EFFORTS to achieve net-zero carbon emissions at Rugby’s cement plant were the hot topic during a visit from a government minister.
Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, visited the Rugby Cement plant to get an insight into the actions needed to decarbonise the UK’s ‘dispersed’ cement plants.
He was joined by his team from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), as well as Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, who is a member of the House of Commons DESNZ Select Committee.
Building materials supplier Cemex hosted the visit to highlight the challenges and opportunities for decarbonising dispersed plants like Rugby’s, which are located too far from other large production plants to be included in a net zero industrial cluster.
Industrial clusters allow plant operators to work together, pool resources and pitch for government funding to support decarbonisation. But only half of the UK’s 10 cement plants are currently part of a cluster and some, like Rugby, are too isolated from other industry to be part of a cluster.
Lord Callanan said: “We have a strong cement industry here in the UK which is vital to our infrastructure, housing and urban regeneration.
“The government has recently published its blueprint for a carbon capture industry, to assist important sectors such as cement manufacturing to reach net zero while supporting our construction needs.
“It was excellent to hear from leaders here in Rugby, a cement heartland in its own right, about the impact of this work and I look forward to continuing this dialogue with UK cement producers.”
Cemex’s Director of Public Affairs Martin Casey said: “We were proud to welcome Lord Callanan to our Rugby Cement Plant, which plays a vital role in both the local economy and the wider national construction industry.
“Cement is a vital component in infrastructure such as hospitals, bridges, schools and houses so we must work together with government to ensure that it can continue to be produced into the long term, while ensuring the West Midlands and UK meets its net zero targets.”
Cemex’s Rugby plant has pioneered the use of alternative fuels, including a multimillion-pound investment in 2022 to eliminate fossil fuel use in favour of waste derived alternatives – part of the firm’s efforts to decarbonise its operations and achieve net-zero CO2 cement and concrete by 2050.