The challenge & opportunity in low carbon cement
Cement is a $170bn industry facing a challenge to transform its highly carbon intensive production process to a more sustainable one. A massive opportunity exists for technologies which can meet this challenge.
The industry supplies 2.9bn tonnes of cement to support global economic development every year. Supply is expected to grow at 3-5% per annum, particularly driven by development needs in India and China.
However, the cement production process accounts for up to 5% of man-made emissions of CO2, making the industry one of the largest industrial emitters. Production of one tonne of ordinary Portland cement, the most widely used type of cement, emits an average of 800 kg of CO2. Of the total emissions created in the cement production process, 50% derive from the raw material used (calcium carbonate), 45% from the fossil fuels needed to drive the main chemical reaction and the remaining 5% relate to transport.
The cement industry acknowledges a need to embrace lower carbon solutions, e.g., in the recent Cement Sustainability Initiative Technology Roadmap which incorporated views from the world’s largest cement companies. However, currently proposed solutions will either not deliver the scale of the change needed (e.g., partial replacement of ordinary Portland cement with waste products) or are unproven and uneconomic (e.g., carbon capture and storage).
It is clear that transformational new technologies are needed. Find out how Novacem will meet the challenge