Full Title: The 3Cs of Innovation in Low-Carbon Concrete: Clinker, Cement, and Concrete
Author(s): Zhinan Chen and Radhika Lalit
Publication Date: August 16, 2023
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As the Paris Agreement calls for net-zero pathways for all sectors, new and innovative decarbonization technologies are actively being developed across the concrete production value chain. This is a dramatic paradigm shift for the concrete and cement industry. It has been traditionally innovating to optimize for consistent quality, lower costs and higher performance, but now must also look to optimize for lower carbon in cement and concrete. The readily available technologies alone will not get us to net zero. The development and deployment of emerging technologies are necessary for the sector’s decarbonization pathway.
The time is now to invest in low- and zero-carbon innovations in the concrete and cement sector to avoid locking in emissions for the upcoming decades. For the cement industry, the net-zero target in 2050 is only one investment cycle away. Most cement plants undergo major retrofits after about 20–25 years of operation. The average age of cement plants in different regions of the world now range between 10 and 25 years. This means that new plants built today will likely operate beyond 2050, and for most of the existing plants, there will only be one retrofitting opportunity between now and midcentury.