Cement is a major component of concrete and is responsible for a significant proportion of the construction industry's CO₂ emissions. We are aware of this and therefore develop CO₂ reduced products. We are researching a number of measures, such as substituting cement components and developing alternative binders.

By using substances such as blast furnace slag and fly ash as secondary cementitious materials (SCMs), we can reduce the CO₂ intensity of concrete.

To improve the carbon footprint of our products based on Portland cement, we use what are known as additives. These are alternative materials that are produced during the manufacture of pig iron or when electricity is generated from coal in steel mills and coal-fired power plants and serve as source materials for composite cements, in which Portland cement clinker is partially replaced.

In addition, we have been working for several years on the development of alternative binders with the aim of reducing or even completely replacing conventional clinker.

Substituting clinker with fly ash

Using coal fly ash from energy generation in our products allows us to make an active contribution to the circular economy. Fly ash can be incorporated into composite cements and ready-mixed concrete, significantly lowering the concrete’s CO₂ intensity and enabling CO₂ reductions of up to 30 per cent. By acquiring the SEFA Group in 2023, Heidelberg Materials has expanded its portfolio to include the largest recycler of harvested fly ash in the USA.

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Truck in front of a facility

Substituting clinker with calcined clay

CO₂ emissions can be reduced by up to 40% if calcined clay is substituted for energy-intensive cement clinker. Ghana currently imports clinker for cement production due to a lack of limestone deposits, which increases transport-related CO₂ emissions. By building the world's largest clay calcination plant of its kind, Heidelberg Materials will utilise local resources and enable the production of low-carbon products for the Ghanaian market. This approach reduces CO₂ emissions from local cement and concrete production and reduces our dependence on foreign clinker imports, which in turn reduces transport-related CO₂ emissions.