Displaying items by tag: Emissions
India: According to the Times of India, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has served closure notices on the three cement plants in Malwani, Maharashtra. The plants have 48 hours to close.
Nearby residents had protested against the air pollution caused by the plants. An investigation by the MPCB showed that particulate matter (PM) emissions exceeded the allowed standards in February and March 2015. "This is among the swiftest action taken by the MPCB and we are very grateful to the board for taking up the matter so fast," said Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that had taken up the matter on behalf of the residents.
US: CTP Sinto America, the North American business unit of Chemisch Thermische Prozesstechnik GmbH (CTP), has entered into a contract with Holcim (US) to supply emissions reductions equipment for one of the cement kilns at Holcim's Midlothian plant in Texas. In the project, exhaust gases from the main baghouse and coal mill baghouse are combined and sent to the new system and then directed to the existing wet scrubber.
The project scope includes supply and installation of a CTP Model AutoTherm6-4200 designed to handle 420,000 Nm3/hr of gas and duct modifications required to route the gas to the regenerative thermal oxidiser (RTO) and return it to the exhaust. CTP Sinto America will provide engineering, manufacturing, project management, field operations, installation and commissioning. Controls will be integrated into Holcim's existing plant-wide DCS. The system will be ready for operation in 2016. The RTO will be manufactured at subsidiary SandMold Systems in Newaygo, Michigan with some specialty parts manufactured at CTP facilities in Austria.
Egypt: According to Reuters, Arabian Cement Company has commissioned new alternative fuel processing machinery at its plant in Suez.
The state-of-the-art FLSmidth HOTDISCTM allows Arabian Cement's plant to rely completely on coal and alternative fuels to run its operations. Moreover, it enables the plant to operate its kilns using alternative fuel materials directly, without the need to pre-treat them. Arabian Cement now has a designed fuel mix of 70% coal and 30% alternative fuels. The alternative fuel that will be used will be a mixture of agricultural wastes, municipal sludge and refuse-derived fuels (RDF). Alternative fuel use is expected to result in around 60,000t/yr of reduced CO2 emissions.
India: According to Live Mint, the majority of 3261 highly-polluting industries in India, including the cement and steel sectors, are set to miss the June 2015 deadline set by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) to install online effluent and emission monitoring systems.
Most industries have recently sought an extension to September 2015, although some from sectors like petrochemicals and refinery asked the deadline to be extended to June 2016. The environment ministry is considering the former plea. "The ministry is favourably considering extending the deadline until September 2015 for the majority of industries. But we are not sure about extending it to June 2016 for certain industries. A final call will be taken soon in this regard," said a senior environment ministry official.
On 16 - 17 June 2015, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) held a meeting of industrial associations and common waste management facilities to review the status of compliance of their directions regarding the installation of online effluent and emission monitoring devices. According to the minutes of the meeting, 'By-and-large, associations have agreed to meet the deadlines by September 2015, except in the case of mini cement plants, refinery, petrochemicals and common bio-medical facilities.'
In December 2014 the CPCB identified 3261 industries in 17 categories of highly-polluting industries, including the cement, iron and steel, thermal power plants, sugar, tannery, distillery, fertilisers and pesticide sectors. The CPCB had asked the industries to install online effluent and emission monitoring systems by June 2015, failing which bank guarantees of 100% of the cost of online systems (emission or effluent) would be forfeited. The CPCB had also said that its 'consent to operate' would be withdrawn from non-complaint industries.
Ireland: Quinn Cement Limited has been fined Euro2000 plus costs after the company pleaded guilty to failing to control dust emissions from its plant in Ballyconnell, County Cavan.
Reports of at least three houses and cars in the nearby area being coated in a film of cement dust were made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after a filter bag failed at the plant on 5 – 8 September 2014. An inspector from the EPA subsequently visited the area and took statements from complainants, including an asthmatic who had raised fears in relation to the health impact the dust might have.
At Cavan District Court on 21 May 2015, the court heard how the plant was shut down while the fault was found and rectified. A number of fail-safes have since been employed at the Ballyconnell plant safeguarding against such an occurrence arising again. Judge McLoughlin convicted and fined Quinn Cement Euro2000 on one count of failure to control dust associated with activity, which resulted in an impairment of or an interference to amenities or the environment beyond the installation boundary, subject to licence. A second count was struck out on the agreement that the company also pay costs incurred by the EPA in carrying out its investigation of Euro5570.
Chile: The Superintendency of the Environment (SMA) has filed charges against the Cemento Polpaico cement company regarding environmental irregularities at the Cerro Blanco plant in Til Til, near Santiago. SMA discovered that the plant failed to comply with carbon emission directives and did not have an adequate contingency plan for the preservation of underground water sources. The company now has ten days to adjust procedures or reply to the charges laid by the entity within 15 days before SMA issues penalties.
China: Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China's national standard in 2014, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants, China Huaneng Group Corp's 845MW plant, in 2016.
Plants owned by Guohua Electric Power Corp and Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co were closed in March 2015. A fourth major power plant, owned by China Datang Corp, was shut in 2014. The plants will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with the capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants.
The closures are part of a broader trend in China, which is the world's largest CO2 emitter. Beijing plans to cut its coal consumption by 13Mt/yr by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash pollutants. Shutting all the major coal power plants in the city, reducing coal use by 9.2Mt/yr, is estimated to cut CO2 emissions by 30Mt/yr according to analysts.
China planned to close more than 2000 smaller coal mines in 2013 - 2015, according to Song Yuanming, vice chief of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety. Closing coal-fired power plants is seen as a critical step in addressing pollution in China, which gets about 64% of its primary energy from coal.
Coal use is declining in China as policy makers encourage broader use of hydroelectric power, solar and wind. It is also pushing to restart its nuclear power programme in a bid to clear the skies. China's electricity consumption in 2014 grew at its slowest pace in 16 years, according to data from the China Electricity Council. Its CO2 emissions fell by 2% in 2014, the first decline since 2001, signalling that efforts to control pollution are gaining traction.
India: Most cement plants in India consume less energy and emit less CO2 than their European and American counterparts as they use the latest technology, according to the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI).
An initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), CSI is a 23-member organisation including nine Indian cement companies. CSI members produce 66% of the world's cement and 60% in India. "The member companies from India are more efficient. They emit less CO2 than the companies in Europe and the US. Their energy consumption is also less," said CSI's managing director Philippe Fonta.
The distinction between Indian firms from those in the US and Europe is technology. Indian companies use the latest technology since many of the cement plants are relatively new. Besides India's UltraTech Cement and Dalmia Bharat, seven global companies with operations in India like Holcim's ACC and Ambuja Cement, Lafarge, HeidelbergCement, Zuari Cement are among members of CSI. Fonta said that Indian companies could improve if they lay more emphasis on alternative fuels and energy and make use of municipal waste. The 360Mt/yr Indian cement industry meets just 0.6% of its energy needs with alternative fuels, but this is expected to go up to 5% cent by 2020.
Tanzania: The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) has indefinitely closed down Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC, Twiga) over environmental pollution.
NEMC senior legal officer Heche Suguta said that the plant was also required to pay US$26,944 in penalties. He said that the NEMC had established that the plant was discharging a huge amount of dust, which was bad for the environment and the people surrounding the plant. "We have several times asked the plant management to work out this shortcoming, but they have not taken any steps to mitigate the problem," said Suguta.
Twiga manufactures almost half of the cement produced by the three major plants in the county and its closure is likely to spark the fear of a sharp rise in cement prices. According to 2013 statistics, Twiga produces 1.4Mt/yr of cement out of the 3Mt/yr the country can produce. The remaining 1.6Mt/yr is shared among Mbeya Cement Company and Tanga Cement Company.
Suguta said that, previously, Twiga had four chimneys to emit pollutants, but three broke down and the plant was using only one out-dated chimney, which was overwhelmed. "The plant will be allowed to resume operations only after sorting out the problem by controlling dust," said Suguta. He said that the NEMC had been receiving complaints from residents surrounding the area that the dust from the plant was causing headaches and respiratory problems. "If they disobey this order, we will arrest their managing director and other stern legal action would follow."
Twiga's managing director and area manager for East Africa, Alfonso Rodriguez, said that the dust was coming from an old plant after the filter of the new plant got a technical fault. He said that they had ordered a new filter, which might take a month to arrive in the country.
One highlight from the cement industry news over the last month was Skyonic's announcement that it has opened a commercial-scale carbon capture unit at the Capitol Aggregates cement plant in Texas, US. Details were light, but the press release promised that the unit was expected to generate US$48m/yr in revenue for an outlay of US$125m. Potentially, the implications for the process are profound, so it is worth considering some of the issues here.
Firstly, it is unclear from the public information released whether the process will actually make a profit. The revenue figures for the Skyonic unit are predictions and are dependent on the markets that the products (sodium biocarbonate, hydrogen and chlorine) will be sold into. Skyonic CEO and founder, Joe Jones, has said in interview that the sodium-based product market by itself could only support 200 - 250 plants worldwide using this process. Worldwide there are over 2000 integrated cement plants. Since Jones is selling his technology his market prediction might well be optimistic. It is also uncertain how existing sodium biocarbonate producers will react to this new source of competition.
Secondly, Skyonic is hoping to push the cost of carbon capture down to US$20/t. Carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and transportation varies between industries depending on the purity and concentration of the by-product. For example, in 2011 the US Energy Information Administration estimated the cost for CO2 capture to range from US$36.10/t for coal and biomass-to-liquids conversion up to US$81.08/t for cement plants. The difference being that capturing CO2 from cement plant flue gas emissions requires more cleaning or scrubbing of other unwanted chemicals such as mercury.
With these limitations in mind, Skyonic is placing itself in competition with the existing flue gas scrubbing market rather than the carbon capture market, since the level of CO2 removal can be scaled to local legislation. Plus, SOx, NO2, mercury and other heavy metals can be removed in the process.
Back on carbon capture, Skyonic is securing finance for a process it calls Skycycle, which will produce calcium-based products from CO2, with a pilot plant planned at Capitol Aggregates for late 2015. This puts Skyonic back amongst several other pilot projects that are running around the world.
Taiwan Cement and the Industrial Technology Research Institute inaugurated their calcium looping project pilot in mid-2013. It was last reported to have a CO2 capture rate of 1t/hr.
The Norcem cement plant in Brevik, Norway started in early 2014 to test and compare four different types of post-combustion carbon capture technologies at its pilot unit. These are Aker Solutions Amine Technology, RTI Solid Sorbent Technology, DNV GL/ NTNU/ Yodfat Engineers Membrane Technology and Alstom Power Regenerative Calcium Cycle. The project in conjunction with HeidelbergCement and the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA) is scheduled to run until 2017.
St Marys Cement in St Marys, Canada started its bioreactor pilot project in July 2014. This process uses flue gas to grow algae that can then be used for bio-oil, food, fertiliser and sewage treatment.
If Skyonic is correct then its sodium biocarbonate process in Texas is a strong step towards cutting CO2 emissions in the cement industry. Unfortunately, it looks like it can only be a step since the market won't support large-scale adoption of this technology. Other pilots are in progress but they are unlikely to gather momentum until legislation forces cement producers to adopt these technologies or someone devises a method that pays for the capture cost.