Cement production causes approximately 8% of global man-made CO2 emissions. 50% of carbon emissions happen during clinker production, 40% come from the burning of the fuels to heat the cement kiln. 10% come from electricity use and transportation. Previously the rate was 5% but it has increased and reached 8%.
As CO2 emission is increasing, it has become a headache for the entire world. And they are working on it to reduce carbon emissions in the cement industry. The CSI (Cement Sustainability Initiative) has provided four levers that can help to reduce carbon emissions in the cement industry.
In this article, we have discussed the four levers of carbon emissions reduction. So, be with us till the end and learn how carbon emissions can be reduced.
How to Reduce Carbon Emissions in Cement Industry?
Researchers have started their research work about how to reduce carbon emissions in the cement industry and they are working on reducing it to zero. Carbon emissions in the cement industry is a worldwide concern and the CSI has also had research on this. They have discussed four levers that can help to reduce carbon emissions.
- By Improving Energy Efficiency.
- By using alternative fuels.
- By reducing the clicker-to-cement ratio.
- By capturing Carbon in storage.
Now let’s learn about them in-depth.
1. Improving Energy Efficiency
The first lever says that, in the cement industry, improving energy efficiency can reduce carbon emissions. Improving energy efficiency means, you will require less energy for producing cement and as a result, carbon emissions will be decreased. It can be done by using efficient kilns, motors, and other equipment in the industry.
Improving energy efficiency can help to reduce carbon emissions in the cement industry by 20%.
2. Using Alternative Fuels
In the cement industry, fossil fuel like coal or petcoke is used as fuel for heating up the kilns for producing cement. Fossil fuels have a higher carbon emission rate. And that’s why using alternative fuels like natural gas, biomass, pre-treated industrial and municipal waste, waste oil and solvents, etc. are suggested.
Compared to fossil fuels, these fuels are lesser carbon intensive, and by using them, carbon emissions of up to 25% can be reduced.
3. Using Alternatives of Clinker
Clinker is the intermediary product of cement and it’s a carbon-intensive material. Though due to this material, cement is capable of providing enough compressive strength, it produces a large amount of carbon during cement production. While producing clinker, per ton it emits about 840 kg CO2 whereas the allowable limit is lower than 400 kg per ton of cement. Clinker usage can be removed totally but the ratio can be decreased.
According to the experts, if the percentage of clinker is reduced to 30% to 40% then there will be no issue with the compressive strength of cement. With clinkers other materials can be used such as fly ash, furnace slag, natural pozzolanas, etc. can be used. And due to this, carbon emissions can be reduced by up to 40%!
4. Capturing Carbon in Storage
Capturing Carbon in Storage or CCS is one of the key levers that can help to reduce the carbon emission in the cement industry. Carbon that emits during power generation and cement process, can be captured in storage by using CCS technology. They are able to capture a decent amount of carbon and there you will find advanced CCS that are able to capture 90 or 100%!
The CCS plants are directly attached to the kilns and when carbon emits, it starts capturing and storing carbon. After capturing, carbon will be stored in a secure place where it won’t be exposed to the environment. Also, it can be used for Enhanced Oil Recovery. So, the industry could make some extra bucks by selling the stored carbon to the EOR industry.
Lastly, by following the aforementioned levers, cement industries can lower carbon emissions globally. But following them won’t be easy and they have their own limitations. However, if they can overcome the limitations then in the future, cement industries will emit lesser carbon, and maybe they make it ZERO! None of us have seen the future, have we?