CII seeks nod for use of very low sulphur fuel in industries

With the government directing industries to discontinue the use of furnace oil and petcoke, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has requested the department of environment to permit the use of very low sulphur furnace oil (VLSFO). CII–Goa state council met with environment minister Nilesh Cabral and submitted a memorandum asking for VLSFO to be included in the list of approved fuels.

The state government issued a notification on December 30 last year stating that from July 1, furnace oil and petcoke will be discontinued as fuels.

Many industrial units in Goa use furnace oil as fuel to generate captive power of 1MW to 6MW in order to ensure uninterrupted power supply. These firms include Mandovi Pellets, Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd, Binani Fibre Glass and MRF.

With furnace oil and petcoke being discontinued, these industrial units will have to introduce new power machinery or turn to other fuels such as natural gas. CII pointed out that natural gas is not an economically viable option for furnace oil-based engines above 1MW capacity and that the time required to change the boilers, engines and other equipment would be close to two years.

“As a premier industry body in the country and responsible towards charting the industry’s growth, CII is for pollution abatement and environmental conservation, and hence endorses the discontinuation of furnace oil and petcoke and expects the industry to comply through discontinuation of use of heavy fuel oils. But, we are also concerned about the industry requirements and feasibility to do so, and hence suggest the most effective solution of switching to an alternate fuel namely very low sulphur furnace oil,” said CII-Goa vice-chairman Atul Jadhav.

The sulphur content in VLSFO is 0.5% by weight as against 1% and 1.5% in the case of low-sulphur heavy stock and light diesel oil respectively. The directorate of shipping has already issued directions to use VLSFO for marine use. The oil marketing companies have shown willingness to supply VLSFO, but on the condition that the Goa government permits the use of the fuel.

CII has made a similar appeal to the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) and the department of environment to consider VLSFO as an alternative to the existing fuels.

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