The world’s leading cement and concrete manufacturers have joined forces to accelerate the shift to greener concrete by pledging to cut CO2 emissions by a further 25% by 2030, marking a decisive step in the race to net-zero concrete by 2050.
The roadmap, published on 12 October by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), sets out seven steps that will allow the industry to fully decarbonise by 2050.
- Increased clinker substitution: The industry will continue to substitute clinker, the main constituent of Portland cement, with supplementary materials (such as fly ash, ground granulated blast-furnace slag, calcined clays, unburnt and ground limestone or recycled concrete fines), and the GCCA will share best practice models to accelerate its use.
- Fossil fuel reductions and increased use of alternative fuels: The industry will reduce fossil-fuel use at every point in supply and production chains, as well as repurposing waste products as a smart and greener alternative to fossil fuels. To reduce dependence on conventional fuels, GCCA expects alternative fuels to cover 22% of global cement kiln energy usage by 2030.
- Investment in technology and innovation: GCCA will spearhead innovation through its flagship global research network, Innovandi, which focuses on concrete chemistries and kiln technologies, among others. This includes 75 partners in Innovandi and a global innovation challenge matching start-ups with GCCA member companies to accelerate the deployment of promising technologies.
- Novel chemistries and components in cement and concrete manufacturing: Research into innovative cements including both new clinker substitutes and new types of clinker and concrete mix designs.
- Infrastructure development for Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS): GCCA members will build on findings from their existing CCUS pilots in North America, India, China and Europe. The industry has committed to 10 industrial-scale carbon capture plants by 2030.
- Improved efficiency in the design and use of concrete during construction: GCCA will intensify collaboration with the construction industry, design professionals and policymakers to develop the design and procurement framework that will drive efficient use of resources and products, use of reprocessed and recycled material, re-use of elements, and extend the lifetime of whole projects.
- Establishing a policy framework to achieve net-zero concrete: To deliver net-zero concrete by 2050, policymakers should support the creation of a consistent and appropriate global system of carbon pricing to develop a level playing field on carbon costs, avoid carbon leakage and ensure a transition to a net-zero economy. GCCA also called for public financing mechanisms and “fair recognition” of low-carbon production technologies, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage, and for the development of infrastructure and policies that promote a circular economy.
Mark Davis, GridBeyond’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, said:
“There is strong appetite across heavy industrial sectors to accelerate emission cuts and seize the potential opportunities created by the net zero transition. The concrete industry provides a foundation for renewable energy transition and resilient infrastructure, but global cooperation on decarbonising concrete is necessary.
“However, this strategy mentions little about the sector’s potential to support the wider economy’s transition to net zero by providing services to the grid that support higher integration of renewables. At GridBeyond we are supporting the concrete industry to do just that.
GridBeyond works with the aggregates, concrete and cement industry to ensure maximum participation in energy markets, flexibility and demand side response. Using our AI-powered technology, we can help reduce operating costs, boost resilience and secure additional revenue streams with no effect on processes, safety regulations and product integrity.
If you have any questions about the potential for your site, contact our team, or learn more about the complimenting services offered by GridBeyond’s intelligent energy platform, our Point Ai. Services brochure.