Page 1

An Assessment of CCUS and the Cement Industry in Ireland

Summary Paper

1. Introduction

Cement Manufacturers Ireland (CMI) is the representative body within Ibec for Ireland’s indigenous cement manufacturing industry. It has three members Breedon Cement, Irish Cement, and Mannok Cement, with four cement factories manufacturing cement for the domestic and export market. Cement is a critical input material for the construction industry, and this indigenous manufacturing industry makes an important contribution to the Irish economy.

CMI members are conscious of the Irish government’s climate ambitions and the goal of balancing economic competitiveness with its climate commitments. In this context CMI commissioned Arup to develop this policy informing paper with the following aims:

· to assess whether Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) has a key role to play in achieving Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement targets.

· to identify key recommendations for the Irish Government to support investment in CCUS for the cement industry in Ireland.


The Irish cement industry is a large employer and remains an economic stimulator for the often-peripheral areas in which the cement factories are located.

The emissions from cement manufacturing are hard to abate. Manufacturing cement is an energy intensive operation with CO2 emissions arising from two distinct sources. First, CO2 is formed from the combustion of fuels and secondly, CO2 arises from the calcination of limestone (process emissions) at high temperature. Currently combustion emissions account for approx. 35% of the CO2 emissions, and process emissions account for the remaining 65%. As CMI members continue to replace imported fossil fuels with lower carbon alternative fuels the combustion emissions will continue to reduce, however the process emissions will remain.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a method to capture CO2 from an industrial source or from the air and control where this CO2 is stored. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) includes the opportunity to make use of the captured carbon, however in some cases, like aviation fuel,

the CO2 can be released again when the fuel is used in an aircraft. Storage means that the captured CO2 is permanently removed from the atmosphere. CCUS is a potential mechanism to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors, such as the cement manufacturing industry.

Figure 1 (below) describes the different stages of CCUS including:

· Conditioning of the CO2 for transportation

· Transportation of the CO2 (including intermediate storage and/or liquefaction as required between various transport node locations)

· Usage or permanent geological storage of the CO2


Moving compressed CO2, by ship or pipeline from the point of capture to the point of use or storage.


Using captured CO2 as an input or feedstock to create products or services.


Capturing CO2, from fossil or biomass-fuelled power stations, industrial facilities, or directly from the air.


Permanently storing CO2 in underground geological formations, onshore or offshore.

CCUS has the potential to deliver a number of benefits to cement manufacturing, including addressing the direct process emissions which are otherwise, hard to abate. Through a study of lessons learned from global CCUS projects, this Report examines the legislative and practical

supports which are required to effectively implement CCUS for large scale emitters in Ireland. Such supports are framed within the context of delivery challenges and recommendations to overcome these challenges.

2. The impact of the cement industry globally and in Ireland

Contribution of cement to the built environment

Cement is a key component in concrete, and concrete is the most used material on earth. Concrete provides unrivalled versatility, resilience, safety, and durability for construction projects and is available at scale to meet the global demand for housing and infrastructure. Globally cement and concrete are estimated to be responsible for 8% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. There has been a push to reduce the cementitious content of concrete, as well as efforts to develop and implement alternatives to concrete. The suitability of these alternatives depends on the specific requirements of individual construction projects. However, the limited availability of these materials means they will not make a significant difference to carbon emission reductions within the construction sector. The EUs own analysis which fed into the Commission’s Long-Term Strategic Vision states that “by 2050, cement production in the EU is expected to range between 165Mt and 206Mt”, thus predicting that demand for cement will continue, therefore early action to achieve carbon reduction in the industry is vital to reach the legally binding targets.

Whole life carbon assessments of concrete in construction are very favourable and concrete fulfils many of the attributes of a circular material e.g., it is made from natural materials which are generally abundant and locally available. In addition, concrete can be repaired during its lifespan and then fully recycled at the end of life. Crushed concrete can be reused as a recycled aggregate in new concrete or as fill in road construction and earthworks. Some of the attributes that make concrete so advantageous when whole life carbon is considered include longevity, durability, thermal capacity, and recyclability when compared with other construction materials.

Cement and concrete are essential components for the cost-effective construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure, coastal defences, and residential sector development. They are also required for infrastructure for renewable energy/green transition for a net zero world. The World Economic Forum commentary stated that cement will “play a key role for a green, low-carbon future, as well as being central to the realisation of the Paris Agreement”. Globally, concrete and cement represent approximately 50% of all materials used every year between 2000 and 2018, thus the scale of demand for concrete should not be underestimated.

Contribution of cement to Irish competitiveness

Cement manufacturing plants provide key materials for the construction industry in Ireland and abroad. In 2021, Ireland exported $212M in cement. The main destination of cement exports from Ireland is the United Kingdom followed by Belgium and France.

Ireland’s indigenous cement manufacturing industry provides key employment across several counties, namely Cavan, Limerick, Louth, Meath, and Westmeath.

The National Development Plan 2021-2030 outlines the largest National Development Plan ever delivered in the history of the State - €165 billion - with a particular focus on priority solutions to strengthen housing, climate ambitions, transport, healthcare, jobs growth in every region and economic renewal for the decade ahead. The domestic cement industry is an essential enabler of this economic development.

3. The role of CCUS in the cement industry

The draft Climate Action Plan 2024 acknowledges that CCUS “will play a significant role” in decarbonisation of the cement sector and recognised that “under the leadership of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC)” feasibility and validation of the technology in an Irish context is required, and potentially involves “building out necessary transport and storage infrastructure (e.g., creating dedicated port areas for international shipment)”.

4. Benefits of CCUS

The Irish Government recognises that it’s not yet possible to identify all emerging technologies or enabling policies to achieve Ireland’s full decarbonisation and wider climate action ambition. It acknowledges, in the draft Climate Action Plan 2024 that the unallocated emissions abatement of 26MtCO2eq should be addressed ahead of the second carbon period (2026-2030).

The Plan also recognises that CCUS will play a significant role in decarbonising hard-to-abate industrial sectors including the cement industry, helping to close the unallocated emissions savings gap. The Plan commits to conducting feasibility and validation assessments on CCUS, with a view to advancing the policy position of CCUS.

CCUS is currently seen in the Global Sector Roadmaps as an essential technology to achieve the required scale of CO2 emission reduction. In parallel with other investments and innovations in the cement industry CCUS is expected to be responsible for 30-40% of the sectors CO2 emission reductions by 2050. A small number of demonstrator projects are underway, and innovation, investment and technology development is accelerating within the space.

Within the Plan, one of the key metrics to deliver abatement for the enterprise sector in the 2031-2035 period is the implementation of a CCUS Framework. To achieve a fully decarbonised cement industry in Ireland, support is essential to establish an enabling environment and market framework where CCUS can play its part. Utilisation of the captured carbon may be the preferred decarbonisation mechanism, but it is not currently viable, technically, financially or at the required scale. The option to geologically store CO2 will be required in the short to medium-term, and most likely in the long-term too.

5. Implementation of CCUS in UK, Europe and further afield

A review of lessons learned from global CCUS projects revealed the following key findings.

CCUS is necessary to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors

In February 2024, the European Commission published Industrial Carbon Management: Capturing, storing and using CO2 to reach our climate goals. It states ‘Achieving our ambitious climate targets requires a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in the coming years. While much of this can be achieved through investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, we will also need technologies that can capture and store CO2, or utilise it. This will be particularly important in sectors where it is the most challenging to reduce emissions, such as cement and waste-to-energy’

The EU’s Net Zero Industry Act proposes an annual CO2 sequestration target of ‘50 million tonnes CO2/ year for 2030’ facilitated by improved permitting procedures for CCUS, including the need for a “one stop shop” in each country to coordinate permitting of capture projects, and setting realistic timelines for permitting procedures, with “strategic” projects given priority status.

Both Denmark and the Netherlands have already dedicated regulatory conditions and public support programmes in place to help energy-intensive ‘hard-to-abate’ sectors to decarbonise their operations with CO2 capture and to develop the necessary CO2 infrastructure and storage capacities which could qualify as Net Zero Strategic Projects1.

CCUS can help to maintain competitiveness

In terms of drivers for support and implementation of CCUS in the UK, while decarbonisation is a key driver, the technology is being supported for multiple policy reasons. Supporting the uptake of CCUS in hard-to-abate industries aims to maintain industrial competitiveness in key industrial regions.

Projects in Europe also found that CO2 storage is an enabler for a net zero ecosystem beyond CCS, that CCS value chains can be a cost-effective decarbonisation solution, and that a carbon removal credits system will accelerate CCS adoption by creating a viable business case for related industries.

CCUS requires transmission and storage network operators to play a key role

In the UK, government led financial supports has focused around “clusters” e.g., transport and storage networks plus at least two CO2 capture projects. The UK Government recognises the key role that the transport and storage network plays by assigning the transport and storage network operator the role of cluster lead. The transport and storage network has the power to connect individual carbon capture sites and funnel captured carbon to locations where long-term storage, or usage is possible.

CCUS requires an enabling environment to progress

The UK Government recognises the key role CCUS will play in achieving their net zero ambitions but also that industry cannot bear the full cost of this alone. They are supporting industry (including cement manufacturers) to invest in CCUS technology through both capital and operational funding mechanisms.

European projects reinforced findings in the UK by citing the fact that temporary government support can overcome the ‘chicken-and-egg’ problem of capturing the carbon first or creating the market to use or store the carbon first.

In the US, incentivises are available for a wide variety of decarbonisation projects, including pilot carbon capture and demonstration projects, CO2 transportation infrastructure projects and CO2 storage commercialization projects. Funding is also available to installations for permitting at EPA and state level.

CCUS requires collaboration across multiple stakeholders

Cross-industry and cross-border collaboration is required as a key enabler to achieve decarbonisation targets. By making publicly available the key knowledge deliverables from the supported projects, the UK Government are reinforcing the importance of learning from others and collaborating more openly.

CCUS requires support for research and development

As a rapidly emerging technology, research and development, together with the adaptation of technical standards is essential. Evidence from large-scale demonstration projects across Europe has facilitated learning by helping to remove hurdles such as public acceptance.

While utilisation at scale is still an emerging concept, there is considerable experience of geological storage of CO2 However, as capacity requirements increase additional geological investigations will be needed to identify potential new storage basins.

CCUS needs a coordinated planning effort to develop

Coordinated planning to deliver successful outcomes was highlighted as essential during the review of global CCUS projects. In the UK for example, the potential for Clean Growth Hubs, building Regional Teams with Local Councils, and using the Local Area Energy Plans to focus efforts were cited as important steps.

Success depends on development of an overall plan with a streamlined planning and permitting process for net zero enabling infrastructure, along with the need for a research and innovation strategic plan with the flexibility to bridge any resources and skills gaps identified by the process.

CCUS requires support from the electricity grid

The operation of CCUS technologies is energy intensive and will require significant additional electrical capacity at the existing cement manufacturing locations. Successful projects provided for the participation at an early stage of the electricity transmission and distribution system operators to allow them to integrate the required grid infrastructure investments.

6. Challenges to delivering CCUS in Ireland

Arising from this understanding of how CCUS is being implemented in other jurisdictions and the lessons learned from their experiences, the main challenges to delivering CCUS in Ireland can be summarised as follows:

· Enabling an effective planning and permitting process for CO2 transport network, infrastructure at ports and permanent geological CO2 storage (if domestic),

· Integrating environmental protections with the development of the CCUS network in Ireland,

· Educating the public/ wider stakeholders on the role of CCUS in delivering our climate action targets,

· Financial support mechanisms to enable engineering design and construction of the carbon capture systems and the required transport and storage infrastructure,

· In parallel de-risking cement industry investments and future operating models that enables technology deployment,

· Accelerating the grid infrastructure development to supply the increased electricity demand at the CO2 capture sites,

· Ensuring infrastructure at ports is available to accommodate, collection, temporary storage and shipping, and/or transfer by pipeline of CO2 offshore to permanent geological CO2 storage,

· Ensuring permanent geological CO2 storage (overseas and/or domestic) is up and running to take delivery of CO2 from the transport network,

· Ensuring ongoing research and development for utilisation of CO2,

· Development of robust carbon accounting rules. Overcoming these challenges will require a ‘multi-agency/ Government/Industry’ collaboration including a campaign of early and effective public engagement.

7. Suggested recommendations and next steps

Legislative and policy support, new governance arrangements and specific industry focussed measures will be required to ensure CCUS can be effectively implemented in Ireland. To overcome the challenges, measures must be put in place to enable early adoption and directly support suitable CCUS demonstration projects. These projects should be designed to build confidence in the carbon capture supply chain through proof of concept, facilitation of knowledge sharing, demonstrate scalability and best practice in-terms of energy efficiency and economics.

It is recommended that the Government consider the following course of action pre-2030:

Legislative & Policy Support / Proposed actions for Government

· Devise a CCUS strategy for hard-to-abate industrial sectors including the cement industry,

· Establish a clear regulatory and policy framework that will de-risk long-term investment decisions. This will accelerate carbon capture and storage and abatement opportunities in the near-term /within the third carbon budget period (2031-2035 measures). This includes the following:

− Address the domestic CO2 storage prohibition that exists in SI 575 of 2011,

− Amend SI 575 of 2011 and establish a permitting process, including the appointment of a competent authority for a permanent carbon storage facility to be viable in Ireland,

− Ratify the London Protocol 2019 amendment,

− Continue to support national mirror committee, NSAI/TC 75 “Carbon dioxide capture, transportation, and geological storage”, which is following and contributing to ISO/TC 265 “Carbon dioxide capture, transportation, and geological storage”,

− Ensure policy for transportation via road/rail/pipeline and temporary transport related storage is clear and unambiguous in terms of the ability to transport CO2,

− As CCUS is one of a suite of technologies that can enable Ireland to meet its climate targets, consider identification of the investment required in enabling infrastructure through the future National Development Plan, or revisions to Project Ireland 2040,

· Provide clear guidance on who is responsible for progressing the development of Non-Pipeline Transport (NPT) routes, e.g., rail or road,

· Develop a National position to advance the EU Net Zero Industry Act obligations,

· Assign “strategic project” status to hard-to-abate industrial sectors such as the cement industry under the EU Net Zero Industry Act definition.

Governance arrangements

· Designate a Government Department to oversee CCUS development and supports,

· Create a cross industry working group to identify potential partnerships/ collaborations including for example, other hard-to-abate industries, port authorities, pipe network operators and the electricity supply sector.

Industry focussed measures

· Provide funding for research and development, innovation, and re-skilling of staff within the hard-toabate industries, in particular the cement manufacturing industry,

· Develop capex and opex funding models for CCUS transportation projects,

· Commission a suitability assessment of ports in Ireland to accommodate CCUS facilities,

· Commission a suitability assessment of transportation networks (both pipeline and non-pipeline) to deliver captured carbon from hard-to-abate industry sites to relevant ports in Ireland,

· Establish planning coordination including consenting corridors for combined infrastructure development from industrial sites and potential pipeline corridors,

· Commission electrical network capacity assessment for CCUS projects e.g., industrial carbon capture site to port location.

8. Conclusion

This report is focused outside the gates of the four cement factories and is intended to support the Irish Governments stated aim of delivering ‘A national CCUS strategy, reviewing opportunities for capture, utilisation, transport, and storage, is essential to provide a clear policy framework to guide appropriate and effective long-term investment decisions.’ CMI members realise the scale of the task to decarbonise the cement industry and recognise the innovations and investments that will be required to achieve net zero by 2050.

A coherent policy framework must address the regulatory, permitting, financial and public acceptance challenges that come as part of these regionally strategic projects. The European Commission has recently put forward a strategy to address the full carbon value chain, with the goal of achieving a single EU market for carbon management and has committed to supporting Member States to increase knowledge, awareness and public acceptance for these technologies. Ireland now has the opportunity to accelerate progress and align with these developments in Europe.

Within the context of Ireland’s legally binding climate targets a collaborative and comprehensive response is required that delivers real emissions reductions while maintaining competitiveness, encouraging investment and developing employment opportunities. The right strategy should prioritise urgent actions, some of which are identified as recommendations within this report.

As a key indigenous manufacturing industry, producing an essential ingredient for the construction sector, the longterm sustainability of the sector is dependent on delivering a credible decarbonisation pathway. CMI and its members are eager to contribute our unique perspective and work with Government and all Agencies on this decarbonisation pathway.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.