With growing construction and urbanization, new technology can help decarbonize cement production.
Construction of cities is on the rise in many parts of the world, driving up cement production. Most of the industry’s carbon emissions come from the production of clinker, an intermediary product formed by heating calcium carbonate to convert it into lime, the main component of cement.
In 2019, some 4.1 gigatonnes (Gt) of cement were produced globally, with the industry producing approximately 2.5 Gt of CO2 emissions – both directly and indirectly. This accounts for around 7% of total energy-related and process-related CO2 emissions.
At Sumitomo SHI FW, we can provide the technology for cement producers to decarbonize.
There are several options available for partially or fully decarbonizing cement.
There are substitutes for clinker including blast-furnace slag or fly ash that generate lower emissions. The energy used for cement production can also be switched to more sustainable alternatives, either through direct electrification or using biomass and waste-to-energy sources.
Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies address both process and energy emissions from cement production. As carbon capture is never 100% efficient, CCUS technologies should be used in conjunction with bioenergy to produce negative emissions.
Cost considerations are slowing the transition. Production of carbon-zero cement currently costs around double fossil-based cement.
Our calcium-looping technology can be integrated with the cement-manufacture process to enable carbon capture, utilization and storage.
Cement use looks set to keep increasing as existing cities expand and new cities are built. Reducing the associated carbon emissions is a must for the transition to net zero.