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Roadmap paves the way to cleaner, greener concrete


The Cement Industry Federation has commissioned a report detailing eight pathways to decarbonise the cement and concrete industries, with members Boral, Adbri and Cement Australia all aboard.

The report – Decarbonisation pathways for the Australian Cement and Concrete Sector – was written by VDZ, a leading research centre in the field of cement and concrete, with credentials involving the International Energy Agency, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Global Cement and Concrete Association.

Since 2000, the Australian cement and concrete sector has reduced its carbon emissions by 25 per cent, with a broadly accepted goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Today, 55 per cent of the industry’s carbon emissions come from the calcination of limestone into clinker, according to the report.

The remaining emissions originate from the heating of cement kilns and other fuel-based processes (26 per cent), electrical energy usage (12 per cent), and the transport of these heavy materials (7 per cent).

To remove the remaining emissions involved in a pivotal part of Australia’s infrastructural growth, the following 8 pathways were outlined by the VDZ report:

  • Zero emissions electricity and transport.
  • Innovation through design and construction.
  • Continue to further innovate concrete.
  • Use of supplementary cementitious materials in concrete.
  • New carbon dioxide efficient cements.
  • Use alternate fuels and green hydrogen.
  • Account for concrete to reabsorb carbon emissions.
  • Capture remaining carbon emissions.

Several themes arise from this list, including energy efficiency, sustainable materials and carbon capture, all of which are being continuously improved by major manufacturers like Boral, Adbri and Holcim.

A joint release from the Cement Industry Federation, Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia and Smartcrete CRC highlighted the report’s holistic approach to achieving environmental goals.

“The challenge of decarbonising by 2050 will require significant regulatory, structural and behavioural changes across all segments of the cement and concrete value chain,” the report stated.

“It will also require a transition to a ‘market pull’ environment through leadership in government and private sector procurement policies and changes in regulation to safely promote the uptake of lower carbon products.”

In related news, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has appointed Holcim chief executive officer as president of the GCCA.

Already proving his worth to the environmental sector through Holcim’s zero carbon initiatives and products, Jenisch will head the GCCA’s implementation of a 2050 roadmap to net zero which launched in early October.

Jenisch said the industry had a responsibility to both the environment and society to develop sustainable building materials.

“Our industry plays an essential role in society’s development, from housing to infrastructure,” he said.

“With today’s population and urbanisation trends, our greatest challenge and opportunity is to build a net zero future that works for people and the planet.”

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