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Low-Carbon or Carbon-Negative Alternatives to Portland Cement

There are several initiatives around the world, working on developing alternative cements with mechanical properties comparible, or superior, to portland cement but have a smaller and in times negative (claimed) carbon footprints.  Great majority of these alternatives are at pilot scale and their economic viability and long-term sustainability remains unproven.  More importantly, the confirmity of these products with the strong material and construction standards of the construction industry is not yet established.  These products will also need to gain customer acceptance.  

Information on examples of such developments is given below. 

Low-Carbon or Carbon-Negative Alternatives to Portland CementTechnologies & Measures

Technology or MeasureEnergy Savings PotentialCO2 Emission Reduction Potential Based on LiteratureCostsDevelopment Status
Magnesium Oxide Based Cement

As the process requires lower thermal energy energy savings are likely to arise.  

According to the company, the process of producing 1 ton of Novacem absorbs up to 100 kg more COthan what is emitted. It is claimed that for every tonne of ordinary Portland cement replaced by Novacem cement, around 0.75 tonne of CO2 could be captured and stored indefinitely in construction products.

According to the company the production cost of Novocem is similar to the cost of Portland Cement

Demonstration
RecoCement

Production of RecoCement does not require any thermal energy.  Electricity is likely to be used for grinding and mixing.  

Because only readily available by-products are used, production of RecoCement is claimed to be carbon neutral. 

US Flag

According to the company, every ton of Portland Cement substituted by RecoCement saves around 1 ton of CO2 emissions.

No cost information available. 

Commercial
CeraTech - Ekkomaxx

Production of the ekkomaxx does not require the thermal energy. 

US Flag Every ton of Portland Cement replaced by ekkomaxx approximately 1 ton of CO2 can be saved. 

Not available.

Commercial
High Activation Grinding

For every ton of clinker replaced by fly ash, granulated blast furnace slag, or other additives using mechanical activation grinding, the amount of energy used for the production of one ton of clinker can be avoided which could be in the rage of 3.0 – 5.5 GJ/t clinker in fuel energy and 60 – 100 kWh/t clinker in electricity depending on the technologies used for clinker production and various other factors.

For every ton of fly ash, granulated blast furnace slag, or other additives using mechanical activation grinding process and fuel related CO2 emissions related to one ton of clinker can be avoided. 

Not available

Demonstration
Calera SCM

Not available.

For every ton of Calera SCM products used, CO2 emissions corresponding to the production of one ton of Portland cement can be avoided. 

Not available.

Demonstration
Geopolymer Cements

Thermal and electricity saving potential depends strongly on energy demand for activator production

Fro evergy ton clinker substituted by Geopolymer Cement, approximately 0.52 ton of process related CO2 emissions can be avoided. 

Demonstration

Low-Carbon or Carbon-Negative Alternatives to Portland Cement Publications

Development of State of the Art Techniques in Cement Manufacturing: Trying to Look Ahead

The report represents the independent research efforts of the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA) to identify, describe and evaluate technologies which may contribute to increase energy efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from global cement production today as well as in the medium and long-term future.