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Paving the way for sustainable decarbonization of the European cement industry


Cement production is a main source of carbon emissions. Decarbonization options exist, but their climate change mitigation potential, feasibility and environmental implications are still unclear. Here we assess 15 decarbonization options for the European cement industry under current and future conditions. Climate impacts per tonne of clinker produced today in European countries vary between 832 and 1,075 kg CO2-equivalents. Decarbonization options at various maturity levels can mitigate between 7 and 135 Mt CO2-equivalents per year (4–108% of today’s annual emissions from European cement plants), with a range of synergies and trade-offs. Solutions such as alternative fuels or technological improvements reduce climate impacts up to 30%, while a mix of ambitious complementary measures achieves a mitigation of about 50% by 2050. Only rapid and large-scale implementation of carbon capture and storage can approach climate neutrality. Carbon capture for production of e-fuels presents no significant mitigation benefits while it increases other environmental impacts. © The Author(s) 2024.


Academic article


  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 257622
  • EC/H2020 / 299663
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 288047




  • Otavio Cavalett
  • Marcos D. B. Watanabe
  • Mari Voldsund
  • Simon Roussanaly
  • Francesco Cherubini


  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Energy Research / Gassteknologi



Published in

Nature Sustainability



View this publication at Cristin