Cement Industry Can Cut Emissions 18 Percent by 2050: Report

Cement Industry Can Cut Emissions 18 Percent by 2050: Report

A new report looking at the technologies and methods for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the cement industry says it's possible to cut emissions 18 percent by 2050, but only with the help of carbon capture and storage.

"Cement Technology Roadmap 2009," published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Energy Agency, lists what the cement industry, which accounts for around 5 percent of human-related CO2 emissions, needs to do to cuts its emissions, and explains what public and financial support will be needed to make that happen.

After an overview of cement production and a list of low-carbon or carbon-negative cements, many of which we recently covered, the report gives a detailed look at what efforts need to be pushed forward to lower cement's impact: efficiency technologies for new and retrofit kilns, using alternative fuels (natural gas, biofuels, solid waste, discarded tires) instead of coal to heat kilns, substituting materials within cement and utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The roadmap also notes the limits of each effort; research and development needs and goals; the potential impacts on energy, CO2, cement production and investment needs; and what groups (industry, suppliers, government, universities, research institutes) will need to play what roles to make each effort possible.

While the efforts listed are already being used by some in the cement industry, the roadmap explains they all need to be applied more broadly and aggressively, providing a detailed list of public and financial support needed to advance them.

Some of the limits for CCS are the current high cost of capturing carbon, the need for a political framework to limit carbon leakage and the need to make the public more knowledgeable about CCS.

The roadmap is the first report of its kind on the cement industry and was developed over a year of work by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Cement Sustainability Initiative and the International Energy Agency after ministers at the G8 Summit in June 2008 requested a series of roadmaps that advance innovative energy technologies.