Lime production in Great Britain to be net zero by 2040

Lime production in Great Britain to be net zero by 2040
23 June 2023

Lime producers in Great Britain have launched an ambitious plan to accelerate decarbonisation and deliver net negative carbon emissions by 2040, reports the Mineral Products Association (MPA). Spearheaded by the industry’s trade body, MPA Lime, the Net Negative 2040 Roadmap explains how the sector can go beyond net zero a decade ahead of the UK’s overall 2050 target by deploying technologies such as fuel switching and carbon capture, as well as recognising lime’s natural carbon-absorbing properties.

The sector’s two main products – high calcium quicklime and dolomitic lime (dolime) – are extremely versatile and vital to numerous everyday essentials. Since 2005, action and investment in the best available technology by British lime producers has already resulted in a reduction in absolute carbon emissions of around 25 per cent.  Now, the industry’s net negative roadmap identifies further technologies and infrastructure to fully decarbonise British lime production as well as outlining the enabling actions required by government and other industries in the supply chain.

International research confirms that around one third of the carbon dioxide from lime production is naturally reabsorbed from the atmosphere back into lime products – a process known as carbonation – but this is yet to be recognised in carbon accounting methodologies. Combining the industry proposed developments with the enabling action by government and the natural effects of carbonation, means the production of British lime could become net negative by 2040, and make a positive and ongoing contribution to addressing climate change.

Richard Stansfield, chair of the MPA Lime management committee, said, “The British lime and dolime industry has already achieved remarkable progress in both business commitment and tangible actions to decarbonise and play its part in tackling climate change.  The publication of our Net Negative 2040 Roadmap is a milestone on the journey and serves to communicate, as well as incentivise, the changes that are essential for the future.  The pace of change must accelerate and we are jointly committed to ensuring that it does. Importantly, we can’t achieve this alone. Reaching and exceeding net zero will also require some key enabling action by government and others.”

The MPA Lime Net Negative 2040 Roadmap identifies five key levers to the decarbonisation of lime production - product carbonation, fuel switching, reduction of indirect emissions from electricity use, reduction of emissions from transport and materials, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). CCUS is expected to account for more than half of emissions from lime production, according to the MPA.

Mike Haynes, director of MPA Lime, said, “Each lever will contribute to decarbonisation – many initiatives are happening already or will come on stream this decade – and in combination they will deliver a dramatic carbon reduction to reach zero by 2040. In addition, the combination of using biomass fuels with carbon capture and lime product carbonation will result in removal of 250,000t of atmospheric carbon dioxide every year, making the sector net negative overall. Other levers, especially indirect emissions and transportation, require broader collaboration and enabling action by government and other industries.”

Published under Cement News