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It's an oft-repeated statistic that cement production accounts for 7% of all CO2 emissions worldwide. Thankfully, the cement industry continues to make steps towards reducing its environmental impact.

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Lehigh Cement and the International CCS Knowledge Centre recently announced a feasibility study of a full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. The study will investigate capturing the majority of the CO2 from flue gas produced by the Edmonton, Alberta, cement plant, thus significantly reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of HeidelbergCement, was quoted as saying: “This is a North American first in the cement industry to examine the feasibility of full-scale CCS as a definitive solution to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A 90 – 95% CO2 capture rate is targeted at our Edmonton cement plant. The project is another important milestone on our path to become carbon neutral in concrete by latest 2050.”

Lehigh Cement isn’t the only industry player looking to make drastic cuts to emissions over the coming years: FLSmidth recently announced their ‘MissionZero’ sustainability programme, which is targeting zero emissions cement plants and mining processes by 2030. The company estimates that it can reduce CO2 emissions per kilogram of cement by 70% through the utilisation of existing technologies and continued R&D. The company is working on a range of solutions, such as blending clinker with alternative materials, exploring new types of cements and 100% alternative fuelled cement plants including waste-to-energy solutions.

FLSmidth’s CEO, Thomas Schulz, elaborated on the rationale behind the programme: “We are doing it because it is necessary, because it is sound business, and because it provides us with a competitive edge. […] MissionZero goes beyond what is feasible today, and requires a paradigm shift in how industry players collaborate and innovate.” You can read more about MissionZero in FLSmidth’s article, The Zero Emissions Mission, on p. 75.

thyssenkrupp are also making strides towards an environmentally sustainable cement industry with their #grey2green programme and green polysius® cement plants. The company has a range of solutions designed to meet some of the industry’s most pressing needs, such as: emissions reduction, resource preservation, production optimisation, and energy efficiency. You can find out more about these solutions by attending the upcoming World Cement webinar on 10 December: Heading from #grey2green – the path to a sustainable future in the cement business. You can register to attend here:

As the nights draw in (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) and the year comes to a close, it is tradition to take stock and look back at the months just gone. However, in order to succeed in an increasingly competitive and environmentally conscious world, the cement industry will need to look to the future.

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