Low-carbon cement trial cuts CO2 emissions by 60%

Low-carbon cement trial cuts CO2 emissions by 60%
03 March 2022

A UK Government-backed innovation and demonstration programme has successfully developed and trialled new low-carbon cements which have up to 60 per cent lower embodied CO2 emissions than Portland cement, the current market leader in the UK.

Research supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and led by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) reveals that if the new cements are fully adopted in the UK, up to 4Mt of direct CO2 could be saved every year, the equivalent of taking 2.2m cars off the road.

During the two-year Carbon Trust managed Industrial Energy Effiiency Accelerator (IEEA) project, concretes containing 22 low-carbon multi-component cements were extensively tested for their durability and performance. 

In this project, multi-component cements with three main ingredients were developed: CEM I fly ash-limestone powder, and CEM I GGBS-limestone powder. Currently, 79 per cent of UK factory-made cement market sales are CEM I, with a total market of around 10Mta. 

As part of the BEIS IEEA project, the MPA has recommended to the British Standards Institution (BSI) that these new cements should be included in the UK concrete standard (BS 8500) to help designers, specifiers, contractors and the wider construction sector reduce emissions related to the built environment. 

Commenting on the development of the cements, Dr Richard Leese, MPA Director – Industrial Policy, Energy and Climate Change, said: "This is a huge step forward in the delivery of the UK concrete and cement industry’s roadmap to beyond net zero. These new cements have the potential to accelerate real environmental savings for construction projects and complement the sector’s wider decarbonisation programme."

"Following adoption in the British Standard it is important that designers and contractors understand that these are commercially viable materials, tested on UK construction sites with the proven ability to save embodied carbon now."

Published under Cement News