During 2011 and 2012 we saw the global consumption of cement rise to new levels of 3585Mt in 2011 and 3736Mt in 2012*. With production rising, the cement industry faces a number of challenges including the scarcity of raw materials, depletion of fossil fuel assets, and the ongoing increase for demand forcing rising global environmental concerns.
Each tonne of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) produced releases on average 0.5 ton to a similar amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. In perspective of man-made carbon emissions, that makes for approximately 5 – 6%. To meet these challenges, cement manufacturers are turning to technology and new production methods to reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions.
Emission reduction is also being driven by governments and regulators, with the introduction of new regulations, environmental taxes and rising fuel prices. To support these impacts, locally available minerals, recycled materials and (industry, agriculture and domestic) waste may be suitable for blending with OPC as substitute, or in some cases replacement, binders.
Some key facts about the Cement Industry:
- 3.4 Billion tons of cement production per year across the world
- Consumes 2% total global energy consumption.
- Global cement industry contributes with around 5% of all man-made CO2 emissions
- A cement plant releases 0.5~1.0 ton of CO2 for every ton of cement produced
- 30~70% of the cost of producing one ton of cement is energy related
- 90% of the energy consumed in a cement plant is thermal
- 3 G. Joules of energy are consumed to produce one ton of cement
To counter this there are environmentally alternative concrete products being offered. These alternatives rely on technological advances that include energy-efficient, low carbon production methods, novel cement formulations, geo-polymers, carbon negative cements and novel concrete products.
These impacts are changing and challenging the cement industry and we are seeing the following impacting cement manufacturers, especially around energy optimization:
- Sustainable Development: People’s Safety
- Sustainable Development: Environment
- Cost Inflation
- Cash constraints for Tier 1 Cement producers
- Emerging markets as the drivers for the sector
- Emerging economies driving growth for Tier 1 Cement producers
- Chinese foreign expansion, it has locally reach capacity saturation.
- Energy demand and supply side transformations
- Market consolidation and globalization
- Differentiation through added value and innovation
There is a clear need to increase the overall Energy Optimization in cement, with technology playing a key role. Leading the change are new solutions around energy monitoring and optimization software, waste heat recovery systems and advanced process control, which we will look at in future blogs.
Changes are abound for cement producers – how are you approaching these changing times?
*Sources: World Business Council for Sustainable Development/The Cement Sustainability Initiative. Cement Industry Energy and CO2 Performance: Getting the Numbers Right, 2009. http://www.groundwork.org.za/Cement/csi-brochure.pdf