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Trends in the global cement industry and opportunities for long-term sustainable CCU potential for Power-to-X

Farfan, Javier, Fasihi, Mahdi, Breyer, Christian
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.217 pp. 821-835
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, carbon, carbon dioxide, cement, chemical industry, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrocarbons, iron, limestone, liquids, natural gas, raw materials, renewable electricity, steel, temperature
In order to achieve targets set by the Paris Agreement and limit global average temperature increase to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, an assessment and a low carbon transformation is needed for all types of human activities. Cement production is associated with high levels of CO2 emissions, with an average of 866 kg of CO2 emitted per ton of cement produced. This positions the cement industry as one of the main sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions accounting for about 5% of the total, right after the chemical industry and more relevant than the iron and steel industry. About 50% of the emissions are caused by burnt fuel, related transport and other inputs, which can be currently substituted by other measures. However, the CO2 emissions which originate from input limestone cannot be avoided. These process CO2 emissions present a potential for carbon capture and utilisation. This research proposes a global potential analysis of CCU as a possible solution for the CO2 emissions of cement production. Cement CCU may establish a substantial route to use CO2 for synthetic hydrocarbons production and thus contribute towards mitigating the non-substitutable CO2 content of the limestone-based raw material. The production of renewable electricity based synthetic hydrocarbon fuels by CO2 captured from cement plants, counts for a potential to produce between 3639 TWhth and 7355 TWhth of liquid hydrocarbons, or 6298 TWhth and 12723 TWhth of synthetic natural gas, or a mix of both at the expected global cement peak production in 2040.