The material basis for many modern construction materials is Portland cement which is mostly used for the manufacturing of concrete, the most frequently used material on earth just after water. At present, annually more than one ton of concrete is being produced per capita at a global scale. The production of cement comes with high CO2 emissions which are estimated at about 2.5 billion tons of CO2 for 2008. This corresponds to 8% of the worldwide anthropogenic CO2 emissions (without considering land use, changes in land use, and forestry).
The project aims at analyzing and evaluating the present and future possibilities of CO2 reduction during the production of cement by using methods of systems analysis. This work comprises an analysis of earlier and present sustainability-oriented strategies and measures of the cement industry while considering the altering climate change mitigation policy framework. In the course of this, the focus is on the possibilities of reducing CO2 emission during the production of conventional cements, also by integrating end-of-pipe solutions like CCS. Additionally, new developments of innovative sustainable cements ("green cements") are analyzed in view to their potential to replace the universal mass construction material Portland cement. Past experiences with Novacem and Calera show that a large-scale technical realization of alternative product concepts faces high obstacles.
For the assessment of innovative binders a separate indicator system is being designed. Additionally, the innovation process is analyzed regarding barriers and framing conditions for the implementation of these alternative binders. For that purpose, interviews with stakeholders from research and development and from companies are conducted. Moreover, the impact of climate change mitigation policies is investigated. Individual resources like fly ashes that are expected to partly substitute Portland cement are investigated to determine in how far they really have a potential to serve as a mass construction material. Since 2007, the project team provides systems analytical knowledge for the KIT start-up Celitement.