The World Cement Association (WCA) recently held its final board meeting of the year in Dubai, UAE, taking the opportunity to review progress made so far and set priorities for 2020 and beyond. 

“This has been a very successful year for the WCA in which we’ve launched a number of exciting new initiatives and member benefits, and we look forward to building on that work next year,” said Ian Riley, the association’s chief executive. “As our international membership continues to grow, we will create many more opportunities for organizations from all across the global cement ecosystem to come together, collaborate and share ideas and innovations, for the benefit of all.”

Climate change and the environmental challenges facing the cement industry led the agenda, as the board considered ways to help its members achieve the WCA’s target of fully decarbonizing the industry by 2050. 

A key focus will be on finding innovative means of reducing carbon emissions, but also looking at how the cement industry can make a positive impact on the environment in other ways. This includes initiatives such as co-processing in cement kilns, to safely dispose of municipal waste in places where landfill is scarce, and enhancing biodiversity through quarry reclamation. 

Directors also heard feedback from the WCA’s first ever Member Forums, which focused on Smart Plants & AI and on Low NOx technologies. Groups of members visited best-practice plants, received presentations and engaged in round table discussions to learn and exchange views with industry leaders in these fields. 

Participants highlighted the value of seeing best practice in action, and the opportunity to share experience and ideas with a small group of specialists in a format where there was time for in-depth discussions. They also appreciated the focus on sharing knowledge rather than having a commercial objective, which arose from the fact that there are no delegate fees for members to attend the Forums. 

The first Member Forum of next year will tackle the topic of Green Quarry Rehabilitation, in Taiwan in February, and in March the second will be on the theme of Advanced Milling Technologies, held in Vietnam. 

The board also reviewed another new WCA initiative: the first WCA plant audit and gap analysis, which was carried out at Saudi Cement by engineers from CUCC and other companies in November. Analysis focused on plant performance and energy efficiency, and was a valuable opportunity for both teams to learn from each other and identify practices that could be implemented in their own operations. This Plant Audit and Gap Analysis is a service available free of charge to all WCA corporate members. 

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