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.
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.
|Status||Status of Compliance as of 30.06.2020|
|Andhra Pradesh||Pet 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%|
|Chhattisgarh||A 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.|
|Goa||SPCB 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.|
|Gujarat||A Committee constituted by the SPCB recommended that using pet coke as fuel may be permitted only in the glass and cement sectors.|
|Himachal Pradesh||The 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.|
|Karnataka||A draft fuel policy has been formulated by the State Government, and the draft policy is under the process of finalisation/ notification.|
|Kerala||A Draft fuel policy regarding the use of petcoke and FO has been prepared and submitted to the State Govt. for issuing notification.|
|Madhya Pradesh||An 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.|
|Maharashtra||A 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.|
|Manipur||As 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.|
|Meghalaya||A Draft fuel policy has been submitted to the Secretary, Forests & Environment, Meghalaya.|
|Mizoram||According 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.|
|Nagaland||As 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.|
|Sikkim||A notification was issued in 2018 prohibiting the sale and use of petcoke and FO as fuel in the state.|
|Tamil Nadu||Cement 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|
|Telangana||SPCB 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.|
|Tripura||A notification was issued in 2018 for a complete ban on the use of petcoke and FO.|
|Uttarakhand||As per SPCB, a Draft Fuel Policy has been prepared and is under the approval of the Chairman, PCB.|
|Andaman and Nicobar||No industry is using petcoke and FO|
|Chandigarh||No 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 Haveli||None 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.|
|Lakshadweep||None of the industry uses petcoke and FO.|
|Puducherry||A draft fuel policy has been prepared and submitted to the government for approval.|
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 published an amended fuel policy in July 2023, highlighting the guidelines in the following areas.
The following conditions under Punjab’s Fuel Policy have been stipulated.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
For water consent/NOC
For air consent/NOC
For authorisation of Hazardous waste
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.
Petroleum Coke (Pet Coke) is the carbonaceous solid residue remaining after the distillation of petroleum materials.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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