Dalmia Cement

System level modelling to pioneer net-zero carbon emissions in cement manufacturing

Shell uses system level modelling to help heavy industry find pathways to decarbonise. We aim to help Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited, a leading Indian cement manufacturer, reach net-zero emissions at one of their cement plants in India.

By Suchismita Sanyal, General Manager for Computational Science on Apr 8, 2021

System level modelling is one of Shell’s key capabilities used in advising hard-to-abate industries about how to improve energy productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We focus on three levers: improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of lower carbon energy sources and deploying carbon sink technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

We have deployed our Integrated Systems Modelling Capability for years to optimise our own plants and processes, such as Gas-to-Liquids, significantly growing our ability to evaluate and analyse scenarios. Our teams integrate High Performance Computing infrastructure, code optimization, and advanced visualisation to achieve faster and sharper insights from computational sciences.

To offer customised solutions to Dalmia Cement, our Computational Science researchers in Bangalore are working together with the Shell TechWorks team in Boston to develop model-based scenario analysis. These models inform a tailor-made roadmap - co-developed with Dalmia Cement - to optimise the pathway for their cement plant to reach net-zero carbon emissions.

"With our leading system modelling capability, we develop innovative and results-focused partnerships, like the one with Dalmia Cement, that will help India’s industry decarbonize and our country grow sustainably."

Nitin Prasad – Shell India Country Chair

Nearly 60% of emissions from cement production come from the process of transforming raw materials into clinker, an intermediary product, making it a true challenge to decarbonise the sector.i Specific niche technologies are required to deliver more substantial reductions, though these are either technologies still under development or require significant investment and coordinated effort to bring up to global deployment scale. In addition, industrial sites have long lifetimes - upgrading or replacing these facilities to lower carbon emissions necessitates extensive planning and cost.  

With data-driven simulations, we can replicate current plant conditions to analyse the systemic impact of changes in technology, fuels or input materials. This is instrumental in quantifying the technological and financial effects of individual emissions mitigation options, to most efficiently reach long-term reduction objectives.

Later on, physics-based modelling allows us to perform detailed mass and energy balance simulations of the plant’s operations. The intrinsic physics, chemistry and engineering elements of the cement manufacturing process, from extraction to packaging, is integrated in our optimisation tool. This provides detailed insights into how any given emissions mitigation option would impact real plant operations.

For example, the physics-based modelling shows how a switch in feedstock would affect both the upstream and downstream production operations. It also tells us if, under this new condition, the plant can still meet its operating requirements such as temperature of kilns (the furnaces used in cement production). The physics-based modelling give insights both on the projected emissions reduction from a change in design or technology and the practical limitations for further abatement under each assumption. Continuously learning and improving from the data stream, the model is currently being further developed to also deliver insights on techno-economic factors and carbon trading options.

We are analysing the model-based scenario closely with Dalmia Cement, who brings valuable sector knowledge and relevant data to further mature our modelling process. The validation of the models by the cement manufacturer’s experts increased its credibility amongst the teams. We are confident that our methodology and the optimization tool can be efficiently customised to provide bespoke decarbonisation pathways for other cement plants around the world.

"Sustainability has always been a way of life at Dalmia Bharat. As global collaborations are crucial for the deep decarbonisation of the industry, it is encouraging to have found an equally strong and committed partner in Shell where the joint teams are co-developing solutions such as system-level modelling to combat the impacts of climate change."

Mahendra Singhi, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Manufacturing feature prominently in our proposed decarbonisation pathways. Digital technologies, machine learning and big data enable a more holistic and better-connected company ecosystem with end-to-end data integration. With data automation, analytics and reporting, manufacturer can manage their operations and supply chains more effectively and efficiently, thus maximising returns and reducing their carbon footprints. Dalmia Cement, along with other industry partners, has expressed interest in multiple digital technologies which Shell is already successfully deploying globally.

Shell has matured and continues to strengthen its modelling capability by working with a wide range of hard-to-abate manufacturing sectors. Our leadership in this space and our dedication to working with customers who share our ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can enable India’s manufacturing industry to thrive through the energy transition.

Suchismita Sanyal is the General Manager, Computational Science at Shell Technology Centre Bangalore. She leads a group of 60 researchers in the Computational Science group in Shell, delivering digital solutions across multiple Shell businesses and designed to position Shell on a stronger foothold in the energy transition.

Arnout de Pee, Dickon Pinner, Occo Roelofsen, Ken Somers, Eveline Speelman, and Maaike Witteveen, “Decarbonization of industrial sectors: the next frontier,” McKinsey & Company (June 2018).
p. 17

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/how-industry-can-move-toward-a-low-carbon-future

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