India’s central bank urges cement sector to cut emissions


India’s central bank urges cement sector to cut emissions


In a recent report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) pushed for technological intervention to address carbon emissions from the cement industry to help India meet its net-zero emission targets.

India has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 at the Glasgow Climate Summit held in November 2021. The road to this goal, however, is not easy, as India focuses on growing per-capita energy consumption and addressing expanding urbanization.

The RBI stated in one of its recent bulletins that with the country aiming to meet half of its energy needs from renewables and reduce the economy’s carbon intensity by 45% by 2030, it requires a policy relook across sectors, especially where carbon emission is high, and cement industry is one of them.

It stated that recent advances in green technology, particularly those connected to reverse calcination, offer “exciting opportunities” for the cement industry.

On a global scale, cement production accounts for around 8% of anthropogenic carbon emissions. China is the world’s largest cement producer, accounting for over 55% of global output. India is the world’s second-largest cement producer and user, accounting for more than 8% of the global installed capacity that is likely to rise further.

According to the RBI report, India’s cement production is predicted to reach 381 million tonnes by fiscal year 2021-22, while consumption is expected to be about 379 million tonnes. It emphasized that a renewed focus on large infrastructure projects such as the National Infrastructure Pipeline, low-cost housing, and the push for the Smart cities are expected to stimulate cement demand in the future.

Considering the future development, the RBI has urged that India’s economic goals be aligned with its climate pledges through developing green tech solutions.

Studies show that trapping carbon dioxide emissions before they enter the environment and storing them away through reverse calcination is the most effective way to decarbonize the cement industry, stated RBI. Currently, reverse calcination has the potential to sequester up to 5% of cement emissions, which might increase to 30% with technological advancement. This method can be improved further by using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to perform the calcination process.

According to RBI, India’s domestic cement sector has made remarkable progress in reducing carbon emission levels by almost 36% between 1996 and 2017, from 1.12t/t to 0.719t/t of cement produced. However, to cut it in half and reach the aim of 0.35t CO2/t of cement by 2050, the cement sector will need to invest between US$ 29 billion and US$ 50 billion, according to the report.

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