Going strong

Going strong

The Indian cement industry is probably one of the most energy- efficient in the world today. Further to that, the industry produced 137 MT of CO2 in 2010, approximately 7 per cent of India's total man-made CO2 emissions. It has successfully reduced CO2 emission from 1.12 T CO2 per tonne cement in 1996 to 0.719 CO2 per tonne cement in 2010. What's more, 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 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 succeeded in reducing its carbon footprint.

Sustainability awareness has picked up momentum in recent years in the cement industry, and several efforts are on by both cement manufacturers and major plant and machinery and auxiliary equipment manufacturers to integrate sustainability issues, essentially in energy conservation, resource optimisation and environmental planning, with business plans and reviews. For the cement industry, the major focus areas for sustainability are improving thermal energy efficiency and process technology, optimising fuel composition, including the use of waste as fuel, waste heat recovery, reduction in clinker factor, especially through increased rates of blending, and renewable energy. It is heartening to note that most of the cement companies have developed specific initiatives and road maps to reduce their organisational carbon footprint.

It is worth mentioning that the government has launched a laudable initiative through the Perform-Achieve-Trade (PAT) scheme, an energy conservation drive launched by BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency. The PAT scheme is a unique and innovative programme with no precedence elsewhere in the world. The main goal of the scheme is to mandate specific energy efficiency for the most energy-intensive industries, and further incentivise them to achieve better energy efficiency, above their specific energy consumption improvement targets. The cement plant is an energy-intensive unit, where the energy costs account for about 30 per cent of the total manufacturing cost. Energy savings of 0.816 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) (34PJ) per year are expected to be achieved, which is around 12 per cent of the total national energy savings targets assessed under PAT.

Another major initiative in this direction is the GreenCo Rating System launched by CII-Godrej GBC. Energy efficiency, water and material conservation, waste management, product stewardship and greening the supply chain are all agents of change that will play a significant role in facilitating a sustainable rate of growth. In this regard, the GreenCo Rating System is the first of its kind in the world to provide a much needed holistic framework to evaluate industries on their environmental performance. Kudos to ACC's Thondebhavi Cement Works which has been rated GreenCo Silver and Vasavadatta Cement, Sedam which has been rated GreenCo Gold. ICR has discovered that more cement manufacturing companies are looking the GreenCo way.

The current edition of ICR takes a look at some these developments in the cement sector.

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