Fly-ash-based cement will more than double to a $47 billion market by 2018, driven by the industry’s sustainability goals – use of fly ash is the simplest and most cost-effective option to reduce carbon emissions from cement-making. However, without new innovations, overall emissions from the cement industry could still rise by 31 per cent in five years due to increased global production, according to Lux Research.
“Cement accounts for 6 per cent of human carbon emissions, and the industry is growing rapidly. Fly ash can help, but cement makers will need to make greater use of natural gas and concentrated solar power, as well as other material substitutions, to keep the absolute emissions at the same level over the next five years,” said Aditya Ranade, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Rags to Riches: Waste Incorporation to Cut Cost and Carbon in the Cement Industry.”
Lux Research analysts evaluated the low-carbon cement innovation landscape, assessing the opportunities to reduce emissions. Among their findings:
- Thermo-chemically treated fly ash has potential. Standard fly ash has an upper limit of 50 per cent without compromising on mechanical properties and durability, but newer thermo-chemically treated fly ash from companies like Ash Improvement Technology (AIT) and Ceratech can completely displace conventional ordinary Portland cement (OPC) in a mix.
- Concentrated solar can be disruptive. Stuart Licht at George Washington University, has developed a way to use concentrated solar to power cement production, which has the potential to be a disruptive force in the cement industry in as soon as five years.
- Ecocem, Ceratech and AIT are some of the most promising companies. Among start-ups developing technologies that enable low-carbon cement/concrete products, Ecocem, Ceratech and AIT have gained significant market traction, and all three placed in the “Dominant” quadrant on the proprietary Lux Innovation Grid.
The report, titled “Rags to Riches: Waste Incorporation to Cut Cost and Carbon in the Cement Industry,” is part of the Lux Research Sustainable Building Materials Intelligence service.
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