Moving Towards Carbon Neutrality
The role of the cement industry in reducing the carbon footprint of a country cannot be underscored enough. As India strives to strengthen its position globally in cement manufacturing and tries to hike up production to meet domestic demands, our efforts at balancing emission and environment plays a vital role. ICR looks at the various factors and possible outcomes of environmental endeavours in cement production.
The primary driver to global climatic change is carbon and Greenhouse Gas emission from various industries of the world. To save the planet from the harmful effects of this emission, the world collaboratively needs to take strides in the direction of achieving a Net Zero environment.
According to the Global Carbon Project, the annual CO2 emission globally as of 2020 was 34.81 billion tonne (refer to Fig 1). Prior to the industrial revolution, these emissions were very low. With growing industrialisation this kept increasing in value. In 1990, the carbon emission quadrupled reaching a value of over 22 billion tonne per annum globally and continued growing rapidly.
To tackle the issue of carbon emission across the globe, it is important to understand where it is coming from. From industry to country, breaking down the problem into smaller sections is likely to bring a solution at large.
In a treemap published in 2017, Global Carbon Project indicated the countries and how much carbon they are emitting. As per the analysis, owing to having the largest population on the planet, Asia emits 53 per cent of the total carbon emission globally. China is the largest contributor the same followed by India and then other Asian countries.
Concrete is the most consumed man-made material in existence. Cement, the key ingredient of concrete, also leaves a massive carbon footprint behind it. It contributes to emitting 8 per cent of carbon emission of the total world’s emission. According to a news report published by the BBC Network in December 2018, the cement industry emitted more carbon in the environment than aviation fuel which stood at 2.5 per cent then and wasn’t far behind the carbon emission from global agriculture business at 12 per cent.
India is a growing and developing nation with an expected 250 million people to be added to its urban population across the region. This has led to the cropping up of many infrastructural projects which in turn shall increase the production of cement. India is also part of the Paris Agreement and has aligned itself with its goal of achieving Net Zero by 2070 as announced in the Glasgow Climate Summit.
The challenge that shall present is to maintain the goal of achieving a better for the nation as well as meeting the demands of a growing and developing nation. As mentioned in a report published by World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), by adopting state-of-the-art technological interventions, innovative production techniques and climate-resilient resource optimisation measures, cement manufacturers in India are integrating sustainability within their growth aspirations. The sector has already surpassed the targets of the Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme by 80 per cent and is now being recognised globally as one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable markets for cement.
“Being an energy intensive industry, we are also focusing upon alternative and renewable energy sources for long-term sustainable business growth for cement production” says Dr Hitesh Sukhwal, Sr. Manager (Head Environment), North – West region, Udaipur Cement Works.
“Presently, our focus is to improve efficiency of zero carbon electricity generation technology such as waste heat recovery power through process optimisation and by adopting technological innovations in WHR power systems. We are also increasing our capacity for WHR based power as well as Solar power in the near future. Right now, we are sourcing nearly 50 per cent of our power requirement from clean and renewable energy sources i.e., zero carbon electricity generation technology,” he adds.
Transition to Net Zero
According to an article published by McKinsey & Company in April 2022, as the world will move towards a Net Zero scenario in 2050, capital spending on equipment and infrastructure with relatively low emissions intensity would average $6.5 trillion a year—more than two-thirds of the $9.2 trillion in annual capital spending during that time. During the Net Zero transition, energy systems of the world and its machinery will be re-engineered to utilise renewable fuels instead of fossil fuels.
McKinsey’s analysis of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) Net Zero 2050 scenario suggests that the annual spending on low-emissions assets and the infrastructure to enable them would rise to about $3.5 trillion than today.
Innovation needs to be accelerated, not only to accommodate renewable fuels, but also to transport the energy produced by them from creator to user. In the long haul, larger sunny terrains must be able to send the produced solar energy to lesser sunny terrains for renewable energy consumption.
Green the Future of Cement
Green cement is essentially the cement produced by various manufacturing techniques that reduce carbon emission by either using supplementary cementitious materials, waste heat recovery, substituting fossil fuels with other renewable sources and using various other methods to reduce the impact of carbon on the environment.
As the need of energy in the cement industry is paramount, the solution to its emission issues lies in finding renewable electricity that can produce clean, safe, affordable, and infinite energy. Across the globe and in India, companies are in the process of changing their manufacturing techniques to transition to clean energy and reduce their carbon footprint.
The future also holds cement that supports zero carbon emission. According to news reports from May, academicians from the University of Cambridge have invented the world’s first ever process to produce zero-emission cement and have secured a patent for the same.
This innovative process crafted by academicians – Dr Cyrille Dunant, Dr Pippa Horton and Professor Julian Allwood – is aimed to limit the need for green hydrogen in the cement sector. It uses waste concrete from the demolition of old buildings. This concrete is crushed, allowing the stones and sand constituents to be separated from the mixture of cement powder and water that bind them together. This recycled cement powder can then be used in the place of lime-flux in secondary steelmaking.
The inspiration for this process struck when these researchers noticed that the chemistry of used cement is virtually identical to that of the lime-flux used in conventional steel recycling processes. The new cement could therefore be made in a recycling loop that eliminates the emissions of cement production, saves raw materials, and reduces the emissions required in making lime-flux.
Capturing the emitted carbon cement plants can be a solution the world should be looking at. This would protect the environment from getting saturated with carbon dioxide while storing it in a form that won’t cause any harm.
Throwing light on this subject and technology, Maarten van Roon, CCO, Carbon8, says, “We help enable circularity for hard-to-abate industrial sectors by combining captured carbon from their operations with industrial residues, from the very same operations, to manufacture new materials for the construction industry.”
“In cement production specifically, cement bypass dust (CBD) and cement kiln dust (CKD) are produced as a by-product. CBD and CKD are reactive to CO2 because of the compounds they contain, making them a potential carbon sink. Our technology solution captures CO2 directly from the cement plant and permanently stores it in products, by valorising those residues. The product that ACT currently manufactures is CircaBuild, a carbon-negative alternative to natural aggregate,” he adds.
Carbon neutrality is the key concern for nations across the globe. India, being the second-largest producer of cement in the world, has the power to impact global climate change and environmental health. A shift in consumer preference in India would significantly affect the global climate change
war. The Government of India, with various policies, regulations and mandates on using green cement can drive this change and build an infrastructurally and environmentally strong nation in the years to come.
Cement industry sees record growth amid booming construction demand
Glimpses from the 13th Cement Expo in Hyderabad.
“There’s no waste in India; everything is wealth,” was the thought-provoking idea that came from Dr Mohapatra, DG, NCCBM, as he shared his views on ‘Circular Economy and Sustainability’ at the recently concluded 8th Indian Cement Review Conference. The questions he raised and the ideas he presented were enriched with his decades of experience of working on research, development and analysis of alternative raw materials and renewable fuel for the cement industry. He highlighted the struggles in manufacturing blended cement and the opportunities that are available for its use. Finally, he suggested ways to ensure that each manufacturing plant falls within the gamut of a circular economy.
On his part Dr Sriharsha Reddy, Director, IMT Hyderabad, elaborating on ‘ESG – Green Financing: A new opportunity for the cement industry’, brought to light a number of important issues pertaining to fund procurement through traditional methods and the challenges therein.
Highlighting his views on carbon capture and its benefits for the cement manufacturers, Saurabh Palsania, Executive Director and Group Commercial Head, Dalmia Cement (Bharat), underscored the need to implement innovative technology and most importantly a proper strategy, in order to revolutionise the efforts towards net zero emissions. “Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is an investment-intensive process that also requires a commitment of time and labour. Keeping all these factors in mind, cement companies need to chart out an effective strategy to incorporate CCUS into their eco systems, ensure purity of the captured carbon and channel it towards predetermined activities for its optimum utility,” he said.
Pratap Padode, Founder & President, FIRST Construction Council, summarised the challenges faced by the Indian cement industry as well as the growth opportunities it presented for manufacturers in terms of technological innovation and capacity building. He supported his opinions with statistical findings and his in-depth knowledge about the Indian cement and construction industries.
Several discussions from the event highlighted several critical aspects of the cement industry.
ESG – Green Financing: A new opportunity for the cement industry
The cement industry has made progress in reducing energy consumption and power usage, but the challenge now lies in reducing carbon emissions. With breakthrough carbon capture technologies and solar calcination of limestone, the industry can work towards achieving zero CO2 emissions. However, the economic value of carbon capture needs to be explored, with government support through carbon labelling, trading, and green funds. Other solutions such as non-contact grinding and heat recovery from kilns can also be explored to bring emissions to zero. The industry can achieve sustainability and low carbon footprint with digital transformation and well-planned processes. To finance green initiatives, traditional lending institutions such as banks are now considering the economic value of eco-friendly practices. However, long-term loans remain a challenge, and other lending institutions such as venture capitalists and government grants need to be explored.
Demystifying digitalisation and maximising the value chain impact
Digitalisation is crucial in optimising all stages of cement production. Industry 4.0 has provided tools that help determine the desired product quality, which is vital in meeting customer demands. As the importance of ESG continues to grow, digitalisation can help improve processes and reduce environmental impact. Transparency is also key, and a cloud-based platform can facilitate this. Automation at the plant level is vital for both efficiency and safety. However, it is important to remember that profitability is also essential for sustainability. Therefore, implementing digital tools and automation must be done with a focus on achieving profitability without compromising on sustainability.
Innovative supply chain strategies in the cement industry
Innovative supply chain strategies are crucial for the cement industry to remain competitive, with logistics and transportation being at the forefront. Industry experts discussed that the key to cost efficiency lies in innovation in first and last mile connectivity. However, logistics should not be viewed as merely a commercial function, but rather as a technology function. By investing in technology, cement manufacturers can drive the supply chain in a much better way, enabling them to evaluate processes from a revenue angle rather than just cost.
Industry experts also agreed that logistics is the only differentiator a cement company can have today, rather than cost or quality. As such, it is essential for cement manufacturers to explore non-renewable sources of energy to address the energy demand for distribution. Automation is also considered a key element for future logistics solutions. With these innovative strategies in place, the cement industry can increase efficiency and sustainability, which in turn can positively impact the bottom line.
On his part, Gaurav Gautam, Head of Sales, Beumer Group, highlighted the innovations in material handling systems that the is undertaking in order to make the movement of finished products smoother along the supply chain. The company specialises in tailor-made intralogistics solutions that help maximise productivity of cement companies.
Truly, the 8th Indian Cement Review Conference brought the industry together in a informative discussion on thought-provoking ideas and suggestions. The presentation weremade by Jayesh Patil, Assistant Manager, Flow Aids, Martin Engineering; Nischal Basavaraj, Regional Head – South, Liugong India; Sasi M Kumar, Business Development Manager – Cement, ExxonMobil; and S Chakravarti, Managing Director, Ecodea Projects and Control.
The conference was held alongside the 13th Cement Expo and Indian Cement Review Awards 2023. Partners supporting the event included: Presenting Partner: ExxonMobil Lubricants; Gold Sponsor: JK Cement and PhillipCapital India; Silver Sponsor: LiuGong India; Associate Sponsor: Humboldt Wedag India; Presentation Partners: Martin Engineering Company India, Beumer India, and Ecodea Projects & Control; Logo Sponsor: Stotz Gears; and Exhibiting Partners: Toshniwal Industries; TIDC (Murugappa Group), and Ringfeder Power Transmission India.
Solutions to protect concrete against monsoon
Concrete patching compounds for repairing concrete window ledges.
As the monsoon season rapidly approaches in India, the urgency to address potential damage to the commonly used building material – concrete –intensifies. Weathering and loading can cause cracks and deterioration, impacting both the structure’s integrity and aesthetics and leading to water penetration and reinforcement corrosion. To ensure durability and prevent further damage, it is essential to promptly repair any concrete cracks.
Several structures face a common problem during monsoon season – holes created by water penetration or impact in concrete window sills. These not only affect the window’s appearance and functionality but also pose a safety hazard. Fortunately, various concrete repair compounds are available in India to fill such holes and restore the window sill. Don’t wait until it’s too late –CW researches some of the concrete repair compounds that could help protect concrete structures from monsoon damage:
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Heidelberg Materials secures SBTi validation
The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has validated Heidelberg Materials’ new 2030 CO2 reduction targets. The targets have a base year of 2020 and conform to a 1.5°C climate change framework. Per tonne of cementitious material, the producer is now committed to reducing its Scope 1 CO2 emissions by 24 per cent, its Scope 2 CO2 emissions by 65 per cent and its Scope 3 emissions by 25 per cent.
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