Monday, August 17, 2009

world cement production

The Oil Drum | Cement is mainly used to make concrete, and is sort of the "active ingredient" in concrete - it is combined with sand and gravel in roughly fixed proportions. So cement production can be considered a rough proxy for the total amount of construction going on in a country.

The growth in China, from 1 GT to 1.3 GT in two years is mindboggling, even India and Russia are interesting...and there's more to think about under the fold. China's 2007 cement exports were only 33 million tons out of 1.3 billion tons produced. So, at least for China, production is a good proxy for demand/consumption.

Also interesting is the percentage of the world's production of cement that China took up in 2007 (50%) compared to 2004 (42.5%); some of this can no doubt be due to preparation for the Olympics, but that surely cannot not be all of that growth can it? Also note that other countries (perhaps the "developing world?") seems to be using less of the total proportion of cement used.

Some things we learned from the comment thread from Stuart's post a couple of years ago:

Remember, in China, oil isn't used in cement production. In the "clinker" stage, it's all coal. In the blending stage it's electricity (which is generated 80% from coal in China).

And cement production in China is inefficient. There are hundreds of small plants, both wet and dry processes, and the local environmental impact is severe.

Making a pound of cement releases a pound of CO2. And a Gigaton or two?

This also isn't a new phenomenon. This link shows data back to 1999 that illustrated that China has been at this for quite a while, but perhaps not to this extent.

To conclude, here is the percent change of production bar graph from 2005 to 2008. Think about what all that means in terms of energy. Also note the numbers from India, Russia, and the US.