Why Green cement could take off in 2030

Rethink Energy latest Forecast says that Green cement will take off in 2030s and then follow a path of gradual acceleration until the entire industry is more or less decarbonized by 2050. The report is entitled, “Is the global cement business sufficiently motivated to go green?”

What confuses the issue of cement production is just where production will rise, where it will fall and where it will decelerate and this report attempts an economic model which shows all of these adjustments.

Why Green cement could take off in 2030

Global cement demand is going to continue increasing over the next few decades as developing countries like India, Indonesia and Vietnam urbanize and continue bringing more of their population into cities as they grow through industrial expansion. By contrast China will slow its rate of usage of cement, as its GDP growth begins to slow.

If green approaches do not become deeply entrenched within the cement industry, then emissions will naturally rise, as overall demand will continue rising slightly when looked at globally.


The biggest concern is that cement is used to bring nations out of poverty. Poor nations are not inclined to spend R&D dollars on designing new green cement processes and will have to import the technology – either through buying from western equipment suppliers or with western donated funds, particularly in Asia and Africa.

Renewable energy companies can use this opportunity to partner with cement companies to create industrial heat from solar or wind generation alongside a storage medium to address intermittency. The opportunity to create dedicated renewable microgrids for cement companies to lower their reliance on finite and volatile fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, should be pursued as a matter of priority. Renewables firms that create those partnerships now, will reap significant rewards over a 30 year time period.

Energy Requirements

The shift towards green cement is going to shift electricity demand from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy production, particularly as carbon taxation systems are introduced to the industry. And with legislation going through Europe now on the Border Adjustment Mechanism, everyone’s exports will be affected by carbon taxation, regardless of whether or not a particular country has a law on carbon tax.

The large energy requirements of cement plants along with the 24/7 nature of production makes getting rid of fossil fuels difficult, but with the rising price of fuels like natural gas it’s becoming increasingly economical to replace the burning of natural gas with electrolyzed hydrogen which won’t suffer from intermittency issues so long as storage facilities are implemented nearby.

Hydrogen also avoids the issue of using electricity directly to generate heat and the associated energy efficiencies, while some companies such as Sublime (US Sublime Systems) and Finland’s Coolbrook Oy, claim to have ways to use electricity to either achieve the required high temperatures or circumvent them, this still provides additional avenues for energy generation and storage companies due to the size of cement production operations and the necessity of a reliable energy supply.

This report entitled “Is the global cement business sufficiently motivated to go green?” is available as part of the Rethink Energy Forecast and Data service, available for $4,600 each year. This service is an annual subscription which delivers 10 renewables forecasts a year like this one, plus 20 research papers, which track some aspect of trends in renewables.

Rethink Energy is the research service focusing on the business of energy transition, renewable and their investment possibilities and is fully available by annual subscription. It comprises a forecast and data segment which takes separate, detailed reports on sub-markets like solar, wind, hydrogen, energy storage, fuel for steel and cement manufacture and home heating, and merges them into one global Annual Primary Electricity forecast for all forms of electricity; plus 20 research papers a year exploring smaller markets like polysilicon pricing, hydrogen-for-transport or alternative chemistries for battery storage; plus a global atlas of energy, plus the weekly podcast and a newsletter (see here).

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