China’s cement and steel industry accounts for approximately half of the world’s total cement and steel production. These two industries are two of the most energy-intensive and highest carbon dioxide (CO2)-emitting industries and two of the key industrial contributors to air pollution in China. For example, the cement industry is the largest source of particulate matter (PM) emissions in China, accounting for 40 percent of its industrial PM emissions and 27 percent of its total national PM emissions. The Chinese steel industry contributed to approximately 20 percent of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and 27 percent of PM emissions for all key manufacturing industries in China in 2013.
In this study, we analyzed and projected the total PM and SO2 emissions from the Chinese cement and steel industry from 2010–2050 under three different scenarios: a Base Case scenario, an Advanced scenario, and an Advanced EOP (end-of-pipe) scenario. We used bottom-up emissions control technologies data and assumptions to project the emissions. In addition, we conducted an economic analysis to estimate the cost for PM emissions reductions in the Chinese cement industry using EOP control technologies, energy efficiency measures, and product change measures.
The results of the emissions projection showed that there is not a substantial difference in PM emissions between the Base Case and Advanced scenarios, for both the cement and steel industries. This is mainly because PM emissions in the cement industry caused mainly by production process and not the fuel use. Since our forecast for the cement production in the Base Case and Advanced scenarios are not too different from each other, this results in only a slight difference in PM emissions forecast for these two scenarios. Also, we assumed a similar share and penetration rate of control technologies from 2010 up to 2050 for these two scenarios for the cement and steel industry. However, the Advanced EOP scenario showed significantly lower PM emissions for the cement industry, reaching to 1.7 million tons of PM in 2050, which is less than half of that in the other two scenarios. The Advanced EOP scenario also has the lowest SO2 emissions for the cement industry in China, reaching to 212,000 tons of SO2 in 2050, which is equal to 40 percent of the SO2 emissions in the Advanced scenario and 30 percent of the emissions in the Base Case scenario. The SO2 emission is mainly caused by fuel (coal) burning in cement kiln or steel processes. For the steel industry, the SO2 emissions of the Advanced EOP scenario are significantly lower than the other scenarios, with emissions declining to 323,000 tons in 2050, which is equal to 21 percent and 17 percent of the emissions of Advanced and Base Case scenarios in 2050, respectively.
Results of the economic analysis show that for the Chinese cement industry, end-of-pipe PM control technologies have the lowest abatement cost per ton of PM reduced, followed by product change measures and energy efficiency measures, respectively.
In summary, in order to meet Chinese national and regional air quality standards, best practice end-of-pipe emissions control technologies must be installed in both cement and steel industry and it must be supplemented by implementation of energy efficiency technologies and reduction of cement and steel production through structural change in industry.