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Environmental impact assessment for sustainable cement production

El Atasi, Loubana


Loubana El Atasi


Cement production requires intensive use of natural raw materials and energy. It also results in emissions to the atmosphere, the most significant being COZ. Studies estimate that the cement industry is responsible for 5% of global man-made COZ emissions.
Managing and reducing these emissions is therefore a key priority. Cement emissions come from the following sources: chemical clinker-making process (50%-60 %), combustion of fossil fuels (40%), and indirect emissions from purchased electrical power (5%). This research has been carried out with the main objective of assessing the environmental impact of cement production and the potential for reducing its CO2 emissions. To achieve this objective, the performances of three cement companies were investigated and specific indicators set to measure the development of each company and benchmark the performances against each other. The research takes into account social, economic and environmental factors. The assessment used in this study is based on the WBCSD initiatives and its sustainability approach to cement production.
This assessment has been conducted by indicating the best performance cement company and displaying the weak points of each of the benchmarked companies. This benchmark was used not only to estimate the environmental impact of cement operations and production among best performance companies, but also to determine new opportunities for efficient cement production, energy efficiency consumption, and low COZ emissions. This study used the benchmark to analyse the Lafarge, Holcim, and Taiheiyo cement companies. The research investigation is based on the review and analyses of data collected during authorised visits to the operating sites of each of these cement companies. Further required data was obtained from the companies' Sustainable Development Reports. A procedure for developing comparable environmental performance indicators, useful for benchmarking, has been described. This procedure has been used to develop key Environmental Performance Indicators, also taking into account economic and social performance. Both strengths and weaknesses are pointed out in different sections of the case studies. First, the benchmark, the resources to be included and the return figures play a determinant role in the quality of the results. Second, the assessment of environmental performance was evaluated by using specific indicators, including the imperatives indicators to investigate options for reducing COZ emissions throughout the process of manufacturing.
The chief original contribution of this research is to identify the opportunities and potential for reducing the CO2 released from cement production, and to develop a model to allow evaluations to be made at different times during the cement manufacturing process of different cement companies, with varying priority levels of selected environmental performance indicators. Recommendations are made to manufacturers and the cement market in order to achieve higher levels of environmental performance (that is, less COZ emissions). This work opens new horizons for further research in this field.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Cement production; sustainability; environmental impact;
Public URL
Contract Date Mar 24, 2014
Award Date 2013


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