UK’s new low carbon cements can cut carbon emissions by 4m tonnes per year


New low-carbon cements with up to 60% lower embodied CO2 emissions than Portland cement, the current market leader in the UK, have been created and tested thanks to Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator, a UK government-backed research program.

According to the research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and led by the Mineral Products Association (MPA), if the new cements are fully adopted in the UK, up to 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved annually, the equivalent of removing 2.2 million cars from the road.

Carbon Trust launched IEEA project in 2017, in which concretes comprising 22 low-carbon multi-component cements were rigorously evaluated for durability and performance.

Multi-component cements with three primary constituents were created in this project: CEM I-fly ash-limestone powder, and CEM I-GGBS-limestone powder. With a total market of roughly 10 metric tonnes per annum, CEM I currently accounts for 79% of UK factory-made cement sales.

The MPA has proposed that these new cements be included in the UK concrete standard (BS 8500), in order to help designers, specifiers, contractors, and the construction sector reduce emissions connected to the built environment.

Richard Leese, MPA Director – Industrial Policy, Energy and Climate Change, commented on the creation of the cements, “This is a big step forward in the concrete and cement industry's roadmap to net zero emissions in the UK. These new cements have the potential to speed up actual environmental benefits in construction projects while also complementing the industry's overall decarbonization efforts.”

“It is critical that designers and contractors realize that these are economically feasible materials that have been tested on UK construction sites and have proven potential to conserve embodied carbon currently, after their inclusion in the British Standard,” added Leese.

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