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'Up For The Challenge'- The Report That's Decarbonising The Australian Cement And Concrete Sector

SmartCrete CRC says they are "proud" to have been a contributor to the new independent report “Decarbonization Pathways for the Australian Cement and Concrete Sector” that was launched on the 19th October 2021. The report was released in association with VDZ, German "knowledge Hub", The Cement Industry Federation, Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia and RACE for 2030 CRC, all of which are commited to the cause. SmartCrete "strongly believe that this document charts a practical way forward to lowering sector emissions by 2050," they said. 

The report identifies 8 specific decarbonisation pathways with actions that are essential to successfully implement this plan. 

To address its vision to ensure the long-term viability of vital concrete infrastructure, SmartCrete CRC says it will continue to facilitate the creation of networks between the concrete industry and research providers to address the research requirements that have been identified. 

In a recent media release, SmartCrete said they are 'Up for the challenge'. "SmartCrete CRC is ready to consider relevant projects that support key innovation areas," they said. In addition to this, the organisation has said they have funding available to realise these projects. 

The recent COP26 Summit Conference raised some important points that affirmed the need for collaboration between government, industry and research providers to uncover solutions in the fields of technology, application and regulation. "Our challenge to all participants in the concrete supply chain is to examine the topic of climate change and discuss what SmartCrete CRC can do to assist in addressing the issues raised at COP26," they said. 

SmartCrete CRC is facilitating change for the industry, and they say industry contribution and commitment is needed to allow them to leverage practical research and pave the way forward to a lower-carbon future.

About the report:
VDZ was commissioned for the report based on its international research credentials. The report was conducted to better understand the technologies and practices necessary to decarbonise the Australian cement and concrete industries as it was declared its ambition to deliver net zero carbon cement and concrete by 2050.

The VDZ report states “The Australian cement and concrete sector has a long history of reducing its CO2 emissions having delivered a 25% reduction since 2000. However, the challenge of decarbonising by 2050 will require significant regulatory, structural and behavioural changes across all segments of the cement and concrete value chain,” it says. Therefore, the ability to adopt lower carbon cement and concrete at a large scale will require significant financial investment to research, pilot and adopt a range of technologies. “It will also require a transition to a ‘market pull’ environment through leadership in government and private sector procurement policies and changes in regulation to safely promote the uptake of lower-carbon products,” according to the VDZ report. 

The 8 decarbonisation pathways to make a difference are: 
• Zero-emission electricity and transport 
• Innovation through design and construction 
• Further innovation in concrete 
• Increased use of supplementary cementitious materials in concrete 
• New CO2 efficient cements 
• Alternative fuels and green hydrogen 
• Accounting for concrete to uptake CO2 (recarbonation) 
• Capture remaining CO2 (CCUS) 

The sector recognises the challenge ahead will require significant financial investment and policy change to support the transition. However, the VDZ Report demonstrates that the transition is possible. "As a trade-exposed sector, a fundamental requirement will be that the transition does not lead to undermining the competitiveness of the Australian cement and concrete manufacturing base," said SmartCrete CRC. 

The Australian cement and concrete sector says it is now developing engagement plans based on the identified pathways to implement the recommendations of the report and are committed to reviewing progress on a regular basis. 

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