Sustainable strategies

Sustainable strategies

Today, there is a greater focus not only on optimising fuel/ energy efficiency during various processes of cement manufacturing, storage and its distribution, but there is a renewed focus on making the cement industry 'greener and more sustainable. 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 (SEC's) 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. INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW trains a spotlight on the efforts by the cement manufacturers to make the industry more sustainable.

TAKING a holistic view on sustainability Edward Schwarz, General Manager, Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, had this to say: 'Holcim Foundation stands for sustainable construction and this is financed and sponsored completely by Holcim, which is one of the big international producers of cement. The goal of the foundation is to promote sustainable construction and now of course, if you think of sustainable construction, especially from the cement industry, you think of durable concrete or things like that or less energy in production. That's true, of course, but that is not the full picture. So the full picture of sustainability is much boarder. It touches every element of our life. So it has to do with energy saving, using fewer resources, recycling. It has to do with economics because somebody has to pay for it all and it has to pay for itself. And it has to do with people because whatever we do with nature or with products it is always impacting people."


Says Sandeep Shrivastava, Head, Environment, Ambuja Cement, Being in the business of cement manufacturing, climate change mitigation and low carbon growth has always been integral to our sustainability strategy. Being carbon smart is our aspiration. At ACL, we have had a climate change mitigation policy since January, 2008. The policy describes our approach to reduce, engage and influence. This is through the involvement of our employees and business partners, like suppliers. Our strategy takes into account several levers available for the reduction of our carbon footprint, such as reduction in clinker factor, improving thermal energy efficiency and process technology, optimising fuel composition, including the use of waste as fuel, waste heat recovery, and renewable energy. Each of these levers has specific initiatives and road maps for the next three years and beyond to reduce the organisational carbon footprint."

Sandeep further adds, 'As a part of its sustainability initiatives and climate change policy, Ambuja Cement has estimated the enterprise level carbon footprint and offsets for the year 2010. The scope of the footprint estimation covered all our manufacturing facilities, bulk cement terminals and the corporate offices as well as plantation activities within our plant premises for determining the carbon offsets. The results of the carbon footprint estimation have been externally verified in accordance with the international standard ISO 14064-1:2006 by Bureau Veritas India. Ambuja Cement is India's first cement company to have achieved this milestone. With this, we have clearly taken a leadership position in climate conscious growth." 'We are also disclosing our carbon emissions as part of the Carbon Disclosure project (CDP) initiative of CII & WWF. Ambuja is also an active member of Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI)'s India- specific Low Carbon Technology Road Map project and also participating in the Phase II of this project. Our sustainability performance including the climate change mitigation strategy, plan and results are disclosed through our sustainability report issued every year. This is as per the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines and attains the highest A+ rating," Sandeep says.

According to BK Singh, Sr. Exec Director-Group Marketing & Corporate Communication, Dalmia Bharat, awareness of sustainability in the cement industry has picked up momentum in recent years. Several efforts are on to integrate sustainability issues (essentially in energy conservation, resource optimisation and environment) with business planning and reviews. Major focus areas for sustainability by the cement industry are energy conservation, waste heat recovery, clinker to cement factor, alternate fuel and blended cements. 'Dalmia Cement is a member of CSI (Cement Sustainability Initiative, under the aegis of the WBCSD, Geneva). Consequently, it is bound by the CSI's Charter on Sustainability. We adhere to the exacting and very comprehensive standards of the CSI. As a part of our commitment, we are in the process of publishing the Sustainability Report from the financial year 2013-14. In Specific Energy Consumption, we are carrying out energy audit to identify energy saving potential. Internally, an exclusive energy conservation team focuses on the critical areas of raw and coal mill, captive power plant, compressors, pumps, packing plants and ball mill. Monitoring energy consumption daily on several metrics and taking corrective measures wherever necessary," says Singh. Says Sumit Banerjee, Vice- Chairman, Reliance Cement, 'CO2 emissions on account of cement are expected to go up to 488 million tonnes from about 145 million tonnes in 2010 if no action is taken on carbon emission levers. The industry need to focus on five broad categories of carbon emission reduction levers: 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." According to Banerjee technological improvement is a key pillar in the cement industry's drive to reduce emissions levels and energy consumption. Banerjee says, '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 (e.g. from limestone decarbonisation and fuel burning) CO2 emissions reductions. Technology developments have also enabled significant indirect emissions reductions (e.g. from electricity use). The Indian cement industry have comparatively better technology as most of the plants are new and they are equipped with latest technologies. Indian cement industry has taken various measures to upgrade their old plants and to achieve higher energy efficiency."

'KCP has designed the road map with milestones to achieve the CO2 emissions reductions required for future. We are also putting all efforts for shifting from OPC to blended cements. It was targeted to increase blended cement percentage from the present 35 to 55 per cent by this year- end and one hundred percent by 2015, says Dr GVK Prasad, Executive President -Operations, KCP. Speaking about the importance of high efficiency pollution control equipment used for cement kilns, raw mills, coal mills and power plants Prasad had this to say, 'KCP designed and operating all their pollution control equipments with emission levels less than 25 mg/Nm3 as against PCB norm of 50 mg/Nm3. KCP is the first cement company installed bag filter for de-dusting of cooler gases in their cement unit-I and working successfully for last 15 years. In our cement unit-II, all bag filters are provided stand by chambers where in we can attend maintenance job during operation without affecting the performance. In addition, one additional chamber provided in cooler ESP to take care of emission level whenever problem in one of the chambers. In our CPP, KCP is first time in installing hybrid bag filter consist of ESP and bag filter to ensure the emission levels less than 25 mgs/Nm3 even change in fuel properties."

According to Suman Mukherjee, Managing Director and CEO, SDCC -India, though the Indian cement industry is one of the most efficient in the world, it still produced 137 mt of CO2 in 2010 -approximately 7 per cent of India's total man-made CO2 emissions. Mukherjee adds, 'The Indian cement industry has made strong efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. It has successfully reduced CO2 emission from 1.12 T CO2 per tonne cement in 1996 to 0.719 T CO2/T cement in 2010. 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."

Says Schwarz, 'The production of cement in the US and India is exactly the same. Of course, 20 years ago, one started to install filters and before that, nobody had filters; then you started to improve the system, then you started to reuse heat. There was and are two triggers. The trigger on the one hand, is the environment and on the other hand, it is economics. With the filter you lose less material, so you can sell more. If you use less energy, you pay less for the energy. If you have less dust, you do not have to clean it and you can use it as a product."

He sums it up: 'Sustainability is something we all have to live up to, for ourselves and for the generations after us. If the world were to continue living and consuming as we did in the 80s, in few years there would not be anything left for anyone anymore. So, we have to make resources last for more people, for a longer time. That is a challenge and I think it is one of the basics of sustainable thinking, remembering that we are not the last on this planet."

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