There has been an increasing global commitment to respond to the threat of climate change. The Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
To achieve these ambitious targets, fundamental changes are needed to reduce the amount of CO2 that we emit from industrial processes and energy generation.
The demand for cement and lime is set to continue to increase, driven by the long term growth of the global economy and development of many markets across the world.
Lime is an essential substance used in a variety of applications including in the iron and steel, chemical, paper and pharmaceutical industries. Cement is already one of the most widely used (building) materials on the planet, fulfilling an essential role in providing society’s need for housing and infrastructure. It currently accounts for 5 % and 7% of global anthropogenic emissions, making it the largest single source of CO2 emissions.
The cement and lime sectors directly employ more than 388,000 people in Europe, making an important economic contribution to the region, so it is important to find suitable technological solutions to help mitigate the process emissions from these industries. However, up to 60 percent of CO2 emissions are released directly and unavoidably from the processing of the raw materials – not from the combustion of fossil fuels. This occurs in both lime and cement manufacture via the following reaction:
CaCO3 (limestone) + heat -> CaO (lime) + CO2 (carbon dioxide)
Since 1990 the largest multinational cement companies have reduced their CO2 emissions by a range of 20-25% for their worldwide operations. They have done so by improving energy efficiency and using waste derived fuels and raw materials, as well as replacing the energy-intensive clinker by other constituents in cement or concrete.
However, in order to reach the EU’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, carbon capture technologies will need to be applied to the majority of European cement plants, and LEILAC is uniquely placed to support Europe to achieve these targets in a timely, effective and efficient manner.