Major cement manufacturers have been putting in place measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the sector. These include co-processing with waste, experimenting with eco-friendly products and decarbonising the fleets used to transport their materials.

Logistics, in fact, makes for an important part of the sector’s operations as it is used both to fetch waste for co-processing and to transport cement across the country from the plants. Recently Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited (DCBL) announced its e-truck initiative — shift to an electric vehicle (EV) fleet for transportation.

The first two e-trucksalready in operation will transport slag, a major raw material for cement, from the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) at Rourkela to its manufacturing unit in Rajgangpur. By the end of the year, DCBL hopes to have 22 high-capacity electric trucks. “By introducing our EV fleets nationally in partnership with SAIL, we are confident we will be carbon negative by 2040,” says Mahendra Singhi, MD and CEO, DCBL.

Ambuja Cements is running its captive fleet of ships on biofuel. Last year, in April, it successfully completed sea trials for two cement carriers — Ambuja Mukund and Ambuja Vaibhav — using soya extract-based biofuels. According to Neeraj Akhoury, CEO India, Holcim Group, and MD and CEO, Ambuja Cement Ltd, the source material for these biofuels is crude palm oil and used cooking oil from hotels and restaurants. “We also utilise waste from different industrial, agricultural, and municipal sources as alternative fuels and raw material,” he says, adding that the company aims to consume 13.5 million tonnes of waste-derived resources by 2030.

And what are the cost and environment benefits? Akhoury says biofuel costs between ₹65 and ₹70 per litre, as compared to ₹85- 90 for conventional fuel. Alternative sulphur-free fuels and biofuels help decarbonise shipping.

He estimates biodiesel will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from shipping lines by 25 per cent. DCBL, which pioneered the production of green cement, emphasises also on the goal of lowering carbon emissions and optimising logistics cost.