Cement firms turn to waste heat recovery systems as rising coal prices starts to pinch

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Cement companies have increasingly turned toward waste heat recovery system (WHRS) to lower their operating cost after the 30 percent increase in petroleum coke (petcoke) and coal prices over the year squeezed their profit margins,

Power and fuel costs account for 25-30 percent of the total operating cost for the power guzzling industry.

The decision to look for alternative sources of energy was also triggered by the fact that the Supreme Court in November banned the use of petcoke in northern states to curb air pollution that was later relaxed and the increase in import duty for petcoke to 10 percent from 2.5 percent.

Waste heat recovery system is an energy recovery heat exchanger that recovers thermal energy from the exhaust gas and convert it into electrical energy.

Some of the big cement manufacturers have already been using WHRS as it is the cheapest source of power generation that helps in reducing the carbon footprint.

Binod Modi, analyst at Reliance Securities Ltd told the newspaper that the cost of power from WHRS comes at Rs 0.5-0.7/unit as compared to Rs 6-8/unit for grid power and Rs 3-4/unit for thermal power.

HeidelbergCement Ltd generates 20 percent of its total power requirement from WHRS helping it to significantly reduce its fuel cost per tonne in the third quarter.

The other companies that have installed WHRS plant at their cement unit include JK Lakshmi Cement Ltd, UltraTech Cement Ltd, Shree Cement, JKCement Ltd and Dalmia Bharat.moneycontrol