Cement sector sets target to cut GHGs by 81%
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The UK's cement manufacturers outline plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by four-fifths by 2050, but say cuts are reliant on carbon capture and the decarbonisation of electricity supplies
The Mineral Products Association (MPA), the body representing the UK cement industry, says the sector can reduce GHG emissions by 81% on 1990 levels by 2050 by improving energy efficiency, cutting emissions from transport, switching to fossil fuel alternatives and by deploying widely carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Under its 2050 GHG reduction strategy, the sector aims to source 80% of its thermal energy from fossil fuel alternatives derived from waste, such as solvents, scrap tyres, sewage and biomass. According to the MPA, burning these fuels in cement kiln has “no negative impact on the environment”.
The sector also plans to improve the thermal energy efficiency of plants by 22%, cut emissions from transport by 60% and replace 30% of high-energy raw materials with alternatives, such as construction waste, gypsum from plasterboard, kiln dust and road sweepings.
However, the sector’s 81% goal can only be achieved if government policies support the development of cost-effective CCS technologies and the transition to low-carbon electricity generation, confirmed MPA.
“Without effort on those elements that are out of our control, we anticipate being able to reduce our GHG footprint by 62% against a 1990 baseline,” said Dr Pal Chana, executive director at the MPA.
“These are ambitious but achievable targets. The industry will look to use every means possible, within strict environmental controls and technical standards requirements, to meet its goals.”
The UK’s cement industry has already reduced absolute CO2 emissions by more than 55% since 1990, and cut nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxide emissions on 1998 levels by 59% and 84% respectively.
In 2011, the sector sourced 40% of its energy from waste-derived fuels. According to the MPA, UK cement manufacturers consume 1.5 million tonnes of waste each year as fuel and raw materials, while producing just 4,600 tonnes.
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