The cement industry on the way to a low-carbon futureCement will be indispensable for a long time as a construction material for a wide range of buildings, infrastructure and transport systems. As a major global emitter of CO2 the cement sector is expected to make a significant contribution to lower global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions in order to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C by 2100. The CO2 reduction that the cement sector is expected to achieve is based on parallel paths. All of them contribute to the overall mitigation, but each to a different degree and with different timelines.
The conventional measures can be implemented according to the various roadmaps, the main lever being the reduction of the clinker factor besides the increase in thermal efficiency and the use of alternative fuels. New binding materials can play a role in the long term future, but the application will be mostly in niche markets. Carbon capture as a breakthrough technology is still in its early stages but will be needed to substantially lower global CO2 emissions from the cement sector. This will require huge investments, also CO2 transport and storage infrastructure has to be built up.
Finally, a low-carbon economy and value chain must be supported. A lower clinker content in cement can only contribute to global CO2 savings once these cements find their way onto the market. Appropriate indicators must be developed and implemented to support the application of low-carbon concretes, always ensuring that a sufficient high quality level is maintained for safe buildings.
Although the challenges which the cement sector faces are high, the analysis clearly shows that the necessary measures are available to guide the cement industry on its way towards a low-carbon future.
|Author: M. Schneider
|Section: Ecology and safety
|Keywords: CO2 emissions, cement production, clinker factor, alternative fuels, alternative binding materials.
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