TürkCimento’s DigitalCem discusses the way to a net zero emission future

TürkCimento’s DigitalCem discusses the way to a net zero emission future
21 April 2021

TürkCimento, the Turkish cement association, hosted Digitalcem from 20-21 April 2021 and covered discussions in decarbonisation in its opening session and the current state of the cement sector’s path towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Koen Coppenholle, CEMBUREAU CEO, outlined the EU cement sector carbon neutrality roadmap. He advocated that the cement sector should be proud that cement is an enabler of the Green Deal. Cement will allow the construction of green wind energy and transport networks.

He examined the 2050 industry roadmap and stressed that carbon capture will account for around 42 per cent of emission reduction. While carbon capture pilot projects are currently being implemented, Martin Schneider, managing director at the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA), said it will not be until 2030-50 that commercialisation of carbon capture will start to make an impact in reducing CO2 emissions. 

Mr Coppenholle also pointed out that today 48 per cent of fuel requirements in the European cement industry are met by alternative fuels, but that this would rise to 60 per cent by 2030. In terms of biomass, its share will rise from 30 to 50 per cent by 2050. 

Taking up the challenge of being carbon neutral by 2050 is possible, added Claude Loréa, Global Cement and Concrete Association's (GCCA) executive cement director, because the industry has already seen a reduction of 19.2 per cent in emissions per tonne of cementitious material since 1990 and a nine-fold increase in alternative fuel usage since then.

The GCCA is working on its Roadmap to be delivered by the end of 2021. It will build on work already done at the national and regional level, and will gather information how to make savings in building construction and design.

However, it is the breakthrough technologies that will be responsible for almost half of the reduction roadmaps going forward and Ms Loréa stressed that, "we have to have the capture and storage available at the scale we need."

Ms Loréa also stressed the importance of concrete as a carbon sink, its lifetime benefits and its carbon uptake qualities. Carbon pricing initiatives also need to drive emission reductions, but the industry has to guard against carbon leakage with border mechanisms and clear accounting. The GCCA is calling for a symmetric approach across the world and believes it is moving towards this.

Martin Schneider also said that it is now possible to make cements with 35 per cent clinker with CEM IIC and CEM VI cements, and that one cement fits all is no longer the way to look forward. Calcined clays, burnt shale and fly ash cements are also offering more low-clinker cements.

"Carbon capture is the elephant in the room", he stated. "It has to be addressed after all levers for reducing emissions have been exploited."

The online DigitalCem conference continues today with key presentations from Mehrali Ecer, general manager of the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation; Baris Sanli, researcher at Bilkent Energy Policy Research Center, and Yücel Yetiskin, head of training and HSE at the Cement Industry Employers’ Association.

Published under Cement News