Clean & Green
Clean & Green

Clean & Green

There is renewed focus on making the cement industry cleaner and greener by optimizing various processes of manufacturing, storage and distribution that will help reduce the carbon footprint and make the industry far more profitable and sustainable.
Though Indian cement industry is one of the most efficient in the world, it still produced 137 tonne of CO2 in 2010 - approximately 7 per cent of India´s total manmade CO2 emission. The Indian cement industry has made strong efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. It has successfully reduced CO2 emission from 1.12 kg CO2 per tonne cement in 1996 to 0.719 kg CO2/tonne cement in 2010. Today, awareness of sustainability in cement industry has picked up momentum and several efforts are on integrating the sustainability issues (essentially in energy conservation, resource optimisation and environment) with business planning and reviews. Cement industry needs to focus on five broad categories of carbon emission reduction levers, viz., thermal and electrical energy efficiency, co-processing of alternate fuels and raw materials, clinker substitution, waste heat recovery for power generation and adoption of new technologies like CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), algal growth promotion and use of bio fuels.

Technological improvement is a key pillar in the cement industry´s drive to reduce emissions levels and energy consumption. Research and development investments have enabled cement producers worldwide to install modern, energy-efficient technology in new, and to some extent, in existing, cement plants. New technologies have enabled increased use of clinker substitutes and alternative fuels in cement production, leading to significant direct (eg, from limestone decarbonisation and fuel burning) CO2 emissions reductions. Technology developments have also enabled significant indirect emissions reductions (eg, from electricity use). Indian cement industry have comparatively better technology as most of the plants are new and they are equipped with latest technologies.

Says JC Toshniwal, Executive Director, Wonder Cement, ´Almost all cement plants are today working on improving their fuel efficiency, power efficiency, renewable energy, waste heat recovery (WHR), etc. So all these are now focus points towards sustainability in the industry. Cement industry in India is one of the most efficient globally, may be better than global level, in terms of power and fuel consumption.´ He adds, ´Now the focus has gradually shifted towards renewable energy, WHR, and blended cement which also help in reducing CO2 generation. The industry is also working on reduction of SOx and NOx, which are adverse to the environment. For this purpose, cement manufacturers are setting up different types of calciners like two-stage calciners where NOx generation is reduced. In the next 3-4 years, you can see some drastic changes in the industry on these parameters.´

Anil Kumar Pillai, Chief Executive Officer, JSW Cement, throws light on some of the possible ways to increase sustainability in cement production. According to Pillai, use of the latest technology equipment/technology up-gradation for older plants is a must. Waste heat recovery boilers should be installed to generate power from waste hot gases; use of alternative raw materials; use of fluxes to lower the burning temperature in cement kiln to lower the energy consumption; use of chemical gypsum to the optimum level so that mineral gypsum may be conserved; use of grinding aids to reduce electrical energy consumption; and production of blended cements such as PPC, PSC, limestone blended cement etc are some other areas. He adds, ´However, judging from the possibilities to improve sustainability by optimizing the raw material supply, adopting latest energy efficient technologies, optimizing the production process, substituting alternative fuels and raw materials, and finally blending the final product with suitable admixtures, it seems that the emphasis of most cement producers is still focused on selected parts of these different possibilities, especially the final substitution of cement by various mineral admixtures. It is therefore imperative for the cement producers to adapt fast enough and to a sufficient degree to exploiting all the possible options to reduce their environmental footprint.´

Key levers to reduce emission in the Indian cement industry are increased rates of blending leading to a reduction in clinker to cement ratio, increased use of AFR, widespread implementation of WHR, transportation of raw materials through conveyor belt instead of road transport, installation of various VFD/high energy efficient equipment to reduce SPC. Cement manufacturing process from surface mining/quarrying, locating main acclimatisation unit near limestone deposits, transporting clinker through rail, transporting fly ash through pipeline are few measures which will help in achieving and sustaining this targets.

´Blended cement proportion in total Indian cement industry is approximately 70 per cent. Manufacturing of PPC results in approximately 20-30 per cent reduction in CO2 against 1 MT of OPC production also manufacturing of PSC results in 30-35 per cent reduction in CO2 mitigation,´ says VP Sharma, Managing Director & CEO, ABG Cement. ´We at ABGCL will be producing 100 per cent blended cement. The target goal for ABGCL to reduce carbon footprint by 2020 is 30 per cent for its equivalent of OPC production by employing different methods like waste heat recovery, alternate fuel firing, installing solar panels on major building roofs and producing blended cement,´ he points out. According to Sharma, Indian cement industry has huge potential in reduction of usage of fossil fuel by using alternative fuels - hazardous AFR like slag and non-hazardous AFRs like pet coke, shredded tyres, rice husk, bio masses, municipal waste etc. Present thermal substitution rate by usage of AFR is as low as 1-1.2 per cent against 40 per cent achieved by developed countries. He adds, ´The cement industry has shown great enthusiasm for installation of waste heat recovery system but we still have way to go for achieving its full potential. Installation of waste heat recovery system shall be made compulsory for all new cement projects and proper studies shall be made to make it highly efficient by 6/5 stage pre-heater systems. We are already in discussion with various vendors for installation of WHR system of 8-10 MW power generations with our six-stage pre-heater.´

Says Prabir Ray, Head RMC, Building Products Division and Key Accounts, UltraTech Cement, ´UltraTech is committed towards improving its sustainable footprint through constant innovation. We focus on producing quality products that meet the needs of our customers, while ensuring that we reduce our environmental footprint, take care of our employees´ health and safety, and contribute to wider initiatives for our communities. We are a member of Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), and we aim to improve our sustainable footprint in waste management, energy reduction, water conservation, biodiversity management, afforestation and emission reduction.´ He further adds, ´We are strategically focusing on development of products and services that help customers build sustainable structures - structures which are more durable, more resource-efficient, more cost effective and more conducive to the human lifestyle. Innovation is the tool we have adopted to spearhead scientifically engineered products that complement future-ready construction practices.´

PAT impact
According to Pillai, Perform - Achieve - Trade (PAT) compliance could be treated as an important milestone in the journey towards energy excellence. With ever-rising cost of input energy, companies aspiring for such excellence are bound to gain sustainable strategic advantage and earn handsome dividends. By achieving PAT target, not only compliance is met but also organizations can move toward triple bottom line reporting. In spite of many benefits of the PAT scheme, the underlying principles of National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) can only be realized if PAT is seen as milestone and not a destination in the long journey toward energy excellence. PAT scheme rewards the over achiever and penalise the underperformer.

Says Kamal Kumar, Chief General Manager, Holtec Consulting, ´Introduction of PAT scheme for energy intensive industries improve energy efficiency and facilitates cost effectiveness by certifying energy saving measures that could be traded through its market-based mechanism. It is a good scheme to achieve the target, but the parameters which have been fixed by the BEE are quite stringent, specifically for the old vintage plants. Largely, the PAT scheme will facilitate in reducing the energy consumption levels of the system.´

Reducing energy consumption will not only benefit the DC but would also have a lasting impact on the planet. One tonne (tonnes of oil equivalent) reduction in energy consumption can potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.18 tonne. In addition to the above, the BEE conducts conferences and workshops on energy efficiency and advanced technologies. Companies could use such programs to train their employees for sustainable energy management. These employees could be further empowered by management to achieve higher performance through suitably designed key performance indicators (KPI).

´The PAT scheme has generated a lot of ripples in the energy intensive process industries and is perceived as a source of capital outflows in tough economic times. The PAT scheme aims at reducing the energy consumption per unit of output product. In the current situation, when increasing competition is already putting pressure on margins, reduction in energy cost will help boost the bottomline. For example, energy cost accounts for 35-40 per cent of total manufacturing expenses for Designated Consumers´ (DCs) in the cement sector. So, reduction of 10 per cent in the energy cost could potentially boost operating profit margins by around 20 per cent,ö says Pillai. He adds, ´With the new Companies Act mandating CSR spend, increased profit margins would also allow companies to contribute some portion of their profits to strengthening the community. Hence, the PAT scheme hits the sweet spot between the three pillars of the triple bottom line.´

The way ahead
The Indian cement industry is probably one of the most energy-efficient in the world today. Some of the plants have thermal and electrical specific energy consumption (SECs) comparable to the best cement plants in the world resulting in low emission intensities. The industry which is on the top in the Certified Emission Reductions Projects list registered with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol has contributed significantly to the eco-friendly use of industrial wastes and thereby has succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint. However, the opportunity for improvement does exist, particularly in the area of five key levers that can contribute to emissions reductions such as alternative fuel and raw materials; energy efficiency; clinker substitution; waste heat recovery and newer technologies. This roadmap sets out a pathway by which the Indian cement industry can reach its targets to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by 2050, thereby laying the foundation for low-carbon growth in the years beyond.


  • Selection of plant location - proximity sources of raw material, additive (gypsum, slag, fly ash, AFR etc)
  • Highly energy-intensive industry using non-renewable raw materials and thus emits large amount of CO2 especially from limestone and coal burning
  • Older cement plants have to invest heavily for technological up-gradation Marginal grade of limestone has to be compensated with low ash coal imported from South Africa, Indonesia etc.
  • Many limestone reserves are located in ecologically sensitive areas
  • About 90 per cent of limestone in India is extracted by blasting and less than 10 per cent by surface miner. Blasting has much higher environmental impact û dust, noise, vibration, fly rock generation etc. Most of the limestone is quite hard and thus not suitable for extraction with surface miner
  • Solid waste generation and its proper management in mines (low grade limestone, clay etc)
  • Product is not recyclable
  • Challenges in maintaining stringent dust emission levels while material storage and handling
  • Challenges in maintaining NOx levels
  • Scarcity of water in most areas
  • Lack of railway siding at many plants
  • Availability of wagons from railways
  • Market pressure for high compressive strength
  • Lack of awareness among customers towards the environmental benefits of using blended cement (PSC, PPC etc)
  • Lack of captive power generation at most plants - high transmission losses have to be incurred while sourcing power from long distances

Perform - Achieve-Trade (PAT) is the Energy Conservation drive launched by BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) under National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency. Base line figures are average of past three years (2007-08, 2008-09 & 2009-10). Target has been given by BEE to reduce from baseline figures in a span of three years, starting April, 2012 and ending March 2015. PAT is applicable for energy intensive industries. It covers 563 designated consumers in eight sectors. The energy specific improvement target would have to be almost ´Unit Specific´. Each Designated Consumers (DC) is mandated to reduce its Special Energy Consumption (SEC) by a fixed percentage based on its current SEC (or baseline SEC) within the sectorial bandwidth. In Indian scenario, if we look at percentage wise, on an average 40 per cent energy consumed by industry, 7 per cent by Agriculture and Fisheries, 43 per cent commercial and services, 10 per cent household and others. This PAT scheme is participated by ´Designated Consumers´ of energy intensive sectors - thermal power plant/iron and steel/cement/fertiliser/textile/pulp and paper/chloro-alkali. At the end of third year, Energy Saving Certificate will be issued to a DC, who will achieve target reduction from baseline. DC who will fail to achieve the target, penalty linked with value of non-compliance will be imposed. This ES Certificate can be traded to others who will fail to meet their target. This trading can be carried out between any two DCs. The exchange will also maintain data on traded prices, traded volume and trend. Special trading platform will be created in the two Power Exchanges (IEX and PXIL). This scheme has to come out very effective across industry. It is directly linked with profitability in long term. It will help in reducing cost and improve profitability.

The first of its kind in the world the GreenCo Rating System by CII Godrej GBC, provides a much needed holistic framework to evaluate industries on their environmental performance. CII, through an extensive stakeholder consultation and interaction with experts, have developed the guidelines of GreenCo. This rating will act as a milestone for companies pursuing green to assess where they stand and help them in defining the path forward. Vasavadatta Cement, Sedam was awarded GreenCo Gold by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the year 2012-15. It is the first cement plant to be certified under GreenCo, Green Company Rating System. Under the leadership of CK Jain, Unit Head, Vasavadatta Cement, Sedam has been able to achieve GreenCo Gold due to tremendous amounts of hard work taken by the plant for years together on various aspects of sustainability. Another major cement company that has bagged the GreenCo Certification is ACC, Thondebhavi Cement Works which has been rated GreenCo Silver.

Says Jain, ´The Green Company Rating System has helped us in effectively communicating to our stake holders about our commitment to sustainable growth, to reduce consumption of natural resources without jeopardising growth of the company. According to him one of the most important reasons behind applying for the rating system was to understand the company´s environmental performance on various aspects of environmental sustainability. This includes areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation, greenhouse gas emission, waste management, material conservation, recycling and recyclability, green supply chain, product stewardship, life cycle analysis, other areas like ventilation, biodiversity preservation, innovation, etc.

Jain further adds, ´GreenCo gives energy efficiency 20 per cent weightage. Energy costs also account for approximately 45 per cent of our expenditure. The system emphasises the need to have an energy policy, formation of cross-functional energy management cell, energy metering and monitoring systems, setting internal, national and international benchmarks and equipment wise efficiency monitoring. All these initiatives have a direct impact on the energy consumption of the plant as well as energy costs. The rating system has helped us in achieving our objectives of understanding our environmental performance on various aspects of environmental sustainability and in framing a long term roadmap on how to be greener.´

No stories found.
Indian Cement Review