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The UK concrete and cement industry has launched a roadmap to become net negative by 2050, removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits each year.

UK Concrete, part of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), has identified that net zero can be met through decarbonised electricity and transport networks, fuel switching, greater use of low-carbon cements and concretes as well as carbon capture, usage or storage (CCUS) technology for cement manufacture.

The Roadmap to Beyond Net Zero calculates the potential of each technology and the carbon savings which can be achieved. CCUS technology is vital to delivering net zero manufacturing and, according to the roadmap, will deliver 61% of the required carbon savings.

A net negative industry by 2050 will be achieved, says the report, by using the natural, in-use properties of concrete which include its ability to absorb carbon dioxide during use, and the benefit of using the thermal properties of concrete in buildings and structures to reduce operational emissions.

The concrete and cement industry claims it has already taken considerable early joint action and due to investment in fuel switching, changes in product formulation, and energy efficiency including plant rationalisation, its direct and indirect emissions are 53% lower than 1990.

The MPA is currently building on this progress by undertaking demonstrations of hydrogen and plasma technology, which are being partly funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and will demonstrate the potential of these technologies to reduce carbon emissions through fuel switching from fossil fuels in cement and lime production.

The industry is now calling on government for a robust financial support model including for the capital and operational costs of carbon capture by no later than 2021. This, they say, would ensure the technology can be developed, deployed and become an investable proposition in the 2030s.

SAEMA (Specialist Access Engineering and Maintenance Association) has a long history in delivering the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry. We are committed to advancing safety through raising the standards in best practice and we have a range of objectives in place to ensure workers are in safe hands.

This news is obviously very welcome to us and everyone in the construction sector. The move to becoming carbon neutral in concrete and cement will make an important difference to the UK’s carbon targets, with construction being one of our major industries.

Image: Pickpik

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