Detail of the engine deployed at the Eagle Fiber production facility in Surat, Gujarat, India

India’s unreliable electricity supplies are an additional reason – alongside cost and efficiency advantages – behind the reliance that Gujurat’s textile manufacturing industry places on engine-based CHP and trigeneration systems, report Prem S Garg and Siddhant Gupta.

Known as the diamond capital of the world and the textile capital of India, Surat is a fast growing city in the state of Gujarat. Since antiquity, its long-established textile industry has been the backbone of Surat’s local economy, sustaining its population down the generations. Every day nearly 30 million metres of raw fabric and 25 million metres of processed fabric are produced in Surat, accounting for 90% of the polyester used in India. Each year, large numbers of beautifully ornamented saris produced locally are exported from Surat to markets in the Middle East and throughout the world.

But a manufacturing centre like Surat can face devastating consequences from the interruption of its power supplies. A power cut could abruptly halt fibre production and bring the vibrant city and its manufacturing base to an immediate standstill.

In fact, this is only partially true. We would still hear the roar of power looms from some factories – such as Eagle Fiber, a subsidiary of the leading Indian textile conglomerate Eagle Group; Gujarat Polyfilms (GPPL), a joint venture between TM Patel Group and Pratibha Group, which is India’s top listed manufacturing company and produces all kinds of textiles and FMCGs; Alliance Fibres; and Alliance Filament. These last two firms are both subsidiaries under the industry-leading Khodiyar Group of Industries.

These four companies rely completely on MTU Onsite Energy gensets, powered by MTU Series 4000 engines, to free their businesses from reliance on grid power. These forward-thinking firms can therefore enjoy uninterrupted production while other businesses go quiet.

INDUSTRY CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT POWER

A consistent supply of electricity is the lifeblood of Surat’s thriving textile industry. In typical manufacturing facilities, electricity is vital for every manufacturing process, providing power for pumps, fans, conveyers, loop machines and lighting. Any power outage, even a short one, will hamper the smooth production process, triggering considerable losses across the industry.

The South India Textile Research Association estimates that a mill’s successful operation requires machinery utilization of between 97% and 98%. Losses will follow if utilization drops below 85%. As the utilization for machinery relies on an adequate supply of electricity, an uninterrupted power supply becomes imperative. When a machine breaks due to a loss in power, it takes one to two hours to restart, resulting in an immediate decrease of machinery efficiency. Moreover, modern textile mills use specialized control systems and control panels that rely on an extensive provision of electricity – which makes a loss in power substantially more damaging.

An uninterrupted power supply is also essential for quality control in fabric manufacturing. To ensure the condition of the finished product meets stringent industry standards, it is essential to maintain unvarying temperatures and humidity levels in textile mills, which hinge on reliable cooling and heating systems. Controlling the environment in mills consumes a significant amount of electricity. In addition, unfinished yarn caught in mid-production cannot be re-used and is destined for the scrap bin, adding to the already considerable build-up of losses accrued from inconsistent flow of energy.

Yet the Indian textile industry’s absolute reliance upon a stable and consistent flow of energy poses major challenges for textile manufacturers across the nation.

The industrialized state of Gujarat, which claims one of the highest per capita power consumption rates in India, faces frequent power deficits ranging from 4% to 16% throughout the year. In Surat, annual energy consumption has soared to about 44 GWh with the city’s recent exponential growth. Problems such as power failures and outrages have caused serious damage to Surat’s textile industry and continue to stunt its potential for economic progress.

SOLUTIONS ARE OUT THERE

To address such a widespread challenge, it is not surprising that Eagle Fiber, GPPL, Alliance Fibres and Alliance Filament have explored alternative power solutions. An autonomous system that can run without interruption could effectively ensure their machines and systems are never switched off during inevitable power cuts. In 2010, the four companies successively chose to turn to MTU Onsite Energy for captive power.

MTU Onsite Energy is a globally recognized brand of the Tognum Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of engines and propulsion systems. MTU Onsite Energy’s products cover applications ranging from propulsion and energy systems to gensets for emergency power, as well as cogeneration heat and power based plants based on gas engines, diesel engines and gas turbines.

In recognition of the increasing power supply-demand gap in developing nations, MTU Onsite Energy is committed to serving customers in India who require alternative energy solutions, says Steven Ng, senior manager, Gas Power Systems.

‘We entered the Indian market in May 2009,’ he said. ‘Despite our recent entry, we are well positioned to benefit local customers by leveraging our experience in rolling out genset solutions across the globe. There is a big gap in power supplies in countries like India, China and other emerging markets. Our objective is to fill the gap by supplying off-grid power or even supplying power to the grid.’

CCHP – A TAILORED, INNOVATIVE SOLUTION

After carefully evaluating customer needs, MTU Onsite Energy’s experts worked out an adaptive and innovative solution: combined cooling heat and power (CCHP) gensets.

Gensets typically consist of a generator, a heating and/or cooling system, and plant control. A combustion engine is used to power the electrical generator, while energy generated during the combustion process from the exhaust and water cooling system is converted to offer cooling and heating.

But end-users often have unique demands for their power systems and MTU Onsite Energy has developed tailored CCHP solutions accordingly.

‘All units were built in the manufacturing plant in Germany, outfitted with tailored designs to cater to different power, heating and cooling requirements, with the maximum utilization of resources,’ said Ng.

Both Eagle Fiber and GPPL requested up to 2 MW of independent power support. Based on their requirements, MTU Onsite Energy customized a series 4000 20V L62 (Robust Version) unit to support a 450 tonne refrigeration (TR) chilling load.

Eagle Fiber also attached great importance to exercising precise control over heating and cooling functions, so the engine was equipped with diverter dampers modulated by control systems to keep the heating and cooling at a desired temperature. Eagle Fiber is the first trigeneration plant of its kind in India to achieve the highest efficiency by using power, heating and cooling from MTU Onsite Energy Gas gensets.

One of two engines used at the Alliance Fibres facility

Alliance Filament needed more power output – up to 3 MW. Two Series 4000 16V L62 (Robust Version) genset engines were deployed and each carried a heating load of 150 kW and a cooling load of 380 TR. As Alliance Filament’s production requires accurate temperature control, a modulating type control was installed in each engine to ensure the heating and cooling required for the process were effectively regulated. The two units also run in parallel with one another, which means the two engines share the total factory load and each genset can act as an adequate backup during routine maintenance.

Alliance Fibres required only 1 MW of electricity output plus 260 TR of cooling capacity, so a Series 4000 12V L62 genset engine was installed for its requirements.

PRECISE TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Thermal fluid heating systems are deployed in the units that facilitate energy delivery through thermic fluid. The exhaust is harnessed to a thermic fluid heater, which is used to provide the required amount of heating throughout the process. MTU Onsite Energy’s heating technology manages to retain and produce heat at an ideal temperature of 260°C, allowing users to be able to generate a stable, constant level of heat for their mills.

With regard to the cooling process, each genset is integrated with a direct exhaust, as well as a jacket water absorption chiller. The heat generated from waste is converted by the absorption chiller to produce chilled water at between 7°C and 12°C. The chilled water is used for cooling, which is particularly useful for processes that are heavily dependent on air conditioning.

GENSET QUALITY IS CRITICAL – SO IS AFTER-SALES SERVICE

A local presence is critical to responding swiftly to end-users’ questions and problems. For MTU, this is achieved via partnering with Bangalore-based MaxWatt Energy Systems.

By signing operation and maintenance contracts with MaxWatt Energy, customers can enjoy excellent after-sales services. MaxWatt Energy has assigned a dedicated local team of 30 people to conduct regular maintenance and to fix problems promptly. MaxWatt Energy and MTU Onsite Energy aim to stock enough spare parts to respond quickly to customer requests. In addition, the availability of 24-hour support from MTU minimizes any risk of downtime.

Founded in 2009, MaxWatt Energy Systems has many years of experience with gas-based cogeneration and power generation solutions. The company is backed by an internationally accepted and well-known team with decades of experience in the gas power business.

MTU Onsite Energy has implemented a prudent dealership management system that evaluates various factors before a partnership is initiated, including experience with gas engines, resources available (manpower and investment for tools and spare parts), an extensive network (ability to service end-users across India) and a technically proficient engineering team. MaxWatt Energy met the criteria necessary to achieve an excellent level of service and was therefore carefully chosen for this partnership.

To ensure all services that MaxWatt Energy provides meet the Tognum standard, its service team is invited for regular training sessions at MTU’s headquarters in Germany and Singapore to equip dealers with essential technical knowledge required for servicing customers’ needs. The extensive training is comprised of theoretical and practical courses, as well as a testing scenario. The courses offered include training about engine control systems, generators, engine adjustments, maintenance tasks, calibrations and replacing components.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Eagle Fiber was the first company to place an order with MTU Onsite Energy for gas gensets. The gensets’ superior performance convinced the company’s representatives to refer them to the other three firms, which demonstrates the high user satisfaction achieved by MTU’s generators.

What specifically makes users appreciate MTU’s products? Most importantly, the robustness and reliability exhibited by Series 4000 genset units has fully exceeded customer expectations, according to Amit Jaju, Eagle Fiber’s managing director. ‘We were in need of a captive decentralized power plant that was reliable and consisted of a single engine to operate without grid back-up on a stand-alone basis,’ he said.

‘We selected the MTU Onsite Energy Series 4000 gas engine technology based on three key factors: reliability, availability and continuous uninterrupted power generation with high efficiency.’

All the gensets are deployed to generate power to run their factory’s equipment. For such operations, one of the most important factors is the load steps of gas gensets, said Steven Ng.

‘MTU Onsite Energy gas gensets have better load steps compared with our peers in this aspect. The customers are able to run the gensets continuously without shutdowns,’ he said.

‘For example, the first genset delivered to Eagle Fiber has been running for over 6700 consecutive hours and the availability of our genset proved to be very high.’ In addition, MTU’s gas gensets are designed especially for tropical conditions, taking into consideration high ambient temperatures and humidity – production should be unaffected even if temperatures reach 45°C.

VB Shah, managing director of Alliance Fibres and Alliance Filaments, said his firm picked MTU’s gensets as they could safeguard steady manufacturing.

‘We were operating our continuous process plants but were in need of energy flexibility and reliability for our operations at our Alliance Fibres facility,’ he said.

‘Although it was difficult to make a selection as there are quite a few brands on the market, we zeroed in on the MTU Onsite Energy Series 4000 gas engine technology for both our Filaments and Fibres facilities. The power provided guaranteed a smooth manufacturing process and an adequate production output necessary to meet the market demand, as well as a timely delivery.’

Moreover, the high efficiency of MTU’s gensets offers customers high cost savings, considerably bringing down the overall costs of owning these gensets, said Amit Jaju. ‘We are currently operating our CCHPs in trigeneration mode while operating at 80% to 85% efficiency,’ he said.

MTU cogeneration systems can save customers such as Eagle Fibers almost US$300,000 each year from the cost of relying on utilities for power. Installing gensets cuts spending on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50%.

While more and more manufacturers in India and across Asia have realized the advantages of employing independent power solutions, MTU Onsite Energy, together with its local partner MaxWatt Energy, is ready to supply MTU Onsite Energy’s cutting-edge gas system, as well as a multitude of optional peripherals ranging from exhaust heat recovery systems, cooling systems, acoustic damping enclosures, emergency coolers, heat exchangers and exhaust mufflers.

Prem S Garg is the Chief Executive of MaxWatt Energy Systems, Bangalore, India. Siddhant Gupta is a Sales Engineer with Tognum Asia, Singapore.

For Tognum Asia please contact Vanessa Lim at vanessa.lim@tognum.com

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