Clay calcination – accelerating cement’s green transition

Published 30 August 2021

With the cement industry’s goal of working towards saving the planet, FLSmidth proposes a simple switch: replace 30 per cent of clinker with calcined clay for up to a 40 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. In this article the company outlines why the move is not only smart and efficient but is something almost every cement manufacturer could do right now. By Steven Miller, FLSmidth, Denmark.

Figure 1: FLSmidth’s clay calciner system

With seven per cent of all global carbon emissions coming from cement production, the pressure is rising. Environmental regulations grow progressively more demanding. Financiers shy away from emissions-intensive investments. And around the world, citizens, governments and a broad range of other organisations are calling for action on climate change. For the cement industry, it is the perfect storm – and it calls for innovation and ingenuity.

Right now, there is no substitution at scale for concrete. However, we all know that we cannot continue our current practices. To meet its sustainability commitments in line with the Paris Agreement, the industry needs to make some radical shifts. This challenge presents a new opportunity for a centuries-old material combined with some 21st century technology.

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