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Date: 2020-06-06 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00016322

Materials / Concrete
Innovation in Low-carbon Cement and Concrete

Making Concrete Change: Innovation in Low-carbon Cement and Concrete ... Significant changes in how cement and concrete are produced and used are urgently needed to achieve deep cuts in emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.


Peter Burgess
Making Concrete Change: Innovation in Low-carbon Cement and Concrete Significant changes in how cement and concrete are produced and used are urgently needed to achieve deep cuts in emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Making Concrete Change: Innovation in Low-carbon Cement and Concrete Play Video Key findings There will need to be a step-change in the pace at which lower carbon cements are developed and deployed. While there has been lots of R&D in this area, only some of the products analysed have been commercialized and none have been applied at scale. Deep decarbonization of cement and concrete can be achieved, but there is no silver bullet: it depends on the adoption of a suite of technologies, practices and policies. The key step will be to find the right combination of these for each and every location. Advances in digital technology will play a key role in building the market for novel cement and concrete products by addressing misinformation, enhancing collaboration and disseminating best practices along the value chain. Disruptive trends in the broader construction sector could unlock new opportunities to reduce emissions more quickly. There are significant value creation opportunities for companies that align their strategies with decarbonization, and growing regulatory and political risks for those that are unable to do so. Recommendations Governments and major concrete-consuming companies should grow the market for low-carbon building materials by restructuring procurement processes. This will entail incorporating metrics on ‘embodied carbon’ (the emissions released during production of a material) into procurement processes; setting ambitious carbon-intensity targets for major projects; and engaging with construction companies, design teams, contractors and material suppliers to encourage them to find the lowest-carbon, most viable options for a given project. Governments, cement companies and construction and engineering companies need to build the supply chain for net-zero-emissions materials. This will involve incentivizing investment in distribution networks for clinker substitutes, and in the additional processing equipment and storage infrastructure that may be required; and scaling up best-practice dissemination and support to make the use of novel products viable. Industry stakeholders, governments and research funds should expand the portfolio of next-generation materials by providing sustained funding for R&D; supporting and collaborating on large-scale demonstration projects; enhancing joint R&D capacity (e.g. through innovation challenges, patent pools and patent legislation); and developing effective diagnostic and field-based detection tools for assessing the strength and durability of concrete. Material-science laboratories, universities, cement companies and engineering firms should work with leading technology firms and internet platform providers to harness digital disruption in the sector. Their collaboration should explore the beneficial uses of machine learning and wider AI, and establish open innovation platforms for assessing the potential of digital technologies in the sector. Collaboration will also necessarily entail building the stack of digital assets, so that real-time decision tools, supply chain optimization and lesson-sharing from experience can be integrated into the development and commercial roll-out of new materials and blends. Governments, cement companies, construction companies and cities should establish partnerships for climate-compatible pathways. They will need to agree international commitments on a net-zero-emissions, resilient built environment; set science-based targets as soon as possible and work together to achieve them; mobilize a coalition to explore what it would mean to have a ‘circular’ built environment and scale up finance for sustainable infrastructure.
Authors Johanna Lehne Former Research Associate, Energy, Environment and Resources and Felix Preston Former Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Research Director, Energy, Environment and Resources
13 June 2018 (Accessed February 2019)
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TrueValueMetrics (TVM) is an Open Source / Open Knowledge initiative. It has been funded by family and friends plus donations from well wishers who understand the importance of accountability and getting the management metrics right. TVM is a 'big idea' that has the potential to be a game changer leveling the playing field so the wealth and power is shared on a more reasonable basis between people who work for a living and those that own the economy and the levers of power. In order to be effective, it cannot be funded in the conventional way with a for profit business plan, but absolutely must remain an open access initiative.

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