Cement firms burning more waste to cut carbon

With carbon dioxide emissions largely dictated by kiln age and design, cement makers are basing claims of emission cuts at their UK-based plants on greater substitution of coal with "carbon neutral" waste fuels. Sewage sludge and fuel derived from household waste will play a growing role. James Richens reports

The manufacture of cement accounts for about 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions - a massive amount from the production of a single material. But compared to other major emitters such as aviation and electricity generation, the cement industry has escaped public criticism because few people realise it is such a big emitter.

An ENDS survey has found UK production is less efficient than in other countries. There is also major variation in the performance of UK producers, with sites run by Cemex and Lafarge releasing more CO2 per tonne of cement than rivals Castle or Tarmac.

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