China’s cement makers face significant challenges when it comes to adopting the technology they need to capture their carbon dioxide emissions , according to a technology supplier to industry leader China National Building Materials Group. An undeveloped market for the collected gas and the absence of a system to incentivise emissions reduction means corporate efforts remain at a pilot stage, said Calgary-based Delta CleanTech’s president Jeff Allison. “The main challenges include what to do with the carbon dioxide after it has been captured, and what are the penalties and rewards in place to encourage carbon capture , utilisation and storage (CCUS),” he told the Post . Delta last month signed an agreement to provide know-how to Nanjing Kisen International Engineering, a unit of CNBM Group, the nation’s largest cement producer, on capturing carbon dioxide from exhaust gases. It will see Nanjing Kisen apply Delta’s technology when building carbon dioxide capture facilities at CNBM’s plants. Two such projects are currently under consideration or development, Allison said. Delta licenses its carbon capture technology to partners which are charged a one-time fee of 4.5 to 5 per cent of the capital costs, he said. Such facilities can cost C$50 million (HK$306 million) to C$500 million depending on the capacity. CNBM’s rival Anhui Conch Cement has built a pilot facility capable of capturing and purifying 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, after investing over 50 million yuan to develop technology and equipment with the Dalian University of Technology. The cement sector is responsible for 15 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in China, the world’s largest emitter. CCUS forms part of efforts by China’s cement industry, which accounts for over half the global output, to reduce carbon emissions. Beijing, which is targeting peak carbon emissions before 2030, this month issued a circular ordering the upgrade of facilities that failed to meet the minimum energy efficiency standard. Those that do not comply must be shut down by 2025. Cement is one of several industries that may be added to the list of sectors covered by China’s national mandatory carbon emission permits trading scheme as soon as this year. Currently only power generators are obliged to trade in the scheme, which provides a penalty and reward system to incentivise emissions reduction. CCUS entails the separation of carbon dioxide from waste gases generated by industrial processes and energy consumption. The gas is then either used in industrial applications – such as boosting output of oil and gas wells – or injected underground for permanent storage. CCUS is “virtually the only technology solution for deep emissions reductions” from cement production, said an International Energy Agency report in 2020. CCUS will contribute 47 per cent of the cement sector’s carbon dioxide reductions in 2030, rising to 63 per cent in 2060, it projected. Emissions from heating limestone to break it down into calcium oxide and carbon dioxide – not associated with fossil fuel use – accounts for two-thirds of the cement industry’s carbon emissions, it noted. China has around 40 CCUS projects with combined annual capacity of 3 million tonnes that are either in operation or under construction, according to the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning. Most are small scale pilot schemes in the oil, coal chemicals and power sectors. It forecast the Chinese cement industry’s demand for CCUS to reach 200 million tonnes by 2060.