Innovative cement production and CO2 emissions in the case of Colombia

Growing urbanization and increased infrastructure demands will augment cement production considerably. By 2050, cement production will reach 6 billion tonnes, which will also be translated into a serious increase in CO2 emissions. Cement is currently responsible for 7% of total global greenhouse gases. Therefore, the business as usual scenario of cement production is not a sustainable solution. The not yet well-known Limestone Calcined Clay Cement, shortly LC3, is an alternative cement that reduces CO2 emissions by 30%. While the technical and economic feasibility of LC3 has already been proven, the next step consists of promoting LC3 and making it a main-stream alternative cement production.

This thesis focuses on the implementation of LC3 in Colombia, a mega-biodiverse country that is especially vulnerable to climate change and where the construction sector is growing fast. This thesis shows that LC3 can contribute considerably to Colombia’s goal to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2030. Further, the given environmental policy framework of Colombia with various policies that seek to reduce CO2emissions is in favor of the wide-spread dissemination of LC3.

This thesis tackles pull factors that incentivize the private sector to implement the alternative cement production. The existing financial incentives that push firms to adopt more green technologies and environmental sound production methods should be embraced.

Demand for LC3 can be created through the voluntary carbon market. Firms could support the construction of social houses built with LC3 and compensate their emissions through the CO2 savings achieved with the alternative cement production. Strong marketing of LC3 is needed to promote LC3 amongst the government of Medellin, which pursues a green development path of the Smart City. Finally, this thesis concludes that in order to make LC3 a wide-spread alternative cement production, it is necessary to extend the focus from energy efficiency that is tackled widely in Colombia to embodied energy, which focuses on the efficiency of the construction material itself.

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