The 16th edition of the PaperTech conference was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on September 19 and 20.
Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) jointly organised PaperTech 2022 conference at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from September 19 to September 20, 2022. Themed ‘Make Indian Pulp & Paper Industry World Class’, the 16th edition of PaperTech witnessed the participation of many stalwarts of the industry. With technical presentations, knowledge-sharing sessions, panel discussions and technical exposition, the conference was aimed at drawing a roadmap for a world-class industry.
The conference kick-started with the inaugural session addressed by key dignitaries – Mr. Ganesh Bhadti, Chairman, PaperTech 2022 and Director (Operations) Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd., Mr. Anil Kumar, Former Executive Director & CEO, Shreyans Industries Ltd., Dr. Ashok Kumar, Executive Director, Pudumjee Paper Products Ltd., Mr. Vadiraj Kulkarni, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Ltd. (PSPD) and Mr. A S Mehta, President, IPMA & President & Director, JK Paper Ltd.
Mr. Ganesh Bhadti, Chairman, PaperTech 2022 and Director (Operations) Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd. set the tone for the proceedings and said, “The industry is highly fragmented and diversified. Even though it is using water and energy to a large extent, a lot of technologies are now coming up to address these issues and help us for the sustainability of the paper industry. If we look at the demand drivers, there are significant factors like rising income and per capita expenditure. The literacy level is going up and the government has taken initiatives to ban plastic. There is a good future for the paper industry but at the same time, we are facing a lot of challenges due to the recent pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The energy cost has increased up to three times. The price is rising every day. In this situation, there is a need to switch over and globally, we have targets to achieve net zero emissions. Owing to the commitments at the national as well as the global level for the same, there will be an increase in renewable energy (bioenergy, solar, wind, etc.). In spite of the crisis, all the trends show that there will be a growth of about 16 percent in the paper industry in this net-zero period (by 2030)”.
Talking about the sustainability journey of the paper industry,
Mr. Anil Kumar, Former Executive Director & CEO, Shreyans Industries Ltd. added, “India is now like the fifth largest producer of paper. As far as energy consumption is concerned, there were two things. One was the efforts made by the management and the technologies available. The second was the compulsion part. Once the energy became expensive, mills and management had no options but to conserve energy to be more efficient. From 15-1600 kWh per tonne of paper, the energy is around 700 kWh today; the water consumption has now reduced from 250 m3 to about 30-40 m3 per tonne of paper. Meanwhile, steam consumption has also reduced from 12 tonnes to 7 tonnes per tonne of paper. Although the journey is good, the only thing is that a larger number of mills have to come on board to share these figures. There is no lack of technology as far as the environment is concerned. Moreover, the technologies are not only technically sound but also economically viable. Also, most of our fuels are biofuels and the used water goes for either plantation of trees or growing crops.”
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Dr. Ashok Kumar, Executive Director, Pudumjee Paper Products Ltd. discussed, in brief, the journey of the paper industry in India, energy-efficient technologies, and emphasised supply chain collaboration. “We have many challenges, but still the biggest challenge remains the raw material; be it wood, bagasse, wheat straw, or waste paper, enough quantity is not available within the area where we are operating. So I think the mills should put a lot of effort into the raw materials like checking the quality of wood and working closely with the converters and brand owners. At the same time, the mill owners should take care of their people as well.”
Mr. Vadiraj Kulkarni, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Ltd. (PSPD) added, “We need to set up capacities that can be consumed and not ahead of demand. Being world-class is not just about technology or machine because each of these requires a lot of capital investments. They have to raise those investments and also deliver returns for a long period of time. According to me, we should define what world-class is, in our own capacities and then aim to become more competitive. Our machine capacities have been going up, which is good because the fixed costs come down, and energy and water efficiencies go up. A lot of new technologies in the power plant have also come up”. Elaborating on technology, he said “I would classify technology in three parts. One is on core technology for pulp, paper & energy making, emerging digital technologies, and emerging energy technologies.”
Talking about some of the energy-efficient initiatives of ITC, he said, “We have installed some windmills close to its facilities. We have also set up onsite solar plants and we have recently commissioned higher efficiency recovery boilers, instead of solar recovery boilers, which operated at much higher temperatures and pressure. They cost a lot because these are all European technologies, but they’re going to significantly reduce coal consumption. With this, the coal consumption in the next year would significantly come down to 15 percent.”
Discussing the concept of being world-class, Mr. A S Mehta, President, IPMA & President & Director, JK Paper Ltd. said, “We don’t have thinking of a world-class industry. Most of the time, when we talk about the world-class, immediately we start thinking about the technology; the word class thought process or customer centricity in our industry is almost zero. How do we become world-class if we are not customer-centric? So we need to think about this and we need to start practicing accordingly. There only, our roadmap for the world-class paper industry will start. The beginning should be customer centricity and the technology comes at the end. The customers’ expectations should be met by the technology. In this connected world, if we don’t start thinking about the other stakeholders, we’ll be still missing the theme of being world-class.”
The inaugural session was followed by Session I on Cogeneration & Steam Systems which had Dr. Bipin Thapliyal, Secretary General, IARPMA, Mr. Rajnikanth, AGM Solution Sales (Process Industry) Armstrong International, Lt. Col. Monish Ahuja, Chairman & Managing Director, Punjab Renewable Energy Systems, Pvt. Ltd. (PRESPL), Dr. Sunil Kumar, Principal Scientist, CSIR Indian Institute of Petroleum, Mr. Vaibhav Girdhar, Senior Counsellor, CII – Godrej GBC as panellists.
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The first session was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Decarbonisation Roadmap and Role of ESG for the Indian Pulp & Paper Sector’ and ‘The Latest Technological Advancements in the Pulp & Paper Industry’ subsequently.
The second day of the conference also had similar sessions wherein topics such as resource efficiency in small & medium paper mills, environment management, energy-saving & productivity improvement opportunities, and best operating practices were discussed.