Why is R&D needed to decarbonize cement?

Cement and concrete are vital components of the nation’s infrastructure as well as in industrial, commercial, and residential buildings that serve citizens and the economy. These resilient materials provide a strong foundation to withstand the severe weather events that are predicted due to changes in climate. this raises the question: what are the key challenges to decarbonization?

Most emissions from cement come from a process step known as pyroprocessing. This is the high-temperature calcination and sintering, of a blended mixture comprised predominantly of calcareous (containing calcium carbonate) raw materials (e.g., limestone, marl, chalk) and clay raw materials (e.g., shale, slate, clay) together with small amounts of other oxides (e.g., those of iron and magnesium). This step is responsible for the vast majority of CO2 emissions from the cement industry.

60% of pyroprocessing emissions are a by-product of cement production. Onsite combustion of fuel to provide the heat required for production account for a further one-third of emissions. To help tackle the challenge of decarbonizing the cement industry, areas of interest include:

  • Next generation Cement/Concrete Formulations and Production Routes;
  • Low Carbon Fuels; and
  • Carbon Capture Technologies.

Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) Activities