Roadmap for sustainable cement production in Denmark
Aalborg Portland's 2030 roadmap - part of the solution in Denmark's green transformation.
With the "Roadmap for sustainable cement production in Denmark", Aalborg Portland commits to a CO2 reduction target of 30% by 2030 and will be able to become CO2-neutral with the right framework conditions. At the same time, the plan shows how Aalborg Portland also contributes positively to the green transition for other sectors.
Cement is – as the most important component in concrete - the world's most widely used building material and an indispensable material for construction and infrastructure. However, cement production is energy-intensive and emits large amounts of CO2, and Aalborg Portland therefore has a particular obligation to contribute to fulfilment of the government's climate goals.
Aalborg Portland, Denmark's sole cement producer and a part of the international Cementir Group, has for decades focused on sustainability and has invested massively in green production. Now, Aalborg Portland is taking a large step forward by defining its role in the green transformation over the next 10 years.
In "Roadmap for sustainable cement production in Denmark", Aalborg Portland commits to a CO2 reduction target of 30% by 2030. This accounts to an annual saving of 660,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2030 compared to current emissions. But the vision is even more ambitious - to be able to supply CO2 neutral cement as early as 2030, and for all cement production in Denmark to be CO2 neutral by 2050. However, this vision is dependent on a number of political framework conditions and decisions:
“We have set ourselves an ambitious, but realistic, target with a 30% CO2 reduction by 2030, which we can reach with the current conditions. If the political framework conditions and decisions allow, we can reduce by even more, contributing to the national target of a 70% CO2 reduction by 2030,” says Aalborg Portland’s Managing Director Michael Lundgaard Thomsen.
Aalborg Portland points specifically to four areas that will not only smooth Aalborg Portland's path towards a 70% reduction, but also benefit the entire green transformation of energy-intensive industry: Access to CO2 neutral fuels at competitive prices, state support for CO2 capture, stimulation of the demand for sustainable solutions by green requirements in public tenders, and last but not least, avoidance of anti-competitive special taxes, such as a national CO2 tax, in order to provide economic headroom for investment in green transformation.
But Aalborg Portland's vision do not stop at CO2 neutrality. The Aalborg factory is already among the world's most resource-efficient, and the longstanding focus on circular partnerships in the local area has meant that the capital of North Jutland is home to one of Denmark’s largest industrial symbioses with Aalborg Portland as the main player.
Accordingly, Aalborg Portland will, in the future, be able to transition from CO2 neutral to CO2 negative cement production if its CO2 emissions are reduced by 100% and if the company continues to deliver sustainable district heating to the citizens of Aalborg, supplies district cooling to local companies and the new university hospital, and also recycles other industry wastes as alternative fuels and raw materials in its cement production. Specifically, surplus heat from the Aalborg factory can eventually heat 75,000 households in the immediate area, and more than 600,000 tonnes of waste from other industries are already currently recycled as alternative fuels, replacing a similar amount of fossil fuels.
Furthermore, Aalborg Portland points out that CO2 from heavy industry can become a valuable resource in the production of future green fuels for the aircraft industry and heavy transport.
“We are an integral part of the solution when it comes to Denmark’s green transformation, and our longstanding focus on circular economy is living proof of this. We work constantly to expand the scope of our industrial symbioses, and in partnership with Aalborg University we are also studying how our CO2 can be used for Power-to-X and production of green fuels in the future,” explains Michael Lundgaard Thomsen and continues:
“Our green transformation is therefore not just about cement and CO2 because with our circular partnerships we can contribute actively to the green transformation throughout Denmark. But it is clear, that if such a far-reaching vision as CO2 negative cement can gain political support, Aalborg Portland could become one of the most sustainable cement producers in the world, something which implies significant export potential. This will at the same time provide Denmark with a green leader’s jersey in one of the most fundamental areas of the construction industry.”
Over the next three years, Aalborg Portland and its parent group Cementir have allocated around EUR 100m to investment projects designed to strengthen the sustainability of the group's factories. A large part of this investment will be managed from Denmark, which is also home to the group's global research and development department in Aalborg. This facility has spearheaded the group's sustainable initiatives for several decades - most recently with the development of FutureCEM, which is the world's most environment-friendly cement with up to 30% lower CO2 footprint. FutureCEM is expected on the market later this year.