SCIENTIFIC PAPER: Mitigation options for decarbonization of the non-metallic minerals industry and their impacts on costs, energy consumption and GHG emissions in the EU – Systematic literature review

Jul 2022


Efficient and resilient energy system


The non-metallic minerals industry is the third-largest industrial energy consumer, and it constitutes around 7% of global CO2 emissions due to the high energy intensity of production processes. Although the substantial improvement of the energy efficiency of this industry in the EU observed since 1995, the energy intensity of this sector is still relatively high. To reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, it is necessary to implement further steps towards the decarbonization of this sector. Previous works do not provide information about research trends in this field or the current development of technologies. To fill this gap, the following research questions have been asked: (Q1) which decarbonization measures are already applied or under development in the non-metallic minerals sector?; (Q2) which of these measures might bring breakthrough to this sector?; (Q3) what is the impact of these measures on costs, energy consumption and GHG emissions? To this end, this paper performs a systematic literature review of GHG emission mitigation options of the non-metallic minerals industry by screening 2964 articles and performing an in-depth analysis of 48 full-text relevant articles following the PRISMA approach. The results show that the carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is the most popular research topic and has the highest decarbonization potential for the industry (up to 60%). However, more research is needed for the full-scale implementation. Further lowering the clinker to cement ratio to at least 75% is also of major importance, however, it is a mature technology, and not much research is required in this field. Despite the relatively low representation in scientific literature, heat electrification is an unavoidable direction for the industry in the long term, resulting from the global shift towards sustainable energy from renewables. The article also sets directions for future research, especially in terms of further development of the most promising technologies and on the industry transition pathways that would be legally adopted at the international level.

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