India tops energy-efficient cement production

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 5 2010, 03:24am hrs
With some of the plants operating at the lowest energy consumption levels, the Indian cement industry has become a forerunner in energy-efficient cement manufacturing in the world, according to yet to be released FE-EVI Green Business Survey 2009-10.

The survey will be released in New Delhi on World Environment Day, June 5. The highlight of the event will be the presentation of FE-EVI Green Business Leadership Awards 2009-10. The event is being organised jointly by The Financial Express and Emergent Ventures India, a climate change & sustainable development advisory firm, in association with knowledge partner Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Elaborating about the initiatives taken up by companies, FE-EVI Green Business Survey 2009-10 quotes numerous examples. For example, ACC Cement is producing power from waste gases generated during production process. Also, the company is actively involved in wind and hydro power procurement. As far as cutting down on energy consumption is concerned, Shree Cement is reducing CO2 emissions through energy efficiency and use of alternative low-carbon fuel and renewable energy.

JK Cement, which is ISO certified, is using alternative fuels and power from waste, biomass and wind. Also, the company is actively involved in emission reduction through partial substitution of fossil fuels with recyclable alternates in cement manufacturing. Similarly, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd is taking measures related to energy efficiency, streamlining of processes, and use of alternate/new technologies.

Companies are also taking other initiatives to minimise their ecological footprint. These include substitution of fossil fuels used in cement kilns by fuels derived from waste, installation of waste heat recovery system, modification of the composition of cement by using cement constituents which require less energy to produce than cement clinker

Besides, cement companies have become innovative and come up with Eco-Cement, which has a reduced environmental impact as compared to conventional cement. It sets and hardens by sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere and is recyclable.

All these initiatives are being taken by first establishing separate departments for environment protection, safety, ISO 14001 certification and disaster management. The industry is also involved in Voluntary Environmental Initiatives (VEI) such as monitoring of ambient air quality, waste water quality, safe disposal of hazardous waste such as hospital bio-medical waste, waste oil and grease, and regular monitoring of safe working practices.

Two of the Indian companies, Shree Cement and Grasim Cement, are also part of the Cement Sustainability Initiative, which was launched by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to increase the sector's contribution to sustainable development and public's understanding of that contribution.

Indian industry association too are getting proactive. CII-Soharabji Godrej Business Centre has established a facility for Indian cement plants, helping them inventorize their direct as well as indirect GHG emissions, including emissions from processes, energy, transportation and mining.

Apart from measuring, initiatives like migration to dry process, energy efficient retrofits, use of alternative and waste fuels such as municipal solid waste, industrial waste, used tyres, rice husk and groundnut shells to replace the use of coal in cement kilns would continue to aid the industry in reducing emissions, says FE-EVI Green Business Survey 2009-10.