Rags to Riches: Waste Incorporation to Cut Cost and Carbon in the Cement Industry

March 25, 2014 | State of the Market Report

The cement industry is responsible for 6% of anthropogenic carbon emissions. Among the technology options to reduce the carbon footprint, incorporation of industrial waste materials like fly ash and blast-furnace slag provide a cost benefit to the end user, even in absence of a price on carbon. As a result, fly-ash-based cement will grow from a $23 billion market today to $47 billion market by 2018. The higher growth rates for such low-carbon blended cement means an overall rise in carbon emissions, despite a decrease in carbon intensity. However, even moderate penetration of natural gas fuel and concentrated solar thermal energy, as well as higher rates of ordinary portland cement (OPC) substitution, can keep the carbon emissions from rising, despite a 34% rise in cement production over five years. Innovative technologies from companies like Ash Improvement Technology and Ceratech would be needed to increase OPC substitution and reduce capital expenditure via co-generation of treated fly ash in coal power plant boilers.

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