CO2 Reduction in the Cement Industry

The cement industry worldwide is projected to emanate about 6% of the total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Globally, the cement industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of current anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. World cement demand and production are increasing considerably, resulting to an upsurge in this industry’s total energy use and CO2 emissions. Development of better energy-efficiency and CO2 emission-reduction technologies and their positioning in the market will be key for the cement industry’s long-term climate change extenuation strategies.

Novelties will include development of different processes and materials for cement production or technologies that can frugally capture and store the industry’s CO2 emissions. Finding a new, broadly applicable solution will not be easy, because the world needs so much cement. It is the supplest, cheap and commonly used building material. Total Portland cement volume which makes up to 20% of concrete by weight, has more than tripled in the last 20 years, with most of the growth being attributed to China alone.

As China slows, another wave of countries such as India, Turkey and Indonesia may take over as growth drivers, plus the U.S. if needed infrastructure rebuilding takes off. Global cement production growth may stay in the 2 to 4 percent range for a long time.  New plants being built in developing countries are much more efficient than the oldest plants in the world.

Although natural or waste materials such as rice hulls, limestone, blast furnace slag and some kinds of fly ash can be partially substituted for Portland cement, the very calibration of Portland cement into a small and precise set of high-accomplishment global products has assisted it to become so dominant.

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