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Thermax successfully commissions Asia’s largest energy plant for Greenply industries limited.

Thermax supports ITC’s green initiative by offering 100% biomass-fired boiler ensuring cost saving up to 45%

Plywood Industry Reference case

Thermax successfully commissions Asia’s largest energy plant for Greenply industries limited.

Greenply Industries Limited is one of the leading interior infrastructure
manufacturing companies in India and is primarily engaged in manufacturing,
marketing, distribution of Plywood and Medium Density Fiber (MDF) Boards.
The wood industry major has been associated with Thermax Limited for
heating solutions for many years.

In the year 2009, Thermax commissioned 50 MW Energy Plant in their
Uttarakhand plant, which was the first engineered solution by Thermax
supplying energy to multiple processes from a single energy efficient system.

Reinforcing a decade-long association with Greenply, In March 2018 Thermax
has successfully commissioned the second energy plant of 97 MW. This plant
is installed at Greenply’s state of the manufacturing facility for MDF board
located at Chittoor, AP, India. It has an annual capacity of 3, 60,000 CBM
and is the largest MDF plant in Asia and the fifth largest plant in the world.

MDF is made by breaking down wood into fibers which are again combined
with adhesives and the end product is formed into panels by applying heat and
pressure. MDF boards are increasingly popular in many parts of the world for
furnishing offices, schools and homes. Our esteemed customer is one of the
market leader in India and have trusted Thermax for their expansion projects.

Project Details

Medium Density Fiber Boards are manufactured from agro plantation wood such as Eucalyptus, Subabul, Casurina etc. Wood logs are chipped and sent to a size separator (screen) where undersize wood chips are separated and reject is used as the fuel in the Energy plant. Then sized wood chips are sent to the Refiner where it is cooked with steam and converted into fibers. The produced fibers are mixed with appropriate resin and passed through the directly heated dryer. Flue gas from the energy plant is blended with ambient air so as to maintain a consistent temperature of hot gas required in the dryer. The dried fibers with appropriate moisture content then pass through a sifter, forming a line and feed to hot press (continuous press) to manufacture required thickness MDF board.

The heat required for the press is supplied in the form of hot thermal oil from the thermal oil heater at Energy Plant. MDF board from the press is further then sent to trimming and sanding system to get the boards of required size with smooth and even surface. The trim waste and sander dust generated in this process are used as fuel for Energy Plant.

3.6Mn capacity MDF Process as Chittoor plant had following heat requirements from Energy Plant. 50 MW for Hot gas at 350 deg C. 32 MW for Steam at 15 kg/cm2 (g) pressure and 15 MW for Thermal Oil at 290 deg C

Total thermal heat output of 97 MW with a solution on a turnkey with engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning. Highest efficiency, lower emission, higher availability, automated control and safety systems were the prime criteria for selection of a supplier for Energy Plant system. Energy plant system should have flexibility in terms of fuel and load modulation/control.

The solution provided by Thermax

The challenge was to design largest capacity Energy Plant of 97 MW capacity and it should have fuel flexibility, highest efficiency, lower emission, higher uptime, automated control and safety systems for emergency situations.

The critical components of Energy plant system such as combustor, pressure parts, emission control equipment and control system were designed keeping in mind the above requirements. Some of the features are illustrated below


Energy plant was required to be designed for multiple fuels like woodchips, Indonesian coal along with process waste chips and sander dust. Traveling grate as combustor was best- suited system and sander dust fired with the burner at a secondary level.

The system had refractory line separate combustor without any heat absorption surface which made the system highly flexible.

Flue gas generated in the combustor is controlled at 900 deg C and further distributed to three independent system viz. boiler, heater, and hot gas generator.

Pressure Part

Heat recovery was entirely done with flue gas mass hence it required a high amount of heat transfer surface area. Membrane panel assembly in the radiation area reduces flue gas temperature before entering into the convection section thus increase availability of the system. A cross-flow configuration convection section helps to get an optimum area. An online soot cleaning system gives better uptime of the system.

Both boiler and thermal oil heater had independent induced draft fan control for steady control on load, higher turndown for the system.

Emission control device

A typically old Energy plant system had dust cyclone which has a limitation in terms of high power consumption of main induced draft fan, frequent cleaning because of choking and higher emission. Thermax had to offer A Electrostatic Precipitator as emission control to address all issues of the cyclone.

Overall it was one of its kind and the innovative solution given by any energy plant supplier and was well appreciated by Greenply.

Safety features

Safety is always a prime criterion while designing any system; one has critically studied the emergency situation that can arise during operation of the system. Experience always plays a major role here.

Thermax’s Energy Plant offers high safety standard, and some of them are:

  • Emergency stack to avoid over-pressurization of the furnace
  • Thermal oil emergency cooler to safeguard the fluid
  • Auto-vent valve for the boiler to a safe start and stop of the system.
Impact created

Thermax’s 97 MW Energy plant has created history in MDF industry with the revolutionary one of its kind energy efficient and environment- friendly system.

Thermax Energy plant utilizes almost all wood waste generated from the process as the fuel thus reduces consumption of fresh wood making it environment-friendly. It assures the highest thermal efficiency of 94% which is a benchmark in the solid fuel-fired systems thus ensures the lowest operating cost.

While catering to varying load fluctuations it has to turn down ratio almost to the tune of 1:5. Independent control of each stream makes the system more flexible.

Our pollution control devise Electrostatic precipitator (ESP) gives lowest emission as compared to conventional systems.

The plant has the highest availability which makes it most economical compared to other competitors.

Thermax’s EP offers a completely automated system with highest safety standards with various emergency controls in thermal oil, steam and hot gas.

Thermax is committed to give the best solutions to our customers, time and again have proven the metal with cutting-edge technology solutions which are energy efficient and cost effective.

Food Processing Industry Reference case
Thermax supports ITC’s green initiative by offering 100% biomass-fired boiler ensuring cost saving up to 45%

Thermax is committed to ‘Conserving energy and preserving the environment’, two areas vital for the world. We support business establishments to be more energy efficient and environment-friendly.

Our legacy is enriched with the green effect projects for which we are the first choice for some of the global brands in the word. ITC Group which holds a market capitalization of 50 billion USD with a turnover of 8 billion USD crediting to their robust portfolio of traditional and Greenfield businesses is one such esteemed business alliance for Thermax process heating solutions.

The multi-business conglomerate encompasses various manufacturing plants across India and one of them is at Ranjangaon, Pune MH. This food production unit manufactures instant noodles and potato chips. A heating system is the heart of any food processing unit and ITC group partnered with Thermax for a robust heating system. ITC group’s association with Thermax was cemented with the commitment to supply a heating system to fulfill their steam requirement for which three FO (Furnace oil) fired boilers were commissioned for the same.

Project Insights

In 2012 ITC was looking for expansion and was keen to have a greener, cost-effective fuel, they decided to go for 100% biomass briquettes fired boiler from Thermax. There were three main criteria’s for this project –

  1. Uninterrupted steam supply,
  2. fast response to fluctuating load
  3. high efficiency.

As ITC was keen to have 100% biomass-fired unit the biggest challenge was maintaining steam-fuel ratio as the calorific value of fuel i.e. biomass briquettes changes drastically due to the variation in moisture content, bulk density, ingredients of briquettes etc. Thermax understood customer’s requirement and proposed a fully automatic CPRG (Combipac Reciprocating Grate) boiler with automatic fuel feeding system, air pre-heater, and economizer to ensure best in class efficiency with suitable pollution control equipment.

Innovative solution by Thermax

The solution provided by Thermax – CPRG (Combipac reciprocating grate) boiler which can provide 14000 kg per hour steam for high-pressure steam requirements in chips and noodles frying process. The boiler is designed to respond to sudden load changes which are typical for food processing industry. Thermax has proposed boiler with a unique offering of “moving floor” which saves space and has automatic fuel level controller. From the moving floor, the fuel is then sent to fully automatic fuel feeding system comprising of dosing bin and multi screw fuel feeder. To ensure steam to fuel ratio of 5.0 Thermax has offered Lambion Reciprocating grate technology. Thermax has technology tie-up with Lambion who has over 100 years of experience in biomass firing solutions.

Reciprocating grate

Reciprocating Grate utilizes successive oscillation of grate linkage for the continuous movement of fuel; alternate movement of grate blocks pushes the fuel in the distinct combustion zones of a grate. This gives toppling action to the fuel particle and hence ensures complete combustion. This grate offers progressive combustion with distinct combustion zones. Relative motion between fuel bed and grate helps to deal with poor fuels up to 60% moisture content.

Energy efficient and low emission operation

High efficiency is an important aspect of achieving an energy efficient operation process of the chips and noodles frying process. Thermax offers both air pre heater to preheat the combustion air up to 150°C and economizer ensuring the water is preheated up to 120° C. CPRG offers advantages like 100% combustion, highest uptime and efficiency and low emission. Thus the fuel consumption during steam generation is reduced drastically, and hence compared to FO fired boilers the fuel cost saving is 45%*

Positive impact

The flue gas exit temperature is at 100-120° C. The boiler achieves SFR of 5 and ash percentage is as low as 14-15%. The SPM level is as low as 28 ppm. In order to achieve optimum fuel consumption, an O2 controller is integrated into the plant. An oxygen probe measures oxygen continuously and compensates changes in air temperature and air pressure automatically. This optimizes the efficiency of the boiler and reduces the negative environmental impact at the same time.

Continues automation and reliability

The high degree of automation in the steam boiler plant provides comfort and safety to the boiler operator who can see complete process of the boiler from a system linked computer screen. The controller can also manage the equipment and other parameters like fuel feeding, feed water section, combustion manager, and flue gas section, making the boiler unit an automated, timely and reliable solution. This makes the entire plant operation automated and the process can be managed by limited no of people.

The result

The Adaptation of an efficient boiler system from Thermax and the change in fuel from FO (furnace oil) to biomass briquettes helped ITC to save fuel cost by 45%*. The PLC (programmable logic controller) system continuously monitors the performance of boiler thus ensuring safety and optimum performance. The proven construction of combipac together with appropriate plant equipment and reciprocating grate technology ensures continuous and high steam quality for chips and noodles frying process. Thermax’s service team ensures optimum plant settings, a constantly high efficiency, very low emission and longer life of the entire plant with their regular maintenance services.

Note: Numbers mentioned with an asterisk signs (*) will vary depending on FO pricing

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