Cement News

A Start To Solving Our Poor Record On Low Carbon Cement Replacement


Swiss based building industry giant Holcim plans to
import and distribute lower carbon cement replacement
products from a new Low Carbon Cement Replacement Facility
currently under construction in Auckland.

The
initiative was started well before the New Zealand
government released an Emissions Reduction Plan in mid-May
this year.

Holcim
New Zealand
was quick to show support for the
government plans to pilot the end of industrial allocation
within the cement industry, in favour of transparent pricing
of carbon combined with a border adjustment
mechanism.

“New Zealand is an exciting market.
Construction has gone from strength to strength despite the
challenges of the pandemic. And the New Zealand construction
industry understands the importance of decarbonisation,”
says CEO for Australia and New Zealand George
Agriogiannis.
Concrete is the most-commonly used building
material in the world and a key component is cement, which
has high embodied carbon due to its manufacturing
process.

Currently, every year around 1.6 million
tonnes of traditional cement is used in New Zealand,
equivalent to approximately 1.3 million tonnes of CO2. By
replacing cement with a product which has lower embodied
carbon, but similar properties, construction-related
embodied carbon can be significantly
reduced.

“Unfortunately, New Zealand’s concrete
industry is coming off a low base. Due to a lack of access
historically to low carbon cement alternatives, New
Zealand’s carbon intensity in ready mix is high relative
to its peers,” says Executive General Manager, New Zealand
Kevin Larcombe.
“In similar markets like Australia and
the UK, replacement of normal cements with low carbon cement
replacements averages 26 percent. In New Zealand it is more
like two percent”
Holcim is working with the
construction industry with the aim to achieve 25 percent
replacement by 2025.

“At 25 percent replacement, we
estimate embodied carbon in the New Zealand construction
industry will reduce by around 300,000 tonnes per annum –
equivalent to taking well over 100,000 petrol cars off the
road each year,” says Agriogiannis.

For Holcim in
our part of the world, this involves the use of local and
Australian fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag
from Japan. “We will be offering blended low carbon
cements, consistent with our global EcoPlanet range as well
as Supplementary Cementitious Materials such as Ground
Granulated Blast Furnace Slag, recycled from by-products of
the iron making process,” says Larcombe.
“Every part
of the construction industry has been challenged by the
supply chain disruptions induced by the global pandemic.
Crucially, Holcim has been able to leverage off its global
capability to not only ensure Holcim’s usual customers
have been able to continue building, but also ensured the
whole construction industry could continue to grow as
domestic demand has exceeded local manufacturing
capability,” says Agriogiannis.

The new product
range look certain to help maintain that edge. “These new
products will absolutely deliver much lower embodied
carbon,” says Larcombe. “They also offer superior
performance over standard cement. Depending on application
there are significant benefits.

“In precast, they
produce a superior, whiter finish. In marine and wastewater
applications, they offer a more resilient concrete. In mass
concrete they can reduce issues with heat generation during
hydration. The benefits of these new products goes on and
on.”

The new facility is scheduled to commence
operation in late 2022. “This initiative will enable
progress toward the New Zealand government’s Zero Carbon
ambitions and Holcim’s Net Zero climate pledge . . . it
will create downward pressure on carbon emissions emanating
from construction of the built environment,” says
Agriogiannis

“I’m pleased Holcim is progressing to
the building phase of a facility that will import and
distribute low carbon cement replacement products. Once
operational, the site will enable reduction of carbon
emissions via a cement replacement which can be used for
applications such as infrastructure, commercial and
residential projects.

The facility will be adjacent to
the company’s existing cement import terminal at Ports of
Auckland and, at peak operation, is expected to enable
replacement of just under 100,000 tonnes of Ordinary
Portland Cement, which will substantially reduce greenhouse
gas emissions.

Annually, this is the equivalent of
removing approximately 78,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2)
or 40,000 cars from the roads.

Holcim was the first
global building materials company to sign the United Nations
Global Compact “Business Ambition for 1.5°C”
initiative, with 2030 targets validated by the Science Based
Targets initiative (SBTi).

The company says
sustainabilty is at the core of its strategy as to the make
transition towards low carbon construction and driving a
circular economy.

The company recently announced its
2050
goals
, the first long-term targets in the
building materials sector to be validated by
SBTi.

© Scoop Media

 



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