Innovating to achieve energy efficiency

14 Jan 2014

imageHaoliang Xu visits the award-winning steel re-rolling mill, MPK Steel in Jaipur, India, 14 December 2013. Photo: UNDP India

Companies in the highly polluting steel-rerolling sector in India are introducing measures to improve energy efficiency as a result of a partnership between UNDP and the Ministry of Steel. In doing so, they are demonstrating that the industry can become more energy efficient, more environmentally conscious and more profitable. Mr. Haoliang Xu, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director, UNDP visited one such success story in Jaipur, Rajasthan and saw first-hand how the company has innovated to improve productivity and reduce specific fuel consumption. 

Steel re-rolling mills are a crucial link in India’s steel production but are typically associated with high rates of energy consumption and inefficient resource use. It’s a picture that steel re-rolling mills are now changing, with support from the Ministry of Steel and UNDP in India. 

Since 2004, UNDP and the Ministry of Steel have partnered to introduce a range of technologies and practices in the steel re-rolling sector to achieve better than expected results. Steel re-rolling units have saved up to 25-30 percent in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions on an average by 25 percent.

Haoliang Xu, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director, UNDP visited one such unit in Jaipur, Rajasthan while on a recent visit to India. Since 2007, MPK Steel (I) Private Limited has worked closely with UNDP and the Ministry of Steel to upgrade its manufacturing unit and introduce greater energy efficiency in its operations. The unit, which employs over 200 people, introduced a slew of measures to made production processes more energy efficient.

The re-heating furnace was designed to be more efficient in resource utilization. Rolling mill operations were upgraded through introducing energy efficient technologies which were customized to meet the specific needs of MPK steel. Support was also provided to ensure that installed facilities were adequately maintained. Specialized training session focused on upgrading the skills of workers on the factory floor towards improving productivity in operations.

Efforts have paid off. Productivity has increased by over 65 percent on specific fuel consumption. Environmental benefits have followed. The company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.

Witnessing first-hand how the company registered such success, the Regional Director said, “This project demonstrates that pursuing energy efficiency works, not just for the environment, but for the bottom line of businesses.” The experience of steel re-rolling mills represents a winning solution that can be promoted in other countries in the region.”

Recalling the initial hesitation to adopt new coal technology, Manoj Upadhyay, Director, MPK Steel (I) Private Limited said, “Many of our competitors who visited the plant after we implemented pulverized coal technology have since introduced this technology and this means we are all saving more electrical energy and fuel, thereby ensuring there is more energy available for those that need it the most.”

What began as a demonstration with 30 pilot units has now been expanded to 300 units across the country. The new phase supported by the Ministry of Steel, UNDP and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is expected to save US$20–25 million in energy costs each year.