Vedanta BALCO successfully tests biodiesel as green fuel alternative for its aluminium smelter

New Delhi; 2nd November, 2022: Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), India’s iconic aluminium producer and a subsidiary of Vedanta Aluminium, has successfully conducted trial runs for using biodiesel in smelter operations. In the pilot test, the company used biodiesel for preheating molten metal (aluminium) carrying vehicles, called ‘ladles’, which transfer the hot metal in its molten state from its potlines to cast houses. A potline is a long building, or collection of buildings, located in a smelter and contains a series of ‘pots’, or large electrolytic cells, in which aluminium smelting is carried out. The preheating process is extremely crucial for removing any trace of moisture from the ladle. This is important for maintaining the purity and temperature of the metal during its transportation to cast houses, where the molten aluminium is converted into various finished products.

Biodiesel is a form of fuel derived from organic matter which, when burned, produces significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional, non-renewable fuels, besides aiding in farmers’ income. This is in line with the company’s ambitious target to become Net Zero Carbon by 2050 or sooner. Towards this end, BALCO is looking at increasing the quantum of renewables in its energy mix through various sources of green fuels, such as renewable energy, biomass, biodiesel, etc. For example, the company is currently utilizing 40-50 tonnes of biomass briquettes per day at its power plants and has plans to further increase the quantum of biomass consumption to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel.

Energy conservation and increase in adoption of green fuels form the two most important pillars of BALCO’s journey of decarbonization. In FY 2022, through various energy conservation initiatives, BALCO has conserved nearly 22,000 GJ of energy. With endeavours such as these, BALCO is taking significant strides towards contributing to Vedanta’s aim to become Net Zero Carbon by 2050 or sooner.

Speaking about BALCO’s commitment towards decarbonizing its operations in the long term, Mr. Abhijit Pati, CEO & Director, BALCO, said, “BALCO is undertaking robust initiatives towards decarbonization, such as innovating upon existing processes to increase energy savings and reduce GHG emissions. The successful pilot trial of biodiesel applications at our smelter encourages us to remain attuned to emerging technologies for reducing our carbon footprint. With excellence in Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) central to how we operate, BALCO continues to proactively work towards bringing together business growth and environmental protection for sustainable socio-economic development.”

Testimony to its manufacturing excellence, BALCO has been conferred with the prestigious IMC RBNQ Milestone Merits Recognition 2021 award. The company has also received the distinguished National Energy Leaders Awards 2022 in Metal Sector at the CII 23rd National Award for Excellence in Energy Management, and has been recognized as an Excellent Energy Efficient Unit for third time in a row by CII.

Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) is India’s iconic aluminium producer. It is owned 49% by the Government of India and 51% by Vedanta Limited. BALCO is part of Vedanta’s Aluminium Business, a division of Vedanta Limited, which is India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium. BALCO operates a 0.57 million tonne per annum aluminium smelter in Korba, Chhattisgarh. It is also a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. With its world-class smelter and power plants, the company fulfills its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.

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