New Delhi: By setting up cement projects to make use of the fly ash generated from their power plants, utilities such as NTPC Ltd and Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s Reliance Power Ltd (RPL) will also be able to use their project land for more productive purposes by cutting down on storage areas.
Fly ash is generated while burning coal. One tonne of cement needs an input of 0.2 tonne of fly ash. Not only is the cost of cement produced from fly ash 5-10% lower when compared with cement produced the traditional way, but it also saves on transportation and disposal of a material considered detrimental to the environment.
“Fly ash needs ash dykes for storing. A 1,000MW project requires around 1,000 acres for ash dykes for a 25-year period. This benefit is in addition to leveraging the production of fly ash for cement manufacturing,” said a senior official at the Central Electricity Authority, the apex power sector planning body in the country.
While RPL plans to set up a 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) cement plant near Satna in Madhya Pradesh at an investment of Rs10,000 crore, NTPC plans to manufacture cement near six of its power plants through joint ventures. Even companies such as Grasim Industries Ltd, UltraTech Cement Ltd, Sanghi Cement Ltd, India Cements Ltd, Zuari Cements Ltd and My Home Industries Ltd, among others, have evinced interest to set up greenfield cement plants in the vicinity of 4,000MW each ultra mega power projects in order to utilize the fly ash that would be generated from them.
R.S. Sharma, chairman and managing director of NTPC, said: “Using fly ash for cement production will definitely help in better land utilization. The amount of land savings will depend on the size of the cement manufacturing facility, which in turn will determine the amount of fly ash utilization.”
An RPL spokesperson didn’t comment.
“Around 30-40% of the land required for the power project goes towards ash handling. For a coal pit head power project unless you have cement manufacturing facilities nearby, there is no real use of that ash. In today’s land spread, it is very difficult to have contiguous parcel of land. Such an effort will also increase the doability of the project,” said Anish De, chief executive officer at Mercados Asia, an energy consulting firm.
India is the world’s second largest cement market and has a cement manufacturing capacity of 189mtpa, which is expected to go up to 245mtpa by 2010. The country’s market size is pegged at Rs55,000 crore, next only to China.