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Cement industry has become more cost effective and efficient by implementing environmental regulation.

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Wonder Cement is a cement manufacturing company, enriched with the heritage of R.K. Marble, a leading name in the marble industry. The cement plant is located in Nimbahera, District Chittorgarhin Rajasthan, with three production lines, has a capacity of producing 9.50 Million Tons Per Annum (MTPA) of clinker. With the commencement of grinding unit in Dhule, Maharashtra and Bhadnawar, Madhya Pradesh, with the capacity of 2 MTPA each, it’s cement manufacturing capacity has increased to 11MTPA. Now, the company is going to commission its third grinding unit in Jhajjar, Haryana so as to facilitate an increase in combined production capacity of 13 MTPA by January, 2021.

Interview with Vivek Patni, Director, Wonder Cement

1.How do you see the year ahead in terms of sale and capacity utilization post pandemic of Covid-19? How about the revival of construction sector?
We see the demand revival from October – December 2020 quarter. We see capacity utilization to be in the range from 65% to 70% on all India basis However, in North region, where we are working, capacity utilization will be in the range of 75%.

2.How has environmental regulation affected the cement industry in the past one decade and how do you expect it to influence it over the next decade?
The Cement Industry has responded to environment regulation very positively. The industry has become more clean and green in last two decade. The industry under its responsibility towards environment has implemented the regulation very effectively. I feel that industry has become more cost effective and efficient by implementing environmental regulation.
The Industry is continuously working on reduction of Greenhouses Gases.

3.What impact you think this will have on the competitiveness of the cement industry, the cost of production, product quality and profitability?
The Cement Industry has become more cost effective by implementing stringent environment regulations. The carbon foot print has reduced by increasing blended Cement, WHRS installation and uses of alternate fuels and Raw materials. These measures not only made industry more environmentally friendly but it reduces the Cost of Production and also improves its efficiency parameters.

4.What are the chances of climate change groups directly or indirectly influencing the Indian cement industry in terms of limiting capacity additions, affecting the choice of fuels, influencing the product mix, etc? What are likely to be the future drivers?
The climate change groups are becoming more and more active. These groups will ask for reduction of CO2 and Nox (both are greenhouses gases). With the new development in technologies and research going, CO2 capturing will be possible. With changes in Cement manufacturing process, Nox reduction is also very much possible. However, the new technology of CO2 capturing and Nox reduction becoming technically and commercially viable may take some time but it will be possible to reduce/minimize the impact on climate change by technology adoption.

The real challenges on capacity addition/size of plant are from the land owners in the context of cement industry. With the new regulations of land acquisition, it is becoming very difficult to acquire the mining and plant land. Therefore, I see bigger challenges from Environmentalist on account of land acquisition and rehabilitation of project affected area.

5.How has the implementation of the latest environmental norms in the cement industry fared so far and how do you see it faring in the future, in terms of the ease or difficulty in the actual implementation of the environmental norms, financial impact, technical difficulties, etc. and do you think these norms need any re-visit?
The implementation of latest regulations of Environment did not pose big challenge. The industry has adopted and implemented regulations upto great extent. The new regulations of SPM of 30 mg/NM3 are very well adopted by industry. The Indian Cement Industry is working on controlling NOx as prescribed by regulating authorities.

Achieving the latest regulations on NOx has been a challenge for industry. The industry is in process of installing SCNR and also re-designing the process to minimize NOx generations.

The regulations of Land Acquisition and rehabilitation are bigger challenges. The land acquisition is delayed the project implementations.

The other challenges for industry are drawing of underground water. Because of NGT orders, it has become very difficult to get permission/renewal ground water withdrawal. However, industry is switching over to technology where water consumption can be minimized/eliminated. One such example is the raw material grinding in roll press. Grate cooler is designed without water spray. The ESP is being replaced with Bag filters to avoid uses of water.

6.What is your expectation in the availability and pricing of coal in India over the next decade? Is there a likelihood of environmental groups effectively dissuading the industry from using coal? What alternatives are likely to arise?
I do not see availability of Coal for manufacturing Cement will be a constraint during next decade. However, the Industry focus will be there to reduce uses of Fossil Fuel. Following will be the drives:

(i)Increase uses of Alternate Fuel like Industrial Waste and Bio Mass.
(ii)Reduction of specific power and fuel consumption.
(iii)More and more uses of Power Generated from Waste Heat.
(iv)Increase of share of Renewal Energy
(v)The present TSR (Thermal Substitution Rate) in Indian Cement Industry is around 3 to 5%. However, industry is now putting of equipment and machinery gearing upto use all type of Waste material generated by industrial units. The Bio mass is already being utilized in Cement Kiln and Power Plants.

7.What has been the extent of Alternative Fuels & Raw Materials (AFR) usage in the cement industry in general and your cement plants in particular in the past and how much Thermal Substitution Rate (TSR) do you think we can achieve over the next decade?
The present TSR in Cement Industry is around 5%. With growing awareness about disposal of waste in Cement Kilns, I am very sure that TSR is going to increase in days to come.

The Cement Industry is gearing up to dispose of any type of waste material in their Kilns by installing waste handling and processing Equipment.

We at Wonder Cement have started working on uses of AFR. The Capex has been sanctioned. The installation work is in progress. We expect to start using AFR by 2021.

I feel by next decade, the Industry will have minimum TSR of 25%. The challenges in increasing the uses of AFR are getting clearance of Pollution Board.

8.How has information technology impacted the cement industry in the past two decades and how do you expect it to change over the next decade? What are likely to be the future drivers?
The IT had played key role in the manufacturing process of Cement. More and more processes are being automated. In coming year, Industry will adopt many tools to monitor sales and will strengthen sales force to improve their sales, generate leads and convert leads to sales. IT will have bigger role in controlling logistic cost by way optimizing whereas locations, distributions from plant and warehouses, it will also optimizing fleet size. The Industry is moving paper less operations.

9.How the deteriorating limestone quality in future will have impact on cement manufacturing in next 10 years. What type of innovations in equipment or Process Technology do you foresee to tackle this problem?
Lime stone beneficiation will be the key to use low grade lime stone quality. Lot of R & D work is being done for beneficiation of Lime Stone. Wonder Cement is also working on such project for beneficiation.

Vivek Patni is the young member of Patni family and Director of Wonder Cement.

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Concrete

Material Benefits

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Environmental concerns and depleting natural resources, and the impact of cement production on the two are imminent issues that cement companies need to address on priority. Supplementary cementitious materials procured from industrial wastes is one way of looking at this colossal problem. ICR examines the changes made in company protocol with regards to sourcing of alternative materials and their overall impact.

Before we dive into the subject of supplementary cementitious materials, let us look at some of the key facts about cement production. India is the second largest producer of cement in the world. Limestone is at the core of its production as it is the prime raw material used for production. The process of making cement involves extraction of this limestone from its quarries, crushing and processing it at the cement plant under extreme temperatures for calcination to form what is called a clinker (a mixture of raw materials like limestone, silica, iron ore, fly ash etc.). This clinker is then cooled down and is ground to a fine powder and mixed with gypsum or other additives to make the final product – cement. The reason we are elucidating the cement production process is to look at how supplementary cementitious materials or SCM can be incorporated into it to make the process not only more cost effective but also environmentally responsible.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed typically of calcium carbonate (calcite) or the double carbonate of calcium and magnesium (dolomite). It is commonly composed of tiny fossils, shell fragments and other fossilised debris. This sediment is usually available in grey colour, but it may also be white, yellow or brown. It is a soft rock and is easily scratched. It will effervesce readily in any common acid. This naturally occurring deposit is depleting from the environment due to its extensive use in cement manufacturing process. Its extraction is the cause of dust pollution as well as some erosion in the nearby areas.
The process of calcination while manufacturing cement is a major contributor to carbon emission in the environment. This gives rise to the need of using alternative raw materials to the cement making process. The industry is advancing in its production swiftly to meet the needs of development happening across the nation.
According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the cement demand in India is estimated to touch 419.92 MT by FY 2027. As India has a high quantity and quality of limestone deposits through-out the country, the cement industry promises huge potential for growth. India has a total of 210 large cement plants out of which 77 are in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. Nearly 33 per cent of India’s cement production capacity is based in South India, 22 per cent in North India, 13 per cent in Central and West India, and the remaining 19 per cent is based in East India. As per Crisil Ratings, the Indian cement industry is likely to add approximately 80 million tonnes (MT) capacity by FY24, the highest since the last 10 years, driven by increasing spending on housing and infrastructure activities.
The Indian cement production overall stood at 263.12 million tonnes in 2021, and it is expected to reach 404.11 million tonnes by 2029 with a CAGR of 5.51 per cent during the forecast period, suggests a report published by Maximize Market Research in September 2022.
The production capacity and demand of cement in the country is increasing and is expected to grow at a steady rate in the years to come. The country is moving towards urbanisation and is building projects for the development of the nation. However, it is also imperative that the industry holds accountability of the environment and emission from this production activity and creates sustainable solutions to meet the demands as well as safeguard the planet as well.
India has pledged to achieve Net Zero by 2070 at the Glasgow Climate summits.
Environmental concerns and depleting natural resources are edging the cement industry to look at alternative materials for their manufacturing process.

Composition and Impact of SCM
Cement manufacturers know that to reduce CO2 emissions in the process of cement making, it is essential to change its composition. The raw mix of approximately 90 per cent limestone should be substituted with other materials with similar properties.
These materials, known as supplementary cementitious materials contribute to the properties of hardened concrete through hydraulic or pozzolanic activity. Typical examples are fly ashes, slag cement (ground, granulated blast-furnace slag), silica fumes etc. These can be used individually with portland or blended cement or in different combinations. SCM are often added to concrete to make concrete mixtures more economical, reduce permeability, increase strength, or influence other concrete properties. SCM may be added during cement manufacturing for a more consistent blended cement.
Some of the commonly used supplementary cementitious materials are:
Fly Ash: This material contains a substantial amount of silicone dioxide and calcium oxide. It is a fine, light, glassy residue, most widely used SCM in concrete and is a byproduct of coal combustion in electric power generating plants. Fly ash can compensate for fine materials that may be lacking in sand quantities and can be very beneficial
in improving the flowability and finishability of concrete mixtures.
Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS): It is a by-product of the iron and steel industry. In the blast furnace, slag floats to the top of the iron and is removed. GGBS is produced through quenching the molten slag in water and then grinding it into a fine powder. Chemically it is like, but less reactive than, Portland cement.
Silica Fume: It is a by-product from the manufacture of silicon. It is an extremely fine powder (as fine as smoke) and therefore it is used in concrete production in either a densified or slurry form.
Slag: It is a by-product of the production of iron and steel in blast furnaces. The benefits of the partial substitution of slag for cement are improved durability, reduction of life-cycle costs, lower maintenance costs, and greater concrete sustainability. The molten slag is cooled in water and then ground into a fine powder.
Limestone Fines: These can be added in a proportion of 6 to 10 per cent as a constituent to produce cement. The advantages of using these fines are reduced energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.
Gypsum: A useful binding material, commonly known as the Plaster of Paris (POP), it requires a temperature of about 150oC to convert itself into a binding material. Retarded plaster of Paris can be used on its own or mixed with up to three parts of clean, sharp sand. Hydrated lime can be added to increase its strength and water resistance.
Cement Kiln Dust: Kilns are the location where clinkerisation takes place. It leaves behind dust that contains raw feed, partially calcined feed and clinker dust, free lime, alkali sulphate salts, and other volatile compounds. After the alkalis are removed, the cement kiln dust can be blended with clinker to produce acceptable cement.
Pozzolanas: These materials are not necessarily cementitious. However, they can combine chemically with lime in the presence of water to form a strong cementing material. They can include – volcanic ash, power station fly ash, burnt clays, ash from burnt plant materials or siliceous earth materials.
SCM used in conjunction with Portland cement contribute beneficially to the properties of concrete through hydraulic or pozzolanic activity or both. Hydraulic materials (e.g., slag cement), like Portland cement itself, will set and harden when mixed with water. Pozzolanic materials require a source of calcium hydroxide (CH) to set, which is supplied by Portland cement during the hydration process. The right dosage of strategically chosen SCM can improve both the fresh and hardened properties of a concrete mixture.
Prakhar Shrivastava, Head – Corporate Quality, JK Cement Limited, says, “We manufacture Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) from all our plants with addition of flyash up to 35 per cent and PPC in premium category with 20 per cent flyash to promote usage of only blended cement to fulfil customer requirements by achieving equivalent strength properties of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). At our south India plant in Muddapur, we also manufacture Portland Slag Cement (PSC) with the addition of slag at approximately 65 per cent, meeting all the internal product quality norms.”
“The production of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) is continuously declining, with a simultaneous increase in the production of blended cement like PPC, PSC, and Composite Cement based on flyash and granulated blast furnace slag. SCMs are increasingly used to minimise cement-related CO2 emissions and increase plant efficiency from an economic and environmental perspective,” he adds.

Demand for cement in India is estimated to touch 419.92 MT by FY 2027.
Table 1: Effects of SCMs on fresh concrete properties
Table 2: Effects of SCMs on hardened concrete properties


Achieving Sustainability through Substitution
Cement is the most used man-made material globally. The rising demand for infrastructure and development of the nation is showing a clear indication of increased production of cement, thus raising concerns about natural resources, environment, and emission of carbon. One of the widely adopted solutions for ensuring sustainability in cement manufacturing is reducing the clinker-to-cement ratio by adding supplementary cementitious materials.
In his authored article, Dr S B Hegde, Visiting Professor, Pennsylvania State University, United States of America, states, “Concrete is one of the most widely used materials after water worldwide by volume. Portland cement production is highly energy intensive, and emits significant amounts of CO2 through the calcination process, which contributes substantial adverse impact on global warming. Efforts are needed to produce more ecologically friendly concrete with improved performance and durability.”

CO2 emission from cement production are the third largest source of difficult-to-eliminate emissions globally


“The conventional SCM are not enough considering the quantity of concrete requirement for infra development worldwide and to mitigate global warming issue; there is a pressing need to explore the new SCM, its characterisation, performance evaluation, standardisation and adoption,” he adds.
The CO2 emissions from cement production are the third largest source of difficult-to-eliminate emissions, after load-following electricity and iron and steel. Beyond greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the production of concrete and mortar causes over approximately three per cent of global energy demand, over five per cent of global anthropogenic particulate matter (PM10) emissions, and approximately two per cent of global water withdrawals. These environmental impacts may be reduced through various technical (energy, emissions, and material efficiency) measures, of which cementitious materials (CM) substitution (including complete and partial substitution) is one of the most promising.
The manufacturing process of cement can become sustainable by measuring the impact of supplementary materials that can be added to the raw meal of cement. Various materials, naturally occurring or man-made or wastes should be studied and consequently should be included in the cement production process to create blended cements that not only meet the rising demands of the world in terms of quality and strength, but at the same time meet environmental concerns. Research, innovation and technology is key to making a difference in the segment of cement manufacturing by studying more materials that can be used as supplementary materials in cement and concrete, by crafting new compositions and blends of cement and crafting equipment that support the same.
One of the most important ways of reducing carbon emission in cement manufacturing is the use of alternative raw materials from various other industries. This gives way to a circular economy, utilising waste from other industries and bettering the environment with reduced emission of harmful gases, especially carbon dioxide. It also helps the avoidance of landfills or ocean pollution, as waste of industries is utilised in manufacturing cement. Overall, new compositions of cement are the future. The nation’s economy can greatly benefit from a growing cement industry and business sector, however, it should pay keen attention on finding pathways to safeguard the environment its people reside in.

-Kanika Mathur

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Concrete

#ChangeTheStory bags a gold

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#ChangeTheStory, a joint initiative by Ambuja Cements and ACC to create awareness about sustainability and the environment, has won the gold award under the environment category at Imagexx Awards by Adgully.

As part of this integrated campaign, the two cement makers launched a bubble barrier technology that has fished out as much as 2,400 tonnes of plastic waste till date from the Mantola canal in Agra. This has directly contributed to the cleanliness of the Yamuna, one of India’s most iconic, important and holy rivers. #ChangeTheStory has thus shown sustainability measures backed by technology can leave a lasting, positive and measurable impact on our environment. The initiative has till date reached out to around 32 million people, through print and digital mediums.

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Concrete

ACC acts on curbing emissions

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ACC Ltd has adopted an advanced technological approach to control carbon emissions.

The company has installed advanced primary and secondary abatement measures in addition to regular maintenance of equipment at its manufacturing locations across the country to minimise air emissions. This helps ACC to comply with the emission limit value mandated by various regulators.
ACC has also installed continuous emission monitoring systems at all of its 17 cement plants to monitor air emissions. Air quality is also monitored through the continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations. All plants have high efficiency bag filters in all operations, with the latest electrostatic precipitators deployed in clinker cooler applications.
The company has also taken several measures to reduce CO2 emissions, such as reducing the clinker factor, improving thermal substitution rate, implementing waste heat recovery system and increasing the rate of renewable energy consumption.

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