Industrial activities such as cement production are among the largest sources of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and there are ongoing efforts to reduce the CO2 emissions attributed to them. In order to effectively improve climate performance of cement production, it is essential to systematically identify, classify, and evaluate various improvement measures and implement the most effective and feasible measures.
This has been done in this article by developing an assessment framework based on concepts of Industrial Ecology and Industrial Symbiosis which creates an structure for seeking and evaluating the performance and feasibility of various CO2 improvement measures. The developed framework has a wide system perspective, takes a wide range of CO2 improvement measures, and treats all material, and energy flows within the industry as potentially useful resources. This framework is applied in practice for assessing the most feasible measures to apply within the Cluster West in Germany, consisting of three cement plants that are owned by the multinational company CEMEX.
Use the concepts of industrial ecology and industrial symbiosis and develop an assessment framework for aggregating, categorizing, and evaluating various CO2 improvement measures for a given production system. In addition, apply this framework on an actual cement production system and summarize the results.
The assessment framework developed in this article is based on the concepts of Industrial Ecology and Industrial Symbiosis: (1) study of the flows of material and energy in production systems is important, (2) emphasizing on the importance of studying industrial systems in integration with their surrounding systems, not as isolated entities, and (3) in an industrial ecosystem no material and energy stream should be treated as waste and all material and energy streams are potentially useful inputs for other industrial processes.
The result is an assessment framework which can be used to systematically gather, classify and evaluate different CO2 improvement measures for cement production. This framework consists of two parts: (1) generic assessment and (2) site-specific assessment of CO2 improvement measures. The first part considers general aspects of the measures such as level of Industrial Symbiosis (i.e. degree of connectedness which is required for their implementation), the potential of each measure for reducing CO2 emissions, and their technological maturity. The second part assesses the feasibility of the measures regarding the conditions of a specific cement producing system. Aspects such as organizational applicability, technical and infrastructural applicability, and the existing level of implementation of each measure are considered.
The framework is also applied on three cement plants in Germany (owned by CEMEX) referred to as the Cluster West and the results of the assessment are summarized.
As demonstrated in the case of Cluster West, the assessment framework developed in this article can be used by a cement producing companies such as CEMEX in order to systematically assess hundreds of measures and identify the most feasible and applicable ones for implementing on each of their cement production plants.
Lessons learned during development of this assessment framework, can be used when approaching industrial systems other than cement production.