30 May 24 | 3 min read

Ireland is now at the forefront of public policy for cement decarbonisation in Europe

Susan McGarry

On May 28th, 2024, the Irish government took a bold step towards a more sustainable future by mandating green procurement requirements for low carbon cement. This landmark decision marks a significant milestone in its journey towards developing a net-zero carbon society by 2050, as outlined in the national policy position.

Cement accounts for almost 8% emissions globally and since clinker is the source of over 90% of emissions from cement, this is a significant shift and sends a clear message to the construction industry to invest in low carbon products.

Ireland is now at the forefront of public policy for cement decarbonisation in Europe. The focus on mandating low carbon materials for public procurement and specifically identifying clinker reduction targets will drive innovation and behaviour change in the cement and construction industries. This approach could serve as a model for other countries when looking at ways of accelerating change within an industry, without excessive cost.

The Role of Low Carbon Cement Technologies

At Ecocem, we have been at the forefront of advocating for low carbon solutions in the cement and concrete sector across Europe for many years. The new mandate in Ireland requires a 30% clinker substitution in concrete for all government and public works projects, alongside the phase-out of high clinker cement.
Current low carbon cement technologies can already support a 30% reduction in clinker content today. Looking to the future when carbon limits become mandatory, further reductions will be needed throughout Europe. ACT, Ecocem’s next generation scalable low carbon cement technology has recently received European Technical Approval (ETA). It will be commercially available from 2026 and will provide a new solution to meet the next phase of government requirements. Essentially ACT will be capable of producing the same performance in concrete as traditional cement, using half the binder while delivering a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions, at no real extra cost.

Building a Sustainable Future for all

Driving innovation and delivering low carbon solutions that can deliver within the decade is essential to meeting European targets for emissions reduction. Using public procurement as a lever to change behaviour is a cost-effective way to encourage industry innovation and drive adoption of new technologies. In the Netherlands for example, Rijkswaterstaat, Government body responsible for public infrastructure provides guidance on carbon reduction values for all concrete mixtures, for precast concrete elements and precast beams to be used in public projects, which decrease by 4% every two years and apply to all market parties. In addition, all demolition concrete must be reused by 2030 at the latest. Governments can drive change and encourage private sector focus on innovation to meet climate goals.

As we continue to build on this momentum, Ecocem is committed to investing in research, innovation, and the commercialisation of new low carbon materials and ACT technology.

Contact and information

  • To get in touch directly with an Ecocem spokesperson contact us here
  • For more information on ACT, our low carbon cement technology, click here

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