Speaking with RAHUL KAMAT at 'Yamuna' - KBL's global headquarters in India, a LEED certified platinum rated green building, Sayaji Shinde, Vice President and Head (Global Power), Kirloskar Brothers Ltd (KBL) said power from nuclear, clearly emerges as the next clean base-load energy source, for the future.
How do you see India's power sector shaping, and what are your strategies at KBL?
KBL is known for its flexible business approach with the ability and tenacity to adapt to changing market scenarios and needs. Let me walk you through KBL's history. If you read the 'Cactus and Roses' - the autobiography of our great leader, Mr Shantanurao Kirloskar, it talks about how, during the World War I, when there was extreme shortage of steel for the industry, KBL approached His Highness Shrimant Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur to secure un-used cannons from the king to melt them in our foundries for making steel castings of engineered products. Again, during the World War II and the great industrial depression that followed leading to low demand for engineered products, the organisation quickly shifted its focus and started manufacturing reliable and high quality steel furniture such as hospital beds, chairs, etc. And even today, if you were to visit our Kirloskarvadi plant, you would see some of these steel chairs made in those times, still in use and as good as new. This ability to modify our strategy based on the changing scenario continues to be a part of the organisational DNA.
KBL's power sector has modulated its business, based on changing market needs. Today, the Indian electricity sector is seeing a major transformation with respect to demand growth, energy mix, etc., including the increased focus on renewable energylike solar, wind and nuclear. The shift towards renewable energy is mainly due environmental issues regarding combustion of coal. KBL manufactures a wide range and types of pumps for power plant applications. We therefore have a good head start as we are able to offer our products for the renewable energy applications as well.
India's energy mix is dominated by thermal power. Going forward, do you see a drastic shift from thermal to renewable, or do you think thermal will remain the big brother?
In my opinion, electricity from renewable energy sources will steadily grow. But despite this, the country's base-load power demand will continue to be met by the existing thermal power plants which are in operation, as these plants have a significantly large remaining operational life.
In recent years, capacity addition in thermal power has been very minuscule. We haven't seen many new projects being announced. Understandably, with approximately 25 GW of thermal power projects still under construction, thermal power is likely to remain at the centre stage. This is mainly because renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have limitations. They cannot substitute or replace the thermal power, for base-load requirements. However, if a breakthrough is seen in storage technologies, as is being reported from some parts of the world (shifting from lithium batteries to glass based), then renewable energy could stand a better chance as a base-load power source.
Until that happens, in my opinion, nuclear power has the potential to emerge as India's next best base-load, from amongst the existing energy mix. Electricity from nuclear power is far cleaner and unlike solar, it is not dependent on sunlight.
KBL also works closely with other governments to provide products and services. How has this G2G (government-to-government) experience helped your organisationin growing its business activities?
KBL has been mainly participating in the G2G initiatives of the Government of India for irrigation and clean drinking water programmes in developing economies. These initiatives are aimed at bringing the best technologies in pumping solutions for the benefit of developing nations, who are working hard towards a food sufficiency program. KBL has successfully executed several projects in various countries such as Laos, Senegal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand etc., by effectively applying the AAA (appropriate, adaptable and affordable) philosophy. These projects have hugely contributed to the Green Revolution of these nations. For KBL, this has indeed been a very enriching experience of working on challenging projects in different parts of the globe and supporting GOI in strengthening bilateral relationships with such countries. This has got us international recognition and respect.
How has digitisation or monitoring your operations with advanced software helped in streamlining processes such as procurement and designing at KBL?
We have strong R&D capabilities with advanced software and hydraulic solution tools, which give us multiple benefits. Using such advanced software, we are able to design and develop new hydraulic, products and systems, in an accelerated mode. Such tools not only help us in reducing development time but also assist in predicting product performance with higher accuracy.
Specialised techniques and tools have been deployed to improve our processes at all our manufacturing plants. Advanced ERP software such as S4 HANA has streamlined our operations and processes. SALESFORCE has been deployed to effectively address the business opportunities on a global scale. DOLPHIN, the customised product selection software, effectively helps in faster response to customer enquiries.
To sum up, over the years KBL has deployed the `best-in-class' software, tools and techniques. This has helped us maintain significantly high standards in our products and processes, enabling us meet the expectations of our esteem customers across the globe.
KBL has been associated with many big projects in India, and is known for its quality control. Can you elaborate on that aspect?
KBL's passion has been to continuously innovate and offer high quality, cost effective solutions. In its journey thus far, KBL has delivered several firsts to the country, including building one of the world's largest irrigation schemes and the world's largest cooling water systems for power plants. Personally, I have been closely associated with some of KBL's flagship products, such as the concrete volute pumps (CVP) -for cooling water systems in plants and irrigation projects, canned motor pumps and sodium pumps for nuclear power applications. The CVPs are categorised as ideal LLC (lowest lifecycle cost) product as they can be installed at significantly lower capital costs, in comparison to VT pumps. CVPs have an equally low operating cost - thanks to its sustainable high efficiency (which keeps power consumption low), its high reliability of 99.95 per cent and a practically zero requirement of spare parts.
KBL has supplied the largest number of CV Pumps for pumping sea water in the cooling water system in power plants. 10 CVPs supplied by KBL at the 4,000 MW Tata Mundra's Ultra Mega Power Plant in Gujarat (each pump having 63,000 cum/hour flow rate), makes this CW system one of the largest in the world, pumping 630,000 cum/hour of sea water.
Another significant project executed by KBL, is also one of the world's largest irrigation schemes, which was executed for Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam's Saurashtra branch canal Pumping scheme in Gujarat. When built and commissioned this project had technologies, such as 24 CVPs, SCADA controls, telemetry system, remote controlled un-manned operations, which were way ahead of its time. This project involved construction of five pumping stations along a 105 km long canal. The performance testing and flow measurement of the CV pumps (each pump having 72,000 cum/hour flow rate)in this project was conducted using a unique radio-isotope technique.
KBL has also supplied four large sea water handling vertical turbine pumps (each pump having 45,500 cum/hour flow rate) at Hinduja Power Project in Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. These Pumps at Hinduja Power Plant are the largest VT Pumps for sea water application, made 100% locally in India by KBL, in super duplex stainless steel material.
You installed concrete volute pumps in Dahanu Thermal Power Station 20 years back. Share some more details.
I had the invaluable experience and privilege of installing and commissioning KBL's and India's first concrete volute cooling water pumps (CVP) at Dahanu Thermal Power Station, near Mumbai. CVPs installed at Dahanu Thermal Power Station were commissioned in 1994. These CVPs underwent a customer-initiated energy audit to ascertain the drop in pump efficiency over a period of 20 years of continuous operation. While the code permits a 1 per cent drop in efficiency per year under normal operation, the energy audit revealed that the efficiency drop in the CVPs at Dahanu TPS was less than 3 per cent in 20 year of operation. Moreover, the power plant has observed zero down time of the CVPs ever since it's commissioning, in spite of the fact that there are no stand-by pumps with no stand-by pump and with over 706,000 hours of un-interrupted operations being clocked. This makes KBL very proud of their CVPs pumps.
What does it mean to the power plant owner?
CW pumps in power plants are the largest auxiliary power consumers. With a sustainable and high efficiency of concrete volute pumps, the power plant owner benefits from the much lesser power consumed of CVPs over its entire life span. Lesser auxiliary power consumption means more power being pushed into the grid, leading to increased revenue for the power company.
KBL has developed a full range of LLC products in Vertical, Horizontal and End-Suction type of pumps and the same are being widely sold by us in the international markets by the hundreds, given the huge cost benefits they offer to the end-user. Demand for LLC Pumps, has unfortunately not picked up as much in India, given their initial higher costs.
We also have a full range of FM&UL listed firefighting pump-sets, which are high class, certified for the critical firefighting application on offshore platforms. We are amongst the very few pump companies in the world, who can offer such pumps.
KBL's canned motor pump (CMP) does not require any sealing device such as gland packings or mechanical seals. These are hermetically sealed pump motor sets where the pumped liquid can freely flow inside the motor stator. These pumps play a vital role in applications wherein require zero leakage is desired as the liquids being pumped, are either hazardous, toxic or expensive. Our CMPs are being supplied to nuclear power plants as moderator pumps and for critical applications to Heavy Water Board. They also have industrial applications in chillers, ammonia and other toxic liquid handling plants
One of the top certifications that KBL has is the N and NPT Certification.Could you talk about this?
The N, NPT & MO certification has been conferred on KBL by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).This certification qualifies KBL to manufacture nuclear grade equipment and components. This certification is one of the essential pre-requisites for being considered as a nuclear equipment supplier.
Nuclear power plants requires a number of critical pumps such as sodium pumps, canned motor type moderator coolant pumps, and primary pressurising and shut down cooling pumps etc. KBL has proven capability to manufacture these pumps. The N and NPT certificationwill help KBL get global recognition as a prominent nuclear equipment manufacturer.
The government is encouraging foreign technology providers to set up nuclear power plants in India, with a condition that over a period of time they should develop and source equipment from within India. This would ensure that major parts of these nuclear power plants would eventually be locally sourced.
The N and NPT certification will provide KBL a head start while being considered as a local manufacturer by such foreign technology providers. This is expected to give KBL great leverage.
In addition to the N and NPT certification, KBL also has certifications to various national and international standard requirements like HIS, NFPA 20, FM/UL, API, ATEX and CE Marking. KBL is also ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified company.
KBL was recently awarded a contract by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to develop and manufacture primary coolant pump required for the upcoming 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs). Each reactor requires four such pumps. KBL is also executing the order from NPCIL for developing the main boiler feed pumps for 700 MWe PHWRs. , another critical pump required in nuclear power plants is the `shut-down cooling pump' (SDCP), which plays a very important role during an emergency situation in a nuclear power plant. The SDCP developed by KBL is currently undergoing endurance testing at our plant. This being a Class I Pump, it will be yet another feather in KBL's cap.
You have formed many joint ventures and made acquisitions at the international level. This must have helped KBL to position itself globally.
Through our acquisitions in various parts of the globe, we have been able to take the KBL brand to the world. We are also taking advantage of the local brands, thus giving us a local face in those countries and markets. We are thus able to address newer markets and serve a larger customer base.
With a sales and manufacturing facilities across the world, the global power team works closely with the respective IROs (International Regional Offices) in a synchronised manner. This provides us a global advantage, global presence and the benefits of an increased global footprint.
As Vice President and Head (Global Power) at Kirloskar Brothers Ltd (KBL), Sayaji Shinde seems exactly where he wants to be - he has spent over 22 of his 30 working years,with KBL. A mechanical engineer with specialisation in project appraisal, risk analysis & project management from XLRI, Jamshedpur, Sayaji is currently responsible for KBL's powers business in the domestic and global markets, which includes thermal, nuclear, hydro power and renewable energy. Having handled various roles and positions in manufacturing, site management, order execution and marketing, in diverse business verticals such as power, irrigation, corporate international institutional business and corporate global business development, Sayaji has a well-rounded experience in the pump industry. His current passion and affinity has been nuclear and renewable Energy.
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