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Systems analysis on innovative cement binders

Systems analysis on innovative cement binders
Project team:

Achternbosch, Matthias (Project leader); Eberhard Nieke, Gerhard Sardemann, Ulrich Dewald

Start date:


End date:


Project partners:Institute for Technical Chemistry, Dept. of technical waste treatment (ITC-TAB, KIT)
Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

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.

Draft version of the first part of the ITAS study on "Green Cements"

The first result of this system-analytical survey of ITAS is the study ‘Sind „Green Cements“ die Zukunft? Erste systemanalytische Abschätzungen zu innovativen Bindemitteln. ("Green Cements" – the future? First estimations on innovative binders based on systems analysis) Teil 1: Novacem®. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing 2011, 75 S. (KIT Scientific Reports 7589)’. In the first section of the study the focus is on Novacem®, originally a product of the Imperial College of London.

Download of the report: pdf


Dr. Matthias Achternbosch
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24553