Development of a New LCA Cement Model to Address Identified Gaps in Assessing Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in the Cement Industry

Main Presenter:    Hiam Dahanni 

Co-Authors:   Eva Quéheille     Lauredan Le Guen      Michel Dauvergne      Christian Cremona      André Orcesi      Anne Ventura                  

The global cement industry, responsible for about 5 to 7% of total greenhouse gas emissions, is actively seeking strategies to reduce its environmental impact. Proposed solutions include enhancing combustion efficiency, adopting renewables or waste incineration, increasing cement’s quality (especially cement strength and cement fineness) in order to use less, and incorporating Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs) from industrial waste. To evaluate these strategies, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models are employed.

A literature review has been conducted on the existing LCA cement models to assess if these above strategies can be assessed by existing LCA models. The literature review highlights several gaps in the current understanding of cement-related environmental assessments. Firstly, there is a lack of scientifically explained relationships to calculate reference flows based on different strength classes, necessary for evaluating material efficiency strategies. Secondly, the existing literature fails to establish a clear, scientifically based link between increased cement quality (fineness) and the corresponding energy consumption during the grinding process. The assessment of waste incineration as a CO2 reduction strategy lacks consistency in allocating emissions and faces variability due to the influential role of secondary fuels, dependent on chosen allocation methods. Lastly, variabilities in recovery processes producing Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs) are not adequately
considered.

The identified gaps prompted the development of a more comprehensive model. Therefore, we propose a generic LCA cement model capable of systematically evaluating environmental impacts based on the specific strategies proposed by the cement industry. It addresses operational measures, cement characteristics, and mix designs to identify efficient pathways toward low-carbon cement production. The model explores the influence of parameters such as grinding energy, heating energy, and secondary fuel use, underscoring the importance of accounting for variabilities in recovery processes producing Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs).

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