International Energy Day sees Cemex focus on sustainable energy use towards net zero CO2

International Energy Day sees Cemex focus on sustainable energy use towards net zero CO2
19 February 2021

On International Energy Day (14 February 2021), Cemex UK highlighted its drive to reduce its carbon footprint by promoting the use of renewable and sustainable energy sources and the reduction of fossil fuels. While setting energy reduction targets is important, consistently improving energy resource management and lowering energy consumption to achieve them is key. However, this will require Cemex to invest, research and collaborate with other industry participants in many areas rather than rely on a single solution.

Renewable energy
Since 2019 Cemex UK has used 100 per cent renewable electricity at all sites supplied by energy, services and regeneration group ENGIE. The group has been providing electricity to over 150 Cemex UK sites for more than 10 years and it also benefits from ENGIE's demand-side services, such as load management, thereby avoiding peak tariffs. The commitment has helped to drive the company's decarbonisation agenda in the UK.

A similar project has been started by Cemex at its 32 building materials sites in Poland. All electricity purchased now comes from renewable sources such as wind energy, via its long-standing energy partner PGE Obrót.

Furthermore, in September 2020 Cemex announced that, together with partner Synhelion, innovative technology has been developed that eliminates CO2 emissions in cement production by using solar energy. CO2 emissions will be captured and then converted into synthetic fuels using Synhelion technology.

Carbon capture initiative
On 9 February 2021, Cemex also announced that its US operations have been awarded a grant from the US Department of Energy to research, engineer and develop a pilot plant for carbon capture at the company's Victorville cement plant in California, USA. The specific objectives of this project also include the development, optimisation and scale-up of specific CO2 capture process components, as well as the incorporation of next-generation non-aqueous solvents.

The 2030 goal
These and other measures will help Cemex to align with new EU aspirations to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 in Europe and reach the company's global 35 per cent CO2 reduction target a decade early. In March last year the company announced its global roadmap goal to 2030 to reduce 35 per cent of its CO2 emissions to 520kg CO2/t of cementitious product from the 1990 base level (800kg CO2/t of cementitious product). Cemex explained that the main levers to achieve this include alternative fuels (32 per cent), clinker factor (31 per cent), decarbonated raw materials (16 per cent), low-temperature and low-CO2 clinker (16 per cent) and hydrogen injection (five per cent). To date these levers have enabled the company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 22 per cent from the 1990 levels. 

The company's recent success at launching Vertua® concrete in Europe and Mexico, which offers 70 per cent less CO2 emissions than traditional concretes, also indicates that there is growing customer demand for lower-carbon products in the construction sector.

Is net-zero achievable?
However, the bigger goal is to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050. This will need carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) projects, new concrete technologies and circular economy integration. It is a huge leap to make, but Cemex’s USA President, Jaime Muguiro, believes it is achievable. "Cemex is committed to being part of the solution to reduce carbon emissions globally and to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete to all of our customers by 2050," he said. "We cannot achieve these without innovative technology and collaborative relationships with both public and private organisations who share a commitment to climate action."

Cemtech's Live Webinar on 3 March 2021 will feature 'Advanced pyroprocessing and kiln control technologies' with presentations from Cemex, Mirion Technologies, HGH Infrared Systems and Calderys. Register for free on this link. 

Published under Cement News