Song Zhiping, President of the World Cement Association (WCA), urged the global cement industry to continue its efforts towards carbon neutrality, but also to advance digitalisation, in a keynote speech at the WCA Open Day in June.
Mr Song looked to the future, identifying two overriding priorities for the industry, with the first being carbon neutrality. As he explained, CO2 emissions can be reduced through three key measures: reducing the clinker factor, and decreasing fuel and power consumption.
With regards to decarbonisation, Mr Song drew attention to WCA member Anhui Conch, which has installed CCUS facilities at its Baimashan plant near the Yangtze river in eastern China. The project separates and purifies 50000 t of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, which Conch then sells to industrial consumers. In addition, CNBM started recently to use CO2 emitted from cement plants to nourish plants in greenhouses, as an alternative way to cut CO2 emissions.
As a second industry priority, Mr Song emphasised the importance of boosting the application of digital technologies. Implementing digital and smart technologies has undoubtedly helped to decrease manpower, improve quality but also lower costs.
Mr Song highlighted CNBM’s operations in Tai’an, Zunyi and Zhejiang, where the company has applied new technologies that contribute to CO2 emissions reductions for three newly built lines. He also noted that digitalisation has transformed sales, which are increasingly on-line, for example CNBM’s “On-line Drive Platform” initiative, demonstrating that the cement industry is in step with the global digitalisation trend.
Reflecting on what has been a very difficult year for the economy, Mr Song highlighted global cement volume, which stands at 4.1 billion t, nearly equal to that of 2019. China’s cement industry performance was also good, selling 2.4 billion t of cement, up 2.5% YoY. WCA in turn made progress, welcoming more members and climate partners over the past year, furthering the development of the association and launching a number of new digital initiatives including networking, webinars, knowledge sharing and member forums.