JSW Cement has joined hands with Wagners to produce geopolymer cement concrete.
Here’s a concrete bond that’s got the industry abuzz. On October 24, 2016, Parth Jindal, Managing Director, JSW Cement, announced in Mumbai that the company has joined hands with Australian company Wagners for geopolymer cement concrete. JSW Cement will have a 74 per cent stake while Wagner will own 26 per cent in the JV.
The perfect match
The JSW Group, a conglomerate with a turnover of $11 billion, supplies 13 per cent of India’s steel, and JSW Energy operates 4,531 MW of power generation capacity with a vision to achieve 10,000 MW by 2020. Naturally, a group engaged in the power and steel business generates fly-ash and slag as by-products, which are crucial raw materials for geopolymer concrete.
A family-owned business established in 1989 in Toowoomba, Queensland, by Henry, John, Denis, Neill, and Joe Wagner, Wagners has three trading divisions: Wagners Concrete, Quarries and Transport. From the initial trading divisions, the company rapidly expanded to include cement, fly-ash and lime, reinforcing steel, on-site concrete supply, contract crushing and bulk transport, as well as lightweight composite fibre products. Today, Wagners is one of Queensland’s largest privately-owned construction materials and mining services companies; in 2009, it was acknowledged by the Premier of Queensland at the Smart Business Awards as the company that had made the most significant impact on regional Queensland in the state’s 150-year history.
Product and properties
To understand the importance of this JV, we must first understand the significance of geopolymer concrete. These mineral compounds, prepared through geopolymerisation, are formed at room temperature by the use of industrial waste or with the help of by-products of other compounds. These eco-friendly materials are increasingly being used in various construction and industrial applications by organisations and institutions actively seeking to reduce the carbon footprint, without much compromise in performance. The most striking aspect of the product is that it does not use either limestone or coal from Mother Earth.
The global geopolymer market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.73 per cent over the period 2015-2019. India will not be an exception, keeping in mind we are a signatory to the COP21 agreement. Some key multinational players supplying geopolymer cement concrete are BASF, CORNING, Dow Chemicals, Nu-core, Schlumberger and Wagner Global.
The product offered through the JSW-Wagners JV is Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) concrete, which uses no ordinary Portland cement. Instead, it uses a geopolymer binder system made from the chemical activation of two industrial waste by-products: Blast furnace slag and fly-ash.
This alternative eco-friendly binder technology reduces the carbon emissions associated with normal Portland cement by 80-90 per cent and has a much lower embodied energy.
The way ahead
Since geopolymer-based concrete can be manufactured by superimposing the technology on existing ready-mix concrete (RMC) plants, the initial investment is not very high – Jindal pegged it at around Rs 5 crore. As for the price of the product, he confirmed it will cost less than the existing concrete. And, the grades of geopolymer-based concrete will be akin to M20 to M70-80.
Meanwhile, Anil Kumar Pillai, Director and CEO, JSW Cement, said that the product is still to get the mandatory certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards. However, the partners remain confident that this will be obtained in the shortest possible time.