Energy efficiency is the key

Energy efficiency is the key

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. Being a core sector of the Indian economy, this industry's competitiveness is of utmost importance. The current financial downturn, coupled with fuel shortage, has led to an increase in coal price and affected the growth and performance targets of the industry. The fluctuating demand profiles of specific product types, high transportation costs and variations in freight charges too, have negatively impacted the cement sector as a whole. This brings into focus the need to further improve energy efficiency through all possible ways that could result in the long- term economic benefits in terms of reduced fuel expenditure.

Recently, the Bangalore-based Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) released a report that presents the current status of the cement industry different sub-processes in cement manufacturing and energy efficiency measures which could be adopted by the industry. The report discusses various technical, economic and policy related challenges faced by the cement industry in the context of improved energy efficiency as required by the Perform-Achieve-Trade (PAT). Thanks to the PAT scheme, an inspiring initiative by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), increasing focus on savings in energy consumption, stringent emission and pollution control norms, thinning bottom lines, all have spurred most of the cement majors to seek ways and means, not only to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint, but also to better cost efficiency. This has resulted in plant optimisation where energy and fuel efficient equipment and components play a pivotal role.

Another laudable development is the launch the 'Technology Roadmap: Low Carbon Technology for the Indian cement industry,' following the global roadmap in 2009. Based on a solid technical foundation and wide stakeholder consultation,the roadmap outlines a practicable and achievable low-carbon growth pathway for the Indian cement industry. Enhancing energy efficiency and investing in newer technologies is one of the major objectives in the India-specific roadmap that aims to reduce the industry's carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2050. This roadmap aims to identify technologies (especially those with particular relevance to India), supportive policy frameworks and investment needs that could lead to direct emissions reduction of about 0.28 tonne CO2 per tonne cement produced, from 0.63 tonne CO2 per tonne cement in 2010 to 0.35 tonne CO2 per tonne cement in 2050.

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