UK Concrete, the group representing the UK concrete industry, has developed a framework to help inform the delivery of an ambitious roadmap for the UK concrete and cement sector to deliver net negative emissions by 2050.
In preparing the roadmap, UK Concrete is exploring the use of existing and emerging technologies including energy efficiency, fuel switching, low-carbon cements and concretes, and Carbon Capture, Usage or Storage (CCUS) to deliver the UK Government’s net zero target.
To go beyond net zero and deliver net negative, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than the industry emits each year, the emerging model will use the natural properties of concrete including carbonation and thermal mass.
The roadmap will not rely upon carbon offsetting or offshoring of production for emissions reduction. It will also be used to inform net zero strategies for other mineral products including aggregates, asphalt, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand.
The concrete and cement industry has a strong track record, having already delivered a 53% reduction in absolute carbon emissions since 1990 and is decarbonising, as a whole, faster than the UK economy.
UK Concrete’s roadmap will support net zero domestic production and help to retain economic value and jobs in the UK while meeting the highest environmental standards.
Chris Leese, director of UK Concrete commented: “Cement and concrete are essential to delivering a net zero carbon and circular economy, and as part of the wider mineral products industry already deliver a substantial biodiversity ‘net gain’. “To realise our ambition, we will set out a bold and credible path beyond net zero to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“The industry is under no illusion about the challenges we face, which will be neither quick nor easy. Achieving net zero will require the wholesale decarbonisation of all aspects of concrete and cement production, supply and use. We will only be able to achieve our net zero and net negative emissions goals with concerted support from Government and the wider construction, energy and transportation sectors.”
Dr Richard Leese, director of MPA Cement said: “Importantly, we believe that net zero should be achieved by reducing emissions from the construction materials manufactured in the UK rather than by simply replacing these with imports and moving the problem abroad. As such the roadmap aims to retain jobs and economic value in the UK whilst ensuring that the UK takes responsibility for the emissions it creates.”
The concrete and cement roadmap will be published later this year.
Read the framework for 'beyond net zero'.