Lowering the carbon in concrete

Concrete is one of the best materials for resilient, durable and energy efficient structures and buildings over their life cycle. But concrete can become a significant source of carbon. Andy Spencer, Sustainability Director for CEMEX UK and Chair of the UK Sustainable Concrete Forum, knows how to change that.  

“Within CEMEX we have a carbon simulator system where we can work with clients to design carbon out of construction projects. We need to collaborate a great deal more in terms of starting at the design stage of construction projects, working together to specify available solutions that can save carbon, time and overall cost within the construction process,” says Andy Spencer in the latest episode of Construction Climate Talks.

Typically, around 80 percent of the embodied carbon within concrete is cement. Therefore this has to be a key focus in terms of carbon reduction initiatives. One main area of importance that we’ve been working on is substituting fossil fuels within our cement kilns with waste-derived alternative fuels. In CEMEX UK we have replaced over 50% of our kiln fuel – saving carbon through the biomass content of the locally sourced fuels.

At the moment CEMEX is also doing research around the industry supply chain and is looking at novel and breakthrough projects relating to lower carbon cement manufacturing.

“We’re also looking into the use of alternative cements in concrete. So there are some really exciting developments going on.”