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Interaction | May 2016

ESPs are very efficient in handling coarse dust particles

Dr. V. S. Rajan, Vice President - Filter Division, Supreme Nonwoven Industries Pvt.. Ltd.
What is your outlook on the growth of this sector in India?
The government recognises that electricity is one of the key drivers for economic growth and poverty alleviation. Today only about one third of the households has access to electricity. The government has announced ambitious plans towards electrifying all the households by 2020. This will drive a lot of capacity additions in this sector across all the sources of power generation. It is heartening to see that about 68 per cent of the plan for new installations as per the 12th plan is already in place.

India´s power generation is largely from coal based power plants, more than 60 per cent compared to other generating technologies. Coal reserves in the country will continue to push for thermal power even when other cleaner power generating technologies are breaking new grounds. With the arrival of ´Clean & Eco Friendly´ power generating technologies--solar and wind and that too at a commercially viable cost, our country is going to see an enormous growth in power generation, from various technologies like never before.

Coal based power plants have a big challenge ahead - not only the generation cost has to be kept competitive, but also does so without polluting the environment. Only this will ensure that they remain relevant when compared to the newer clean power technologies. Hence, all the existing and new CFB based power plants, will have to re-look their generation technologies to generate power economically and at the same time meet the stringent pollution norms.

The main pollutants of a thermal power plant are the suspended particulate matter (SPM) which is mainly the Fly Ash, the gaseous pollutants- NOx, SOx and other heavy metals -Mercury, Bromine etc. While the gaseous pollutants are being addressed well with newer burner & furnace designs to reduce their production, the control of SPM is by way of arresting the dust largely by use of ESPs´.

ESP´s are very efficient in handling coarse dust particles, but can be questionable if fine particulate matter is involved. The rising health issues are potentially caused by the fine dust (PM 2.5 & 10) and therefore the government is rolling out policies to tighten the dust emission norms from a high of 75 mg/NM3 to below 20 mg/ Nm3. Hybrid ESP plants or Bag Houses are capable of controlling the fines as well as the coarse particles very effectively and we should see many of these in action in the coming years.

Waste to Energy:
Another fast emerging area in power generation is from incineration of municipal waste to produce electricity. This is fast catching the attention of many city corporations where land fill areas are becoming scarce and pressure for land for development is increasing. Also, with the income level going up, one can expect the increased quantity of daily waste from every household that would make this waste to energy proposal more urgent.

Landfill for waste disposal will soon become a thing of the past and incineration plants will be the only alternative. Here, too, stringent emission norms for SPM will be put in place by the government.

How the growth in the power sector, helping your company to grow its business? The government´s policy around stringent pollution control will put some pressure on the traditional power companies. Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP) has been a common way to manage pollution in the power plants. ESP´s are suited for removal of coarse dust particle and the fines escape.

Most of the health hazards is from the fine dust (@ PM 2.5 & 10 level). The ESP´s are found inadequate to handle fines. Another disadvantage with ESPs´ are they requires pre-treatment of the dust laden flue gas, arising out of different quality of coal being made available to power plants.

The operating costs of ESP to meet the requirement of fines capture is very high. Unlike ESPs´, the bag filters are able to perform to the fullest efficiency irrespective and without the need of any process intervention due to changes in raw materials (read coal).

This may be one of the primary reasons why Indian power plants have to adopt bag filter technology, in the future. Bag filters are proven to work in places where ESP´s are becoming expensive to meet the requirements. The filtration efficiencies in most cases are more than 99.9 per cent. No other technologies are able to offer the same price points at which bag filters operate.

SNIPL poised for growth:
The developments taking place in the power sector augur well for SNIPL in terms of supplying high end quality filter bags to meet the growing demands of thermal power plants who will adopt or upgrade to bag filters or hybrid systems for SPM control. Not only will the demand come from many new thermal power projects under consideration, but also from the existing plants who may be called upon to retro-fit their existing ESP.

SNIPL has already been supplying filter bag products to small and medium size Indian thermal power producers (ranging from 135 MW to 600 + MW). Our high end filter bags are designed to last for a minimum of 22,000 exposure hours and emission level well below 20 mg/Nm3, on a continuous basis. There are more than two dozen power plants in the private sector who already have adopted the bag filter technology successfully and a few more are under installation.

Any energy efficient product
on display at the PowerGen 2016 exhibition?

At SNIPL, we are aware of these developments taking place in the power sector and have already initiated programmes for designing newer and more efficient filter media bags that will offer dust emission below 5 mg/NM3 levels.

Some of the new products that SNIPL would showcase in PowerGen 2016 would be bags that would be more durable to flue gas chemistry and low emission below 10 mg/ Nm3. These are filter media made of high temperature fibres and chemically more inert. They would offer low DP across bags and would require less energy to operate. In a way they will be more energy efficient bags.

In a power plant, different filter bags are required based on their process locations and operating in temperature range from 80-100 C to 180-200 C.

The bags displayed are made from fibre types - Polyester; Homopolymer Acrylic, Meta Aramid, polyphenylene sulphide (ryton), Polyimide and PTFE and their blends. All these bags are designed to perform the most efficiently in their operating temperature levels and are built to last long.

Tell us about your state-of-the-art manufacturing facility?
The backbone of the organisation is an integrated manufacturing facility in Bhilad and Vapi. Our facilities are designed to handle an entire range of fibres. The principal fibres used for manufacturing filter media include PP, Polyester, Viscose, PAN Homopolymer and Copolymer, PPS, Kermel, Metaaramids, PTFE and P-84. A broad range of non-woven filter media and filter products are manufactured through diverse technologies.

The Nowofilt® range of products has been a recognised brand in the filter bag markets and is known for its performance. Other customised solutions in the area of dust collection systems have helped customers´ upgrade their operational performance.

How is the growth of the company over the two years?
With a strong team in place and favourable market conditions, we see a strong positive outlook for the company in coming years. A number of initiatives have been planned, including capacity additions, manufacturing productivity improvements, upgrading our R&D facilities, investments in IT tools and widening our product portfolio to meet ever increasing customer requirements.

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