Cement Industry Hosts Carbon Neutrality Event

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) hosted two panel discussions on the morning of Sept. 19 as part of Climate Week NYC’s program. A group of experts discussed how the industry’s goal of carbon neutrality can only be reached at the intersection of reasonable federal regulations and innovative industry solutions.

Rock Products Managing Editor Josephine Patterson was in attendance for the event. 

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk and Canadian Ambassador for Climate Change Catherine Stewart were both keynote speakers. During his speech, Turk mentioned how the industry needs to be intentional with the R&D pipeline as we must get new solutions “from the lab to factory floor” as quickly as possible. Stewart highlighted Canada’s “Roadmap to Net-Zero Carbon Concrete by 2050,” where the sector has committed to reducing more than 15 megatonnes of greenhouse gases cumulatively by 2030 with ongoing annual reductions of more than 4 megatonnes to hit net zero by 2050.

The two panel discussions, “Carbon Capture: A Breakthrough Moment?” and “Getting to Carbon Neutrality by Going with the Alternatives,” were both moderated by Bloomberg’s Dr. Julia Attwood. During the carbon capture panel, Thomas Guillot, CEO of GCCA; Chris Ward, CEO and President of Heidelberg Materials; Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management; and Abigail Regitsk, Breakthrough Energy, senior manager, U.S. Policy and Advocacy team spoke on the progress of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) solutions in the industry and how to clear hurdles to make it scalable.  

As Ward noted during the panel, “There is only so much we can do to decarbonize concrete. We don’t see a pathway to carbon zero without CCUS.” He continued to speak on how the sector’s ability to talk to the community and permitting agencies is very important as transparency is key to its success. Crabtree agreed and stated how community engagement could be used to shape future CCUS projects. 

The second panel’s experts were David Loomes, president of Continental Cement; Tim Kuebler, president and CEO of Giant Cement; Dr. Patricia Gomez, chief energy officer and deputy chief resilience officer at Miami-Dade County; and Jeremy Harrell, chief strategy officer at ClearPath. Both Loomes and Kuebler stated how they see performance-based specifications as the future, and until the industry abandons prescriptive specifications it will be difficult to increase the usage of alternative fuels and alternative raw materials in cement production. 

Related posts