50 Crore from private sector against Rs. 20 crore of funding from Ministry of Steel, AusAid and UNDP. These units adopted Energy Efficiency Technologies and reduced specific energy consumption by 20% to 30%. The interventions reduced about 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Subsequently, the industry is self replicating these technologies with their own funding.

NEDO Model Projects for Energy Efficiency Improvement:

Government of Japan through Ministry of Economy Trade & Industry provides funds i.e as Overseas Development Aid (ODA) under its Green Aid Plan (GAP) through Department of Economic Affairs in GOI for setting up of energy efficient, environment friendly projects known as Model Projects in various sectors including steel. These projects are routed through and managed by NEDO (New Energy & industrial technology Development Organisation), Japan. Ministry of Steel is coordinating the projects undertaken in the iron & steel sector. So far the following three projects have been commissioned, two at Tata Steel and one project at RINL.

  • BF Stove Waste Heat Recovery: Completed at Tata Steel
  • Coke Dry Quenching: Completed at Tata Steel
  • Sinter Cooler Waste Heat Recovery: Completed at Rastriya Ispat Nigam Limited.

Further, one more Model Project viz. Energy Monitoring and Management System at ISP Burnpur, SAIL is under implementation.

Iron & Steel Slag Utilization:

The major wastes produced in integrated steel plants include BF Iron Slag Steel Melting Shop (SMS) Slag accounting for nearly more than half a ton for each ton of steel produced in ISPs. Most of the steel plants are utilising 100% of the iron slag produced (mostly in cement making and some portion as aggregate, both of which are permitted in BIS or IRC Standards Specifications) while others are closer to reach the 100% utilization.

The utilisation of SMS (particularly LD) slag is limited due to its

  • Phosphorous content
  • High Free lime content and
  • Higher specific weight.

The steel industry is finding ways and means to utilize the steel slag in other applications like construction & road making, soil conditioning, rail ballast. However there are problems and issues. The steel slag need to be properly aged and ground to very fine size before it can be explored to be utilised, which incur substantial cost. There are lack of guidelines for use of steel slag as replacement of natural aggregates in construction activities and road-making. Use of aggregates in Rail Ballast is governed by RDSO standards. However, the RDSO standards do not presently allow use of iron and steel slag. Steel industry is pursuing the matter with RDSO. 

Ministry of Steel is funding the following R&D projects for promoting utilisation of steel slag in various end uses:

  • Development of Design Guidelines and Specifications for utilization of steel slag in road construction by CSIR-CRRI
  • A Novel Approach of Making Green Belite Cement from Electric Arc Furnace Steel Making Slag by IIT Kharagpur
  • Development of newer Cementitious Materials using Chemically Activated LD Slag by CSIR-CBRI

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for Indian Steel Industry:

Government of India has submitted India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by the year 2030 from the level of the year 2005. Accordingly, Ministry of Steel has submitted NDCs for iron and steel in sector to MOEF&CC to reduce GHG emission by adopting clean and green technologies

Key highlights of the progress achieved by India in reducing GHG emissions as brought out in the Biennial Update Report (BUR-3) prepared by MoEF&CC are as under:

  • As per the provisions of the UNFCC Convention, in 2010 India took a voluntary pledge to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels (excluding emissions from agriculture). In 2015, India further enhanced ambition in its NDCs to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • Based on the National GHG Inventory, it is confirmed that India has successfully continued decoupling its economic growth from GHG emissions, resulting in reduction of the emission intensity of its GDP by 24 per cent between 2005 and 2016.
  • India is on track to meet its voluntary commitment to reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 20-25 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020.
  • India is implementing one of the largest renewable energy expansion programmes with a target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and later up to 450 GW.
  • Installed capacity of solar energy in India has increased by more than 13 times from 2.63 GW in March 2014 to 36.05 GW in September 2020. As on 30 September 2020, installed capacity of wind energy was 38.12 GW.
  • As on 30 October 2020, India’s total renewable energy installed capacity (excluding hydropower above 25 MW) had reached over 90 GW and constitutes over 24 per cent of the country’s installed power capacity. With inclusion of large hydro, the total installed capacity would be 136 GW and the share of renewable energy in electric installed capacity would be over 36 percent.
  • An increase of 1.3 million ha in Forest and Tree cover was achieved between 2015 and 2019 assessments. This is an increase of 1.65 per cent in the forest and tree cover area. Forest and tree cover sequestered 331 MtCO2 in 2016 which is around 15 per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions occurring in the country.
  • Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme for energy efficiency in industries and other energy-intensive sectors launched in 2012, covering 478 designated consumers (DCs), avoided emissions of 31 MtCO2 in cycle I (2012-13 to 2014-15). PAT Cycle II (2016-17 to 2018-19), resulting in total savings of approximately 13.28 Mtoe, translating into 61.34 MtCO2 avoided emissions. PAT Cycle III (2017-18 to 2019-20) has concluded on 31 March 2020.

Some of the highlights of the achievement of the steel industry are given below:

  • The steel industry is committed to minimise impact of its operations on global climate change and reduce carbon footprint.
  • As per the NDCs of the steel sector submitted to MoEF&CC, average CO2 emission intensity of the Indian steel industry was projected to reduce from 3.1 T/tcs in 2005 to 2.64 T/tcs by 2020 and 2.4 T/tcs by 2030 (i.e. approx. 1% per year).
  • The steel industry has taken initiatives like implementation of latest state-of-the-art clean technologies, raw material quality improvement, improving fuel efficiency, creation of carbon sink, among others.
  • Some of the Best Available Technologies (BAT) adopted by the Indian steel industry for improving energy efficiency & mitigation of GHG emission are given below:
    • Coke Dry Quenching (CDQ) - Power generation from the waste heat from CDQ
    • Sinter Plant Heat Recovery (Power generation from Sinter Cooler Waste Heat)
    • Bell Less Top Equipment (BLT) in Blast Furnace
    • Top Pressure Recovery Turbine (TRT) in Blast Furnace
    • Pulverized Coal Injection (PCI) system in Blast Furnace
    • Hot stove waste heat recovery in Blast Furnace
    • Dry type Gas Cleaning Plant (GCP) in Blast Furnace
    • Cast House/ Stock House Dedusting system
    • Converter Gas Recovery in BOF
    • Energy Monitoring & Management System
    • Secondary Fume Extraction System in Steel Melting Shop
    • Regenerative Burners in Re-heating Furnaces of Rolling Mills
    • Hot charging process of continuously cast products at higher temperature directly to Rolling Mills
    • Direct Rolling Process eliminating the need for Re-heating furnaces
    • Energy efficient technology for Hot Strip Mill: Flexible Thin Slab casting & Rolling
    • Near Net Shape casting: Bloom cum Beam Blank caster, Bloom cum Round caster etc.
    • Adoption of Variable Voltage Variable Frequency (VVVF) Drives for high capacity electric motors
  • This has resulted in considerable reduction in the Specific CO2 Emission (in terms of tonnes per tonne of crude steel). Specific CO2 emission has reduced from around 3.1 T/tcs in 2005 to around 2.5 T/tcs in 2020. (reduction from 2.65 T/tcs in 2015 to 2.5 T/tcs in 2020).
  • With the adoption of the aforementioned initiatives the steel industry has already achieved the 2020 target and well placed for achieving the 2030 targets.