Pollution

Tightening emission standards for ‘baby’ boilers: A much awaited step

A majority of boilers in industries in Delhi-NCR are baby boilers

 
By Shreya Verma
Published: Wednesday 06 July 2022
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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) June 27, 2022 revised the particulate matter emission standards for ‘baby’ industrial boilers — capacity less than two tonnes per hour. The emission limit was reduced to 500 milligrams per cubic metre from 1,200 mg / NM3. 

A majority of the boilers in the industrial clusters of Delhi-NCR, covering Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are baby boilers, according to a 2020 study by the Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). 

There are 890 boilers installed in the six districts covered in the study — Alwar (63), Bhiwadi (111), Ghaziabad (140), Faridabad (132), Gurugram (69), Panipat (163) and Sonipat (212). As many as 306 of these are baby boilers,  mostly in the textile clusters of Panipat and Ghaziabad, according to the findings of Assessment of industrial air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Boiler capacity and quantity

Boiler Cap /Districts

Alwar 

Bhiwadi

Ghaziabad 

Faridabad* 

Gurugram* 

Panipat 

Sonipat*

Total

< 2TPH

44

53

102

54

 

53

 

306

2-<10 TPH

8

48

24

65

 

98

 

243

10-<15 TPH

5

7

4

8

 

7

 

31

>15 TPH

6

3

10

5

 

5

 

29

 

63

111

140

132

69

163

212

 

Source: Sate Pollution Control Boards

Boilers in Gurugram and Sonipat couldn’t be categorised due to lack of data, the authors noted. 

A significant number of small boilers are installed in industries. It is important to regulate and control emissions at these units because installing continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) and air pollution control devices is not economically feasible. 

Therefore, to control emission from small boilers and make them move towards cleaner fuel and technology options and practices, stringent emission norms were imperative.

The emission norms for such boilers, however, was quite relaxed compared to that for big boilers installed in the organised sector. Thus, industries with small boilers were given huge margins to pollute the environment. 

CPCB also reduced the emission limits for boilers with higher capacities as well. 

Emission standard for combustion in Boilers

OLD PM EMISSION STANDARD

NEW REVISED PM EMISSION STANDARD

Boiler Capacity

Old PM Standard

Boiler Capacity

 

Less than 2

1200 mg/NM3

Less than 2

500 mg/NM3

2 to less than 10

800 mg/NM3

2 to less than 10

150 mg/NM3

10 to less than 15

600 mg/NM3

10 and above

50 mg/ NM3

15 and above

150 mg/NM3

   

These standards are for industrial boilers using coal / lignite, pet coke, bagasse / agro-fuels, and FO / LDO / LSHS, and boilers of bagasse / agro-fuels based power plants. Whereas, for boilers of coal / lignite-based power plants the emission standards notified for thermal power plants vide notification dated December 7, 2015 shall be applicable.

In addition, the CPCB notification also mandated that industries with boilers of 10 TPH or higher capacity should install CEMS at process stacks for particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Back in 2020, to overcome the emission issues related to small / baby boilers, CSE had recommended following steps in the report:

Need for stringent emission norms for baby boilers: The current emission norms for small boilers are quite relaxed and these need to be made stringent to push industries with small boilers towards cleaner combustion options.

Lack of cleaner fuel policy: Lack of a clear fuel policy in the NCR states was highlighted. Most recently, the notification banning coal in the whole of NCR from January 1, 2023 has finally brought in a unanimity in the cleaner fuel policy for Delhi NCR.  

Common boiler facility for industrial sectors: It was emphasised in the report that installation of a centralised steam generation system should be explored. This will help in improving the efficiency of the system and indirectly reduce fuel consumption in the industrial areas. 

It would also make it much easier to monitor a few centralised steam generation units, rather than a large number of baby boilers located in small industries.

After CSE’s recommendation for installation of a common boiler facility for small boiler clusters, an initiative to install a common boiler has been taken up by the Haryana Pollution Control Board in Panipat and the process of land allotment for the common boiler has also been initiated. A similar initiative is under process at Tarapur, Maharashtra.

“Making the emission norms for baby boilers stringent is a much-awaited and welcome move and has been advocated by CSE since 2020,” said Parth Kumar, programme manager, CSE. 

This strengthening of norms will push industrial units using small and inefficient boilers towards adaptation of cleaner fuel as well as cleaner and efficient common combustion facilities, he added. This will bring down the burden on regulators as well as industries and reduce industrial air pollution substantially, the expert said.

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