April 26, 2023 : In a first-of-its-kind initiative in India, inland and coastal waterways have been leveraged by UltraTech Cement Limited, the cement flagship company of Aditya Birla Group (ABG), to transport phosphogypsum consignment.
The consignment of 57,000 metric tons (MT) of phosphogypsum was transported in a bulk cargo carrier from Paradeep port in Odisha and reached the jetty of UltraTech Cement’s integrated cement unit, Gujarat Cement Works (GCW) located in Kovaya of Amreli district in Gujarat on April 26, 2023.
UltraTech, India’s largest cement and ready-mix concrete (RMC) company, has institutionalised ABG’s sustainability framework in its endeavour to drive sustainability across the value chain of its operations. Circular Economy is one of the key focus areas of sustainability for UltraTech.
Mr K C Jhanwar, Managing Director, UltraTech Cement Limited, said, “The cement industry plays a pivotal role in driving the circular economy in India through the use of industrial and municipal waste in cement manufacturing. This industry-first initiative of UltraTech in using inland and coastal waterways for transport of phosphogypsum will help to further strengthen the role of the cement sector in driving circular economy in India.”
UltraTech has sourced the phosphogypsum from Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), and Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL). Phosphogypsum is a by-product of phosphatic fertilizer plants.
The cement industry is at the heart of the circular economy framework in India. The use of large quantities of industrial waste and municipal waste in cement manufacturing helps to substantially reduce the burden on landfill as well as reduce potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from conventional waste disposal methods such as incineration.
Legacy stock of phosphogypsum in India is estimated to be about 70 million metric tons (MMT). Given that the total cement production in India during FY23 was 400 MMT, the cement industry has the potential to use about 16 MMT of phosphogypsum annually.
This pioneering initiative of UltraTech to transport phosphogypsum through inland and coastal waterways has demonstrated the use of ‘Multimodal Supply Chain’ as a cost viable and safe transport option for other cement companies to replicate. The use of fertiliser industry by-product phosphogypsum in place of mineral gypsum as alternative material in cement manufacturing will help reduce dependence on mining of mineral gypsum in the country. This will also save precious forex for India as mineral gypsum is primarily imported. UltraTech will continue to leverage inland and coastal waterways for transport of phosphogypsum from Paradeep basis the production requirements at its Gujarat Cement Works factory.
The reutilisation of phosphogypsum, which is otherwise disposed of as industrial waste, has been identified as a key part of the circular economy vision enunciated by the Government of India. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) focuses on gypsum reutilisation towards promoting circular economy in India.
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