Mumbai: Tata Steel, the country's largest private sector steel producer, is shifting to greener technologies. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with New Energy & Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) of Japan for acquiring dry quenching technology for coking coal.
The MoU was signed by K Koizawa, executive director, NEDO and T Mukherjee, deputy managing director (Steel), Tata Steel in Jamshedpur on Friday in the presence of officials of the finance and steel ministries.
The dry quenching technology used for cooling coke is a new approach to conserving both heat energy and fresh water and thereby abate air and water pollution associated with the conventional wet quenching process during manufacture of metallurgical coke.
The new technology will use nitrogen gas to recover heat from hot coke and generate steam that would be used for power generation.
According to the MoU, NEDO will supply the equipment under the Japanese government's `Green Aid Plan' and Tata Steel will disseminate the know-how to other integrated steel plants. The project is estimated to cost Rs180 crore. This is the second time that Tata Steel has received Japanese technology from NEDO under the `Green Aid Plan'.
A majority of the power plants in the country uses coal for generation of electricity. Conventional coal-fired power plants produce as much as 6,500 tonnes of green house gas (carbon dioxide) for each MW of power generated over a year.
In an integrated steel plant, huge quantities of heat get wasted in direct and indirect cooling. In the conventional coke making process in steel plants, red hot coke is pushed out of coke ovens and quenched with large quantity of water resulting in evaporation of water into the atmosphere.
Naturally the heat energy is lost in the process. In addition, quenching of coke results in air and water pollution.
The coke dry quenching technology, known as CDQ, offers distinct advantages of better heat recovery, water conservation and zero air and water pollution. This is an established technology, used in the more advanced countries. The dry coke produced in the process also enhances the productivity of blast furnaces.
The adoption of this technology would help save one million cubic metres of water annually and generate over 300,000 tonnes of steam for use in power plants. This would also reduce the emission of carbondioxide into the atmosphere by almost 140,000 tones per year - an issue being addressed under the Kyoto Protocol.
Tata Steel's plants, mines and collieries and the town services in Jamshedpur are ISO 14001 certified for environment management. Under the Green Millennium Countdown programme, the company has planted and ensured survival of 1.5 million trees in its mines and other operating units.
Meanwhile, Tata Steel is considering a proposal by South Africa's Highveld Steel and Vanadium Corporation to bid for a majority stake in its vanadium businesses as well. Highweld owner Anglo American is selling its 79 per cent stake in the company.
Vanadium, produced mostly as ferrovanadium, is used as a steel additive. It is used in various applications, including alloys and speciality stainless steel.
Tata Steel is the sole bidder for Highveld after Mittal Steel pulled out of the race for the unit. Tata Steel had expressed interest in taking over Highveld's steel business and had made a conditional offer for the same.
If the acquisition goes through, it would be the third steel plant acquisition by Tata Steel in the past two years. Tata Steel acquired NatSteel of Singapore and Thailand-based Millenium Steel Ltd in the past two years. It has also acquired a stake in coal property in Australia.