Cement sector decarbonisation: the business case

Published 18 April 2023

To achieve its 2050 target of net zero cement production, the cement sector will need to apply a range of decarbonisation strategies. However, high capital costs and limited market experience are key barriers to rapid deployment. In the USA, several regulatory incentives are available while the voluntary carbon market offers further opportunities. By Kayla Carey, Zach Harmer, Braeden Larson and Wilson Fong, ClimeCo, USA.

Eco Material Technologies turns landfilled coal ash into a reliable product for the concrete industry at its Montour

ash harvesting and beneficiation plant in Pennsylvania, USA (© Eco Material Technologies)

The cement industry faces increasing pressure to decarbonise from key stakeholders, including buyers, regulators, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations and investors. In response to the proliferating need for climate action, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), representing 80 per cent of the industry aside from China, announced a sector-wide net zero goal by mid-century. The US Portland Cement Association established a similar goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To meet targets, the cement industry must address hard-to-abate process emissions released during clinker calcination, which contributes over half of the emissions from cement production and cannot be reduced through traditional fuel switching or efficiency approaches.

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