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Fields & Applications Environmental, Materials

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Cement Manufacture

Analytical strategies that reduce the environmental impact of cement manufacture

Abstract

The cement industry is accountable for approximately 5% of the worlds artificial carbon dioxide emissions, and it is considered one of the most energy-intensive sectors in the globe. Cement is a vital commodity for the world, and its usage levels reflect the economic importance.

The need to improve long-term sustainability is an ongoing stimulus for change in many industries. Often legislation is deliberately used to initiate reform, with financial penalties and rewards put in place to incentivize a switch to practices and technologies with lighter environmental impacts. However, fresh thinking may also be prompted by a shift in production economics caused by global demand or the geopolitical situation. The price of energy, for example, has exhibited substantial volatility over recent years, transforming the variable cost of production of many products. Such instability causes major swings in the case for economic investment in any given technology, and directly impacts the urgency with which process modifications and developments are considered, to safeguard sustainability.

The cement industry is one of the world’s most energy-intensive sectors and is responsible for ~ 5% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions (Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development). Cement is a crucial global commodity, indeed usage levels are a useful indicator of economic activity, but manufacturers have recognized for some years that to safeguard the industry’s long term health, a reduction in impact is essential. An aggressive sustainability agenda is in place and strenuous efforts are being made to maintain CO2 emissions at their current level whilst continuing to fulfil growing demand. The achievements made can provide useful ideas for other sectors looking to meet similar goals.

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