Green cement - there are solutions

Green cement - there are solutions

The production of concrete, or more accurately cement, accounts for between 5-8% of global GHG emissions. This is a similar scale to the GHG emissions of passenger cars. There are solutions - and not all revolve around new technologies.

Summary: The production of concrete, or more accurately cement, accounts for between 5-8% of global GHG emissions. This is a similar scale to the GHG emissions of passenger cars - but it gets a lot less attention. We think this needs to change, especially as increasing urbanisation will mean we are likely to use more concrete in the future, not less.

Why this is important: Unlike passenger cars, where we have a financially and technically viable alternative (electric vehicles or EV's), the current low carbon alternatives to traditional cement are niche products, and they look hard to scale. We will need a lot of work, and investment, over the coming decade or more if we are to get close to decarbonising this important industry. And we need to start now.

The big theme: The so-called hard to decarbonise sectors, steel, cement, chemicals, and some forms of transport, are currently massive contributors to GHG emissions and environmental (& social) harm. Yes, we need to focus on green electricity, and EV's, but we also need to start tackling the harder challenges - which means investment and financial support.



The Detail


Summary of a study to be published in Resources, Conservation & Recycling

  • This paper is currently only in prepublication format, but its still worth highlighting, partly as it's written by some leadign figures in the industry. These include Chris Cheeseman from Imperial College London. Their study examined various solutions that offer the potential to reduce the GHG emissions from cement production. These included clinker substitution, use of alternative fuels, improved kiln efficiency, and carbon capture and storage.

  • Their conclusion is that together (our emphasis) there is the potential to reduce emissions by up to 88%. Good, but not 100% ie net zero. But, to be fair, there are other techniques, mostly around building design and concrete production, that could add to this figure.

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