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BALCO Trials the Use of Biodiesel in Its Aluminum Smelting Operations

© by Vedanta

Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), a subsidiary of Vedanta Aluminium, successfully conducted trial runs for using biodiesel in its smelter operations in Korba, Chhattisgarh, India. 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.

Biodiesel is a form of fuel derived from organic matter, which produces significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when burned compared to conventional, non-renewable fuels. it also supports farmers by providing additional income. Currently, Vedanta utilizes 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.

In the pilot test, BALCO used biodiesel for preheating ladle vehicles that carry molten aluminum. These ladles transfer the hot metal in its molten state from its potlines to its casthouses for processing into cast products. The preheating process is crucial for removing any trace of moisture from the ladle, thus maintaining the purity and temperature of the metal during its transportation to the casthouses.

Energy conservation and increase in adoption of green fuels form the two most important pillars of BALCO’s journey of decarbonization. “BALCO is undertaking robust initiatives towards decarbonization, such as innovating upon existing processes to increase energy savings and reduce GHG emissions,” said Abhijit Pati, CEO and director of BALCO. “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.”

BALCO is 51% owned by Vedanta Limited and 49% owned by the government of India. In addition to its 570,000 tpy aluminum smelter in Korba. It is also a leader in value-added aluminum products used in critical applications in core industries. With its aluminum smelter and power plants, the company works to fulfill its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminum as the “Metal of the Future” for a greener tomorrow.

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