Green Cement Technology: Current Scenario and Future Prospects
Green Cement is defined as a cementitious material that either exceeds or meets the functional performance capabilities of an ordinary Portland cement (OPC) by incorporating recycled materials, thus reducing carbon dioxide emission emitted during cement production.
The cement and concrete industry sector together are responsible for around 6-8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the incremental improvements in process efficiency to produce ordinary Portland cement, its production is still responsible for contributing significantly to the man-made global carbon emissions. In fact, the percentage of countries committed to peaking their emission is expected to increase from 36% in 2010 to 60% in 2030 (source: Emission Gap Report 2018, United Nations Environment Programme). This is correlated with the steady increase in the production of ordinary Portland cement (OPC). In fact, the cement industry is estimated to contribute to approximately 5% of carbon dioxide emissions.
FIGURE: PERCENTAGE OF GLOBAL GHG EMISSION COVERED BY COUNTRIES
Source: Emission Gap Report 2018, United Nation Environment Programme
Therefore, the cement industry is increasingly facing challenges relating to energy sources, carbon dioxide emissions and the use of alternative materials. This is one of the major factors that are compelling the manufacturers to opt for sustainable ways to conduct cement manufacturing, thus augmenting the green cement market growth. As a result, key players in the industry are continually working in the direction of manufacturing sustainable cement through partnerships, investments, R&D, acquisition and launches and significantly propel the green cement industry.
Recent Developments in the Green Cement Technology
In July 2018, JSW Cement has invested around US$150 million in Fujairah, UAE to set up 1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) clinker unit and a captive power plant, as part of its goal to achieve 20 mtpa capacity by 2020. According to the company, the unit will boost JSW Cement’s leadership as one of the leading producers of green cement.
Lehigh Hanson Inc. is expected to expand its operations in Mitchell, Indiana, by investing approximately $600 million in its Lehigh Cement Company plant to produce sustainable cement using the state-of-the-art technology and the latest in environmental controls and systems.
In November 2018, Hoffman Green Cement Technologies (HGCT) has inaugurated its first green cement plant in Bournezeau, Vendee, France. An investment of EUR 10 million has been done on this project, funded through a public-private investment, that is expected to produce 50,000 tonnes. The green cement will be manufactured using flash-calcined metakaolin and blast-furnace slag. The first project to test this cement is going to be a renovation project by Eiffage of Ateliers Gaite, a real estate complex in Montparnasse, Paris.
Indicative of the growth potential for green cement in developing countries like India, JSW Cement has planned to double the capacity of its Salboni unit from 2.4 mtpa to 4.8 mtpa in February 2019. The manufacturers, that produce environment-friendly Portland Slag Cement (PSC), a green cement, is expanding its capacity at a good rate.
In July 2019, Hoffman Green Cement Technologies and Bouygues Construction have collaborated to develop and test concrete formulations using new cement made from Hoffmann’s H-EVA technology. Bouygues Construction is a global player in construction that is increasingly turning towards sustainable construction to meet the growing regulations related to the environment safety. H-EVA technology is an ettringite technology that uses alkaline activated clay and offers a carbon footprint between 70%-80% lower than a conventional OPC.
Solidia Technologies has launched Solidia Cement, a low-Calcium silicate cement (CSC) that lowers carbon emissions and carbonate concrete, at International Low-Carbon Cement and Concrete Technologies conference. The cement produced will be able to reduce the carbon footprint up to 70% as compared with an ordinary Portland cement (OPC).
What The Future Holds?
As per the international Environmental Agency Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), the direct carbon dioxide emission from the cement has to be decreased from 6-8% in the present to 3% by 2030. This will further compel the manufacturers to focus on reducing the carbon intensity of cement by further improving their existing cement manufacturing techniques, thus accelerating the demand for green cement in the upcoming years.
The burgeoning investments in building green infrastructure will boost green cement market growth since sustainable building construction requires green or sustainable concrete as raw material.
The application of the green cement in the residential space will grow at an impressive rate on account of the growing percentage of sustainable residential construction, as a % of GDP, in developed regions like North America and Europe.
FIGURE: RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION IN SELECTED COUNTRIES IN EUROPE, IN % OF GDP
Fly-ash based products will be the fastest-growing among the products due to its widespread adoption among the players as it tends to improve the workability while reducing the water demand during the construction of fresh concrete. As the water scarcity problem is anticipated to be graver in the future, the demand for such material is poised to grow in the upcoming years.
Therefore, the green cement market size was US$20.535 billion in 2018 and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 9.65% to reach a market size of US$35.680 billion by 2024 on account of growing strictness towards reducing carbon dioxide emission due to construction activities, rising investments in green infrastructure and increasing involvement of the major players to launch sustainable cement for the construction purpose.