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Cutting the carbon

Published by
World Cement,


Rémi Barbarulo, Holcim, explains how a new green cement range is helping to contribute towards decarbonisation goals.

The global population is on the rise. The future is increasingly urban and 1.6 billion people already lack adequate housing and sanitation. The race is also on to keep our world’s temperature below 1.5°C. Holcim is currently working to turn these challenges into solutions. To meet its objective of decarbonising its products, more than 80% of Holcim’s innovation resources are dedicated to developing sustainable products and solutions, with a strong emphasis on CO2 reduction. By 2030, the group aims to deliver products with an average carbon footprint of 475 kg net CO2 per ton of cementitious material, as announced in the company’s Net Zero Pledge, which has been validated by the Science-Based Targets Initiative.

To make these innovations accessible to its customers, Holcim has recently launched ECOPlanet, its global range of green cement, delivering at least a 30% lower carbon footprint with uncompromised performance. This range is already available in 15 markets, with the objective of doubling its market presence by the end of 2022 to enable low-carbon construction at scale. Holcim is working to make this a reality by improving its energy efficiency and using decarbonated raw materials, but also by using a panel of different solutions, from the use of calcined clays to the upcycling of construction demolition waste.

Initiating a new European standard

In 2009, Holcim, shortly followed by Lafarge, initiated a pre-standardisation research programme to develop new ternary binders with reduced clinker content. Its objective was to allow, in the European standards, the use of ternary blends with limestone, to make the most of the synergy between aluminium-bearing mineral components and carbonates.

The programme was followed by an official standardisation process, resulting in the release, in 2021, of the new European cement non harmonised standard EN 197-5. This standard allows the production and use of two main types of cements:

  • CEM II/C-M: Ternary blends with clinker (between 50 and 64%) and two other main constituents from among limestone (between 6 and 20%) blast-furnace slag, silica fume, fly-ash, natural pozzolan, natural calcined pozzolan, and burnt shale.
  • CEM VI: Ternary blends with clinker (between 35 and 49%), blast-furnace slag (between 31 and 59%) and a third constituent (between 6 and 20%) among limestone, natural pozzolan or siliceous fly-ash.

Holcim Germany developed and launched its first CEM II/C product in October 2021. The ECOPlanet C4, a CEM II/C-M (S-LL) 42.5 N, set a new record in terms of CO2 footprint in Holcim Germany’s CEM II cement category. In terms of CO2 footprint, it is in the same category as a CEM III/A and has a 43% lower CO2 footprint compared to a CEM I. It is suitable for use in ready-mix concrete and can be used in all exposure classes.

Eight new CEM II/C and CEM VI cements are currently under development in Europe, and more launches are expected in 2022.


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Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/special-reports/21032022/cutting-the-carbon/

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