CAQM allows diesel generator sets in industries for two hours during Grap

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Following a meeting with industrialists in the National Capital Region (NCR), including Noida and Ghaziabad, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the agency responsible for enforcing the revamped Graduated Response Action Plan (Grap) to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR, issued revised instructions allowing the use of diesel generators (gensets) for two hours per day only at industrial and commercial purposes.

The CAQM also recommended the monitoring of stack emissions (essentially the gases released into the air from boiler stacks, stacks or DG sets after the incineration process) during the Grap period, which comes into effect on October 1, as pollution levels are expected to start rising from the fall.

Certainly, the commission of November 16, 2021 prohibited the use of DG sets except for emergency purposes, during the period that Grap is in force. On February 8, 2022, he stated that DG sets should be fitted with retrofitted emission control devices (RECDs) and converted to operate in dual fuel mode (gasoline and diesel) with piped natural gas (PNG) as the primary fuel . The commission had also ordered that any industry that has not switched to clean fuels such as PNG should not be allowed to operate.

However, in a revised order issued on Wednesday, the CAQM said DG sets that operate in dual-fuel mode will be permitted to operate for a maximum of two hours per day to meet production/technical requirements due to irregular power supply. .

“In areas where infrastructure and gas supply are not available, DG sets with a capacity of 800 kW and above may be permitted to operate only for two hours per day during the GRAP period,” the report said. revised order.

The commission said a number of industries, associations, federations and entities have approached it seeking clarification on the use of DG sets during the Grap period, as there is no procedure specification for compliance/emission testing of DG assemblies with a capacity of 800 kW or more.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), DG sets with a capacity of 800 KW and above are essentially “power plants” and it is not possible to test the effectiveness of these retrofitted emission control devices in isokinetic conditions.

Instead, the CPCB suggested setting stack emission standards for DG sets. In response to this suggestion, the CAQM has now issued guidelines regarding the stack emission of DG sets operated in industries.

“The height of the chimney must be at least six meters above the building where the DG set is installed – at least 30 meters from the ground. For example, if the height of the building where the DG sets are installed is 20 meters, the minimum stack height for the DG sets must be 30 meters from the ground,” the CAQM said.

Praveen Kumar, Regional Officer, Noida, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), said the department was working to ensure compliance and would issue fines for violations.

Manufacturers welcomed this decision, even if they expressed reservations about the cost of switching to clean fuel.

Rakesh Aneja, Chairman, Indian Industries Association, Ghaziabad, said: “This relaxation to use DG sets is valid only if the Air Quality Index (AQI) is below 300 during the Grap period. . Additionally, industries have been urged to switch to PNG fuel by September 30. We met with the members of the CAQM because there were several clauses that we were unsure of and needed clarity. The commission has set some standards now, but industries may need more time to make the switch (to clean fuel). But no extension has yet been granted.

He said the cost of converting to PNG from a 100 kVA DG set is approximately 10 lakh, and most industries have larger capacity DG sets and will incur higher expenses to make the switch.

“Such a major infrastructure change requires funds as well as time. After changing the fuel, all the machinery must also be converted to adapt to the new fuel. This can be done easily by large industries, but it is extremely difficult for small industries. There are 28,000 MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) in Ghaziabad alone,” Aneja said.

Vikrant Tongad, a Noida-based environmentalist, said: “Most of the talk about air pollution stays on paper and hardly any real action is taken as people and governments still don’t see pollution as a a real problem. Strict and regulated measures such as restrictions on industries are important and the good thing about Grap is that it is “graduated” or scaled and not a crackdown. Discussions about switching to PNG have been going on for years and industries should have taken action accordingly.

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