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Overview of the Pet Coke and Furnace Oil Use Fuel Policy of Punjab

26 Sep, 2023
Overview of the Pet Coke and Furnace Oil Use Fuel Policy of Punjab

Petroleum coke or pet coke is a carbon-rich solid material and residual waste material recovered as a by-product of oil refining. It is a spongy, solid residue from oil distillation that can be burned for fuel similar to coal. Petcoke is used by power stations and several manufacturing industries, including cement, steel and textile plants, as a substitute for coal and has been preferred due to the surge in the global prices of coal. However, petcoke is generally not preferred as fuel because of its toxic emissions as it contains over 90% carbon and releases 5 to 10 % more carbon dioxide (CO2) per unit of energy than coal, apart from other toxic gases like nitrous oxide, mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, and hydrogen chloride. There has been crucial development related to the use, import and waste disposal of pet coke in industries in the last few years. After the intervention of the Supreme Court of India and the NGT, the Fuel Policy governing the use and import of pet coke has seen significant changes. In this article, we will understand what these changes are all about and the highlights of the recently announced Pet Coke and Furnace oil usage Fuel Policy in Punjab.

Provisions regulating the import and use of Petcoke

In 2023, after deciding on the matter relating to the industrial use of pet coke and furnace oil, the Supreme Court of India issued certain directions for environmental compliance to the Pollution control boards in the country. After that, the CPCB, under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, issued directions to all the States and Union Territories to formulate and enforce fuel policy regarding the use of pet coke and furnace oil (FO). Different State Governments have considered the matter and, after consultation with their respective Pollution Control Board and stakeholder departments, are deliberating on regulating the use of pet coke and furnace oil with a common aim that the use of pet coke and FO fuel must be regulated so as to ensure that there is no adverse impact on the environment. As per a compliance report submitted to the NGT in June 2020, the status of compliance by different states and UTs has been shown in the table.

StatusStatus of Compliance as of 30.06.2020
Andhra PradeshPet Coke can be used as an approved fuel subject to the installation of required air pollution control systems by the industries. SPCB also framed a Fuel Policy for the use of Pet Coke and FO in 2020, and  these industries are now required to install the scrubbing system to reduce SO2 load with a minimum efficiency of 90%
ChhattisgarhA State government order banned the use of petcoke in all industries in 2017, except for Cement Plants, which have been permitted subject to specific conditions formulated by CECB. Use of FO is not prohibited, and necessary decisions were to be taken in this regard.
GoaSPCB notified the approved fuels in the state in 2020, while the CPCB has asked for a review of the circular in light of the SC and NGT orders.
GujaratA Committee constituted by the SPCB recommended that using pet coke as fuel may be permitted only in the glass and cement sectors.
Himachal PradeshThe State Government has formulated a Draft fuel policy, and will be finalised after the Bye-Election Model Code of Conduct gets approval from the Council of Ministers.
KarnatakaA draft fuel policy has been formulated by the State Government, and the draft policy is under the process of finalisation/ notification.
KeralaA Draft fuel policy regarding the use of petcoke and FO has been prepared and submitted to the State Govt. for issuing notification.
Madhya PradeshAn order was issued in 2017 by State Government allowing the use of petcoke only after obtaining Consent from MPPCB. MPPCB can allow the use of petcoke on case to case basis after proper examination of control equipment installed for control of emission of SO2 and other pollutants. The same policy will be adopted in the case of FO too.
MaharashtraA policy regarding petcoke and furnace oil use has been framed with a list of approved fuels and timelines for compliance. Petcoke will be allowed in Cement Plants/ Lime Kilns, Calcium carbide and Gasification use. However, furnace Oil is allowed in units with conditions of 90 % scrubbing and removal of SO2.
ManipurAs per Manipur SPCB, no industry is using petcoke and FO in the state, and therefore, the policy regarding the use of petcoke and FO may not be required.
MeghalayaA Draft fuel policy has been submitted to the Secretary, Forests & Environment, Meghalaya.
MizoramAccording to Mizoram SPCB, petcoke and FO are not being used in the state. However, the government is considering information to create a policy on their use.
NagalandAs per the SPCB, Nagaland does not have any plants or industries where fuel-grade pet coke is used. However, the Dept. of Industries & Commerce has been asked to prepare a policy.
SikkimA notification was issued in 2018 prohibiting the sale and use of petcoke and FO as fuel in the state.
Tamil NaduCement Plant is only permitted to use petcoke as fuel in their Cement Kiln after examining case by case, and all other industrial units which have used petcoke are prohibited as per TNPCB since 2017. There is no restriction on the use of FO
TelanganaSPCB has informed that the State Govt. has decided that petcoke as fuel is not required to be prohibited in the State subject to the installation of air pollution control systems and compliance with the emission norms. TSPCB has permitted Cement Plants for the use of petcoke while issuing CFO & HWA.
TripuraA notification was issued in 2018 for a complete ban on the use of petcoke and FO.
UttarakhandAs per SPCB, a Draft Fuel Policy has been prepared and is under the approval of the Chairman, PCB.
Andaman and NicobarNo industry is using petcoke and FO
ChandigarhNo industry is using petcoke. Also, a policy regarding FO is under consideration that no industry will be allowed to use FO after 06 months.
Daman & Diu and Dadra and Nagar HaveliNone of the industries are permitted to use petcoke. Use of FO is permitted subject to compliance of 30 meters stack height and installation of APCDs for control of and emission.
LakshadweepNone of the industry uses petcoke and FO.
PuducherryA draft fuel policy has been prepared and submitted to the government for approval.

The regulation governing Petcoke and Furnace oil usage in Punjab

In the case of Punjab, a draft of the policy to regulate the use of Pet Coke and Furnace Oil in Punjab was published by the Government of Punjab, Department of Science, Technology & Environment in November 2022. After considering the suggestions received by the public, the Department of Science and Technology[1] published an amended fuel policy in July 2023, highlighting the guidelines in the following areas.

  • Prohibition of furnace oil
  • Regulation of the use of pet coke and
  • For the promotion of cleaner fuels in the State of Punjab

Guidelines for regulation and monitoring of Imported Pet Coke (IPC)

The following conditions under Punjab’s Fuel Policy have been stipulated.

  • Pet coke importing identified above must obtain consent and registration from the Punjab PCB, and the consent has to clearly specify the quantity permitted for import and its use on a per month and per annum basis.
  • Only registered industrial units with valid consent from the State Pollution Control Board will be permitted to directly import pet coke, and the consignment should be in the name of user industrial units for their own use only.
  • Import of pet coke for the purpose of trading will not be permitted.
  • Authorised importers of Pet coke must furnish opening and closing stock of imported pet coke to the State Pollution Control Board every quarter.

Note: The PPCB will be developing an electronic record system an electronic record system as a part of the Fuel Policy for uploading consents, registration and records of the use of imported Pet Coke by industrial units.

Guidelines for the Use of Pet Coke for Boilers/ Furnaces in Punjab

As per the amended draft notification for regulating the use of pet coke/furnace oil, the use of pet coke and FO or any other liquids is allowed in regulated conditions, i.e. the emission standards for Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) must be less than 400 mf/Nm3. In addition to it, the industry must also possess a CTO from the SPCB. The other major highlights of the guidelines for Boilers/ Furnaces include

  • The industry must follow the SOP prescribed by MoEF&CC/CPCB/PPCB. The industries that are allowed to use pet coke should provide well-designed two stages of desulphurisation (i.e. combustion stage and flue gas emissions) and install adequate air pollution control devices so as to contain PM and gaseous emissions, specifically SO2, as per the specified limits.
  • The industry will be required to install online monitoring for SO2 with the stack equipped with an alarm system to alert the boiler/APCD operator. If the SO2 concentration increases beyond 400 mg/Nm3, necessary mitigation measures must be undertaken.
  • The industry will be required to provide a height stack calculated using the formula H=14Q0.3.
  • The industry will be required to provide adequate and appropriate treatment to the bleed-off / purge wastewater being discharged from the scrubber, and sludge produced in the recirculation tank must be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

Prohibition on the use of Furnace Oil and alternate fuels

  • Furnace oil and any other liquid oil containing high Sulphur contents (exceeding 1.8% by weight) shall not be allowed to be used as fuel.
  • Only specified liquid fuels marketed and supplied by the oil companies authorised by the Government of India, including Low Sulphur Heavy Stock (LSHS), Light Diesel Oil (LDO) and Propane, Butane, etc., having sulphur content not exceeding 1.8% by weight, will be allowed.
  • No oil company shall supply furnace oil and any liquid fuel having high sulphur content in the state except the liquid fuels/ oil.
  • The industry will provide a stack of adequate height calculated by using the abovementioned formula. Wherever providing stacks is not feasible using the above formula, a minimum stack height of 11 meters will be provided considering the emission standards for SO2 as 400 mg/ Nm3.
  • The industry will be required to follow the SOP prescribed by PPCB/ MoEF&CC/CPCB issued from time to time and provide adequate emission control and treatment systems with the objective of containing SO2, PM and other parameters within the prescribed limit.
  • Carbon Black Feed Stock (CBFS), acetylene black, lamp black, furnace black, channel black and thermal black must not be used as fuel in boilers, furnaces, brick kilns or anywhere as a source of energy generation.

Legal Provisions with respect to Import of Pet coke

The import of pet coke for fuel purposes is completely banned in the entire country. Under some recent orders made by the Supreme Court that exempted certain industries, as mentioned.

  • Import of needle pet coke is allowed for use in the graphite electrode industry for making graphite anode material for making Li-ion batteries as feedstock/raw material and not for use as fuel for trade or any other purposes.
  • Domestic as well as imported CPC (Calcined Pet Coke) can be used as raw material for anode making in the aluminium industry with revised BIS specifications, provided that imported raw material does not exceed 0.5 MT per annum.
  • The import of low-sulphur pet coke is restricted in India. However, the import is subject to authorisation from the directorate for use in certain sectors like the integrated steel plants for blending with the coking coal in recovery-type coke ovens equipped with desulphurisation plants.

The eligible units wishing to avail of the allowed quota need to apply for an import license with a copy to the jurisdictional regional authority of DGFT along with details like the capacity of the unit and consent certificate from the respective SPCB in the name of the industrial unit user. The documents must indicate the quantity permitted for import and its use. Authorised importers of Petcoke must furnish opening and closing stock of imported Petcoke to the concerned SPCB on a quarterly basis.

Pollution Control-Related Provisions Governing the use of Pet Coke and Furnace Oil

Pollution NOC

Petcoke making, liquefaction, coal tar distillation or fuel gas making are all recognised as red-category industries as they have significant potential to pollute the environment. However, Industries or processes involving foundry operations that use petcoke are categorised into the orange category. Therefore, these industries are required to obtain Consent NOC (Consent to Establish and Consent to Operate) under the respective category from their respective SPCB/ PCC in the manner prescribed by the Boards and in accordance with the additional state-specific provisions related to air/ water pollution.

HWM Authorisation

As per the definition of Hazardous waste, under the HWM Rules, 2016, it means “a material that is not a product or by-product for which a generator has no further use for the purpose of production, transformation and consumption. While pet coke does not perfectly fit the definition, its combustion releases toxic emissions. If the industry requires the disposal of any hazardous waste generated by the use of pet coke, authorisation under the HWM Rules may be necessary.

The following documents will be needed if the industry approaches the SPCB for fresh/ renewal of Consent (CTO/CTE).

General Documents

  • Duly filled Application on the OCMMS portal
  • The layout of the project location
  • Detailed Project report with details of manufacturing methods and raw materials
  • Proof of Investment, machinery, capital cost
  • Industry Registration Documents
  • Certificate of completion of the ETP or add-on pollution control
  • Consent fee (as applicable)
  • Compliance with Environment clearance criteria

For water consent/NOC

  • Compliance with water consent clauses
  • Reports of treated wastewater analysis
  • Sewage Treatment Plant/ Effluent Treatment Plant Report
  • The layout of ETP/ STP

For air consent/NOC

  • Specifications of air pollution control facility
  • Report of emission analysis
  • Compliance with air consent clauses

For authorisation of Hazardous waste

  • Incinerator details
  • Details of hazardous wastes generated.
  • Compliance with hazardous waste authorisation clauses

Conclusion

The Guidelines under the Fuel Policy for Regulation and Monitoring of Imported Pet Coke are being designed in compliance with the MoEF Guidelines. While doing so, the concerned SPCB aims for the regulation and monitoring of imported pet coke in India. While the import of pet coke for use as fuel is prohibited in the entire country, regulated import is allowed in case petcoke is to be used by the industries, namely cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification for use as a feedstock or in the manufacturing process only on an actual user basis. If a business requires the use of Petcoke or Furnace oil in the manufacturing process or wishes to import under the allocated quota, the assistance of industry experts will not only assist them in the due process but also save time and finances.

FAQs

What is pet coke?

Petroleum Coke (Pet Coke) is the carbonaceous solid residue remaining after the distillation of petroleum materials.

Which has a higher calorific value, coal or pet coke?

 When compared with coal, pet coke has more than twice the calorific value and is widely used as an alternative to coal in power plants, cement kilns and blast furnaces.

What is the new Draft fuel policy prohibiting pet coke and furnace oil use?

The Department of Science, Technology & Environment of the Punjab Government have issued the Draft fuel policy and guidelines for the prohibition and regulation of the use of pet coke and furnace oil as fuel in Punjab. The Fuel Policy also states the Guidelines for using Pet Coke for Boilers/ Furnaces.

Is the import of Pet Coke banned in India?

Yes, the import of pet coke for use as fuel is prohibited in the entire country. However, regulated import is allowed in case petcoke is to be used by the industries, namely cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification for use as a feedstock or in the manufacturing process only on an actual user basis.

What is the by-product of pet coke burning?

Fly Ash is the by-product left after the complete combustion of Pet Coke. Due to its cementitious properties, fly ash is excellent for manufacturing cement and bricks.

Read our Article: The Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2023

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