Coal & cement

The cement industry requires energy to produce cement. Coal is an important source of the energy needed. Cement is critical to the construction industry – mixed with water and gravel it forms concrete, a key construction material.

Coal & cement

Coal & cement

Varying the mix of cement, sand and aggregate enables concrete to be used in a range of applications. Products can be designed, coloured and shaped to accommodate a variety of environmental conditions, architectural requirements and to withstand a wide range of loads, stresses and impacts.

Four billion tonnes of cement was consumed globally in 2013. China’s cement consumption alone reached 2.4 billion tonnes.

What is cement?

Cement is made from a mixture of calcium carbonate (generally in the form of limestone), silica, iron oxide and alumina. A high-temperature kiln, often fuelled by coal, heats the raw materials to a partial melt at 1450°C, transforming them chemically and physically into a substance known as clinker. This grey pebble-like material comprises special compounds that give cement its binding properties. Clinker is mixed with gypsum and ground to a fine powder to make cement.

Coal is used as an energy source in cement production. Large amounts of energy are required to produce cement. It takes about 200 kg of coal to produce one tonne of cement and about 300-400 kg of cement is needed to produce one cubic metre of concrete.

Coal combustion products (CCPs), such as Fly Ash also play an important role in cement manufacture and in the construction industry generally.

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Four billion tonnes of cement was consumed globally in 2013