The Top 5: Indian Cement Manufacturers & Their Efforts Towards Sustainability

Highlights :

  • India is the world’s second-largest cement producer and consumer, after China
  • Indian cement manufacturers are among the most energy and carbon-efficient companies in the world, and have the lowest carbon footprint

The Indian Cement industry is the second-largest producer of cement in the world, while the Indian market is also the second-biggest consumer on the planet. The country had over 200 large cement producing plants and more than 360 small ones recording a turnover of around Rs 64,000 Crore in FY-20. With a massive and ongoing infrastructure building push on, the industry has managed to ensure greater use of cement in areas like road building too, ensuring a long period of growth ahead for itself.

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On the other hand, the industry is also one of the most significant contributors to air pollution. The major issue is the very high particulate matter (PM) emissions from production processes. The pollutants commonly emitted by cement plants are dust or particulate matter, NOx, SOx, carbon oxides and methane, and others. If not managed properly, these industrial emissions lead to approximate 4,90,000 annual deaths while also threatening the survival of flora and fauna in the vicinity. Energy consumption is also an issue, with approx. required per tonne of cement, roughly two thirds of which is used for particle size reduction . About 65% of the total electrical energy used in a cement plant is utilized for the grinding of coal, raw materials and clinker.

As the nation aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2070, various major cement manufacturers are aiming toward sustainable alternatives by committing to various measures to cut down carbon emissions. Following is the list of top 5 Indian Cement Manufacturers (by Market Capitalization) and Their Efforts Towards Sustainability.

#1 Ultratech Cement

Market Cap.: Rs. 1,71,000 Cr.

Capacity: 119.95 million tonnes per annum (MTPA)

Part of Aditya Birla Group, Ultratech Cement is the largest cement company in India and one of the largest cement manufacturers in the world. The Mumbai-based company produces grey cement, ready-mix concrete (RMC), and white cement. The company has a consolidated capacity of 119.95 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of grey cement catering to the needs of international markets such as UAE, Sri Lanka and Bahrain. UltraTech is the largest manufacturer of grey cement and ready-mix concrete (RMC) and one of the largest manufacturers of white cement in India. The firm is a founding member of the Global Cement & Concrete Association.

The Indian concrete major is a signatory to the GCCA Climate Ambition 2050 and hence shares the 2050 net-zero emissions goal on the Net Zero Concrete Roadmap announced by GCCA. UltraTech is the first company in India and the second company in Asia to issue dollar-based sustainability linked bonds. The firm also adopted tools like the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and Internal Carbon Price as well as set ambitious environmental targets through both EP100 and RE100. The cement producer has a power generation capacity of 156 MW through waste heat recovery systems. The waste heat recovery capacity is expected to reach 302 MW by FY2024. Further, over 80% of its power consumption is met through captive power plants, most run on fossil fuels. In the area of renewable energy, the firm professes plans to  invest in solar power generation for captive usage. This is in addition to existing contract capacity of 148 MW renewable energy plants.  UltraTech is committed to increase the share of green energy in its electricity mix to 34 per cent by 2024 from current level of 13 per cent.

#2 Shree Cement Ltd

Market Cap.: Rs. 79,000 Cr.

Capacity: 44.4 MTPA

Shree Cement Ltd is one of India’s premier cement manufacturers and is headquartered in Calcutta. Its operations are spread across India and the United Arab Emirates, with four factories in India, and one in the United Arab Emirates. The company’s manufacturing operations are spread over North and East India across six states. The company has a consolidated cement production capacity of 44.4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) and a power generation capacity of 742 MW. The portfolio includes various brands under the portfolio namely Roofon, Bangur Power, Shree Jung Rodhak, Bangur cement, and Rock Strong.

In 2019, Shree Cement announced the SBTi to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It was also one of the first companies in the industry to adopt alternative fuels in cement manufacturing. Utilising its waste heat recovery plants, and solar and wind power plants, it boasts a renewable energy portfolio of over 234 MW. Consequently, during FY2019-20, 45 per cent of the total energy needs of the company was fulfilled by renewable energy. The firm has a 62 kW of Solar PV Power Plant at Beawar. Recently, Shree Cement Limited (SCL) hired Mumbai-based Oriano Clean Energy Private Limited to develop about 40 MWp of solar power projects under Captive Open Access Mechanism in Banka district of Bihar and Seraikela Kharsawan district of Jharkhand.

#3 Ambuja Cements Limited

Market Cap.: Rs. 72,500 Cr.

Capacity: 31 MTPA

Ambuja Cements Ltd. is a subsidiary of Holcim, a global pioneer in sustainable and creative construction practices. Its headquarters is in Mumbai. Currently, Ambuja Cement has a cement capacity of 31 million tonnes with six integrated cement manufacturing plants and eight cement grinding units across the country.

Ambuja Cements planned a net-zero emissions target through SBTi, aligned with the carbon emissions reduction by 2030. The firm has also signed the Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge. The company’s emissions reduction goals include Scope 1 GHG emissions reductions by 20% per tonne of cementitious material and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 43% per tonne of cementitious materials by 2030. In 2021, Ambuja and ACC announced investments in Waste Heat Recovery Systems (WHRS) across six sites in India to reduce 5.61 lakhs tons of CO2 emissions per year. For Ambuja targeted sites were plants in Bhatapara (Chattisgarh), Suli and Rauri (Himachal Pradesh), and Marwar Mundwa (Rajasthan).

The firm is plastic negative and claims to burn over 1,26,000 tonnes of plastic waste in its kilns, equivalent to 3.5 times of total plastic used. In addition, the firm generates around 2.7% of its power needs from renewable resources.

#4 ACC Limited

Market Cap.: Rs. 41,000 Cr.

Capacity: 34.45 MTPA

ACC (Associate Cement Companies Limited), of Mumbai, is among the top cement manufacturers in India. The Associated Cement Companies Limited is a group of companies like FE Dinshaw, Killick Nixon, Khataus and Tata. ACC has 17 cement manufacturing units and almost 90 ready mix concrete plants.

ACC committed to reducing scope 1 GHG emissions by 21.3 per cent per tonne of cementitious material and scope 2 GHG emissions by 21.3 per cent per tonne of cementitious material by 2030, from a 2018 base year. The firm has taken measures like reducing the clinker factor, improving the Thermal Substitution Rate, implementing a Waste Heat Recovery System, and adopting new technologies while increasing renewable energy dependence for its operations.

In 2021, Ambuja and ACC announced investments in Waste Heat Recovery Systems (WHRS) across six sites in India to reduce 5.61 lakhs tons of CO2 emissions per year. For ACC targeted sites were plants in Jamul (Chattisgarh) and Kymore (Madhya Pradesh).

#5 Dalmia Bharat Ltd

Market Cap.: Rs. 29,700 Cr.

Capacity: 35.9 MTPA

Headquartered in New Delhi, Dalmia Bharat is one of the largest cement manufacturers in India by its market capitalization. The company operates a manufacturing capacity of 35.9 MT per annum (MTPA), across 14 cement plants and grinding units which are spread across 10 states. Dalmia Cement is India’s largest manufacturer of slag cement and is a category leader in super-speciality cement used for oil wells, railway sleepers, and airstrips.

One of the fastest-growing cement manufacturers in India, Dalmia Group committed to net-zero by 2040. Dalmia Cement is 12 times water positive and will be twenty times water positive by 2025. It has created a cumulative water recharge potential of approximately five times its annual water consumption, reducing freshwater withdrawal by 38 per cent.

The company’s carbon footprint is 40% lower than the global average for a cement company, which is the lowest in the cement world globally. It has secured the No. 1 rank in the global cement manufacturing sector by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for business readiness for the lowest carbon transition. Furthermore, Dalmia Cement was the first Indian company to join RE100, and the first company in the world to join both the EP100 and RE100. Dalmia Cement has been progressively producing cement with ‘greener’ alternatives. Dalmia has invested in low-carbon technologies and has also increased the proportion of environment-friendly blended cement in its product mix to 80%, reducing its carbon footprint while addressing waste disposal issues of other industries. It has also increased the proportion of alternative materials used, replacing conventional kiln fuels with alternative fuels and bio-fuels.

 

NOTE: Ambuja Cements and ACC are owned by Switzerland based Holcim Group, the global cement major, and both the firms have recently been sold to Adani Enterprises (subject to regulatory clearances). Adani has made it clear that the acquisition will lead to a much more ‘greener’ cement from ACC and Ambuja, thanks to the Adani Group’s experience in Renewable energy.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.

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