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All about the cement industry and its decarbonisation. In Europe.

A few days ago we posted about the GHG Protocol, indicating that the cement production is among the main CO2 sources of emissions, after combustion of fossil fuels, forest and other biomass burning.

Indeed a lot is said about cement and concrete these days. But what is this all about? Our reference for this article is the The European Cement Association (CEMBUREAU), organisation of the cement industry in Europe that has been very active in advocating the transiton towards the European Green Deal and decarbonization.

What is the difference between cement and concrete?

Cement is a fine, soft, powdery-type substance, mainly used to bind fine sand and coarse aggregates together in concrete. Cement is a glue, acting as a hydraulic binder, i.e., it hardens when water is added. Everyone knows the word cement, but it is often confused with concrete or mortar. Cement is a key ingredient in both concrete and mortar, and it is always mixed with other materials before use:

  • Cement mixed with water, sand and gravel forms concrete, the main use of cement

  • Cement mixed with water, lime and sand forms mortar

Although the modern version of cement, called Portland cement, was developed and has been improving since early 19th century, the Coliseum in Rome also used concrete in its structure, produced among others, using volcanic ash, a material naturarelly calcined.

Calcination is the transformation of limestone into lime. Inside the kiln of a modern cement installation, this chemical decomposition of limestone, generating typically 60% of total CO2 emissions of the cement manufacturing process occurs. Fuel combustion generates the rest of the CO2.

And clicking at the image below you will be able to navigate in each step of the cement manufacturing process. And for each of the 10 steps indicated, there is a short explanations and a list of related policies such as EU Emissions Trading Scheme, Low carbon economy, Circular Economy, Sustainability assessment and Sustainability standards

And one final reference document, a 38 pages roadmap "Reaching Climate Neutrality Along the Cement and Concrete Value Chain by 2050".





“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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