Cement Association targets ‘concrete zero’ by 2050

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Cement Association of Canada together with its members and partners has released Concrete Zero, a plan it says will ensure the nation’s cement and concrete industry achieves its carbon emissions reduction goals by making cement net zero by 2050.

“Our Net-Zero Action Plan is ambitious,” said the association’s CEO Adam Auer in a statement Tuesday announcing the plan. “Working with government, industry, and partners in the design, architecture, and construction industry will be essential for success. “

The CAC, which represents five vertically integrated  cement companies,  has charted a course towards achieving a 40 per cent  emissions reduction by 2030 as part of the Roadmap to Net-Zero Carbon Concrete by 2050 – a joint government-industry collaboration. It is also transitioning to lower-carbon fuel sources, producing carbon-reduced cements and concretes, and using clean technologies. The CAC says the cement and concrete industry is the first to join Canada’s Net Zero Challenge – putting it at the leading edge of transparently disclosing and verifying carbon emission reductions.

The government of Canada along with sectors including the oil sands have committed to reaching net zero by 2050, with the City of Toronto targeting 2040 to meet the  target where greenhouse gas emissions  are eliminated or offset.

To reach net zero, the concrete industry will focus its efforts in the following five priority areas:

  • Eliminating the use of coal and petroleum coke as fuel sources for clinker production, while increasing the use of lower-carbon and alternative fuels – including engineered biomass and green hydrogen – which will help drive down emissions. By 2050, 100 per cent of fuel mix will come from non-fossil-based sources.
  • Reducing the volume of clinker used to produce cement – which will achieve a 1.5 Mt CO2 emissions reduction over the course of the decade. After 2030, the use of innovative materials, natural pozzolans, and beneficiated waste and recovered materials will increase. In 2050, 4.8 Mt CO2 in emissions reductions will be realized from the reduction of clinker in cement, and cement in concrete compared to a business-as-usual scenario.
  • Increasing the use of supplementary cementitious materials in the form of fly ash and ground granulated blast-furnace slag will also play an important role, as will introducing ground limestone, recycled concrete fines, calcined clays, and other new promising materials.
  • Working towards building carbon capture, utilization and storage capacity. Part of that effort will be to build – by 2030 – North America’s first commercial deployment of a full-scale carbon capture and storage project at a cement plant.
  • Advocating for performance-based codes, standards and specifications, procurement policies, and increased material efficiency in construction.




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