Cement production and processes emit over five per cent of all carbon dioxide emitted by human activity. Reducing that environmental impact is a high priority among cement producers. This presents a challenge for the industry and the proponents of climate change as demand for cement surges globally.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) outlines key strategies to cut carbon emissions in cement production include improving energy efficiency, switching to lower-carbon fuels, promoting material efficiency (to reduce the clinker-to-cement ratio and total demand), and advancing innovative near-zero emission production routes. The latter two contribute the most to direct emission reductions in the Net Zero Scenario.
Digital technologies will enable companies to collate and analyse the data to identify process improvements. Investments in optimising their production equipment and cement quality will also drive investments in digitalization. ABI Research forecasts total spending on digitalization is forecast to reach US$3.54 billion in 2033 (a 5.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR)).
“With all of the above in mind, cement producers are developing risk frameworks that present opportunities for technology suppliers to help firms assimilate information for presenting credentials and performing scenario planning exercises,” says Michael Larner, industrial and manufacturing markets research director at ABI Research.
Cement production accounts for 4% of global warming. However, concrete, from which cement is the main element, is the key material used in the construction industry and will continue to be required for buildings, roads, and infrastructure projects.
“This is the dilemma for the industry and can be considered an opportunity for both engineers and technology suppliers to devise solutions to develop cement that can fulfil industries’ requirements while not decimating the environment,” Larner explains. Digital technologies will have a role to play at the production level, and companies are developing and commercializing their expertise, with both TITAN Cement Group and Heidelberg Materials already commercializing their digital expertise in predictive maintenance and application development, respectively.