Pet-coke Current Affairs

Government bans pet coke import for fuel use

Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry has banned import of petcoke for use as fuel. But it has allowed its import of only for use as feedstock in some select industries such as cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification industries. These industries were earlier affected by petcoke-related policy flip-flops, which began after Supreme Court judgment (October 2017) banning use its in and around New Delhi to curb pollution.

Key Facts

India is the world’s biggest consumer of petcoke. It gets over half its annual petcoke imports of around 27 million tonnes from United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp.  It is dark solid carbon material. Cement companies in India account for about three-fourths of country’s petcoke use. Usage of pet coke in energy-hungry India recently had come under scrutiny due to rising pollution levels in major cities.

Petcoke (Petroleum coke)

It is one of the many industrial byproducts produced during oil refining. It is categorized as bottom of the barrel fuel as it is residual waste material which is obtained after refining coal to extract lighter fuels like petrol. It is used as a source of energy and carbon for various industrial applications. It is abundantly used in India in several manufacturing industries such as cement, steel and textile as it is significantly cheaper that coal, has high calorific value and is easier to transport and store. There are two kinds of pet coke produced viz. Fuel grade pet coke (80%) and calcined pet coke (20%) during oil refining.

Environment and Health Hazards of Pet Coke

Petcoke is much more potent pollutant than coal and causes greater harm to the environment and health. It contains whopping 74,000 PPM of sulphur content which is released into atmosphere as emissions which is much higher than vehicular emissions. It is also source of fine dust, which can get through filtering process of human airway and lodge in lungs which can cause serious health problems. Apart from sulphur, petcoke also releases cocktail of other toxic gases after burning such as nitrous oxide, mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, hydrogen chloride and greenhouse gases (GHG) which contribute to global warming.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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SC bans dirty pet-coke, furnace oil in Haryana, Rajasthan, UP

The Supreme Court banned use of pet-coke and dirty furnace oil in Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh from November 1, 2017 in a bid to reduce air pollution in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).

The apex court bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was hearing on PIL filed in 1985 by environmentalist M.C. Mehta who had raised the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR.

Pet coke and furnace oil has been already banned in Delhi since 1996 as they have been blamed for releasing deadly sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NO) fumes into air and polluting air.

Key Facts

SC order comes in response to recommendations of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) which in its 72nd report had identified these two fuels as major source of pollution in NCR. It had found that Pet coke emissions are estimated at 72,000 ppm and that from furnace oil at 23,000 ppm.

The apex court also slapped Rs. 2 lakh fine on Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for failing to come up with emission norms governing 35 hazardous industries such as fertilisers and manufacturing of nitric acid. It also has directed MoEFCC to notify standards for NOx and SOx for industry sector and industry has to comply with standards by December 31, 2017.

Significance of SC directive

It eliminates dirtiest industrial fuels in these three states surrounding Delhi and NCR region. It also mandates first ever stringent NOx and SOx standards for industry sector nationwide. It also eliminates in one stroke use of dirtiest bottom of barrel fuels from industrial units of neighbouring states and makes all industrial units across country liable for compliance with new emissions standards by December 31, 2017. This order will also have nationwide impact as entire industrial sector will have to comply with new standards for SOx and NOx that are not regulated currently in India.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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