Concrete recycling is technically possible. But whether the effort is economically worthwhile in Luxembourg and whether emissions can even be saved in the process is still unclear today. A study aims to shed light on this.
The industrial zone "Um Monkeler" is bustling with activity. Whenever one looks out of the conference room, concrete mixers, dump trucks and other lorries drive by. Some of the more than one million cubic metres of concrete, the equivalent of about two million tonnes, which are produced in Luxembourg every year, make their way from here to one of Luxembourg's many construction sites. The building material is used to pour foundations, fill wall casings, build roads, produce prefabricated parts and many other products. All this has its price. In the form of resources, but also for the climate.
Extracting, transporting and processing resources, processing building materials and parts, using machinery: All of this causes greenhouse gas emissions in construction. A major factor here is concrete and especially cement production. Luxembourg produces 1.2 million tonnes of cement annually, most of which is exported. This is in the order of 600,000 tonnes of CO₂, says Christian Rech, a consultant at Cimalux. If this figure, verified within the framework of the European emissions trading system, is put in relation to Luxembourg's total emissions in the national inventory report (10.7 million tonnes of CO₂) it results in a share of about six percent.
While the European average is lower, cement production causes roughly eight per cent of emissions worldwide. For Rech, this is mainly due to the Chinese industry. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the People's Republic accounts for 55 per cent of global cement production.
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