A cement manufacturing plant requires significant amounts of energy to produce clinker, the main ingredient in cement.
Energy in the form of electricity is required to prepare the raw meal (typically limestone, clay, sand and iron ore), run the kiln and, in integrated cement plants, to grind the clinker, gypsum and other materials to produce cement in grinding mills.
In 2018-19 Australian integrated cement industry electrical power consumption was around 923 GWh, 1 per cent lower than in the previous year and 7 per cent lower than 2010-11.
For integrated cement plants, energy in the form of heat is required to raise the kiln temperature to over 1,450 degrees Celsius required to produce clinker. This heat is predominantly generated by coal and natural gas, and to a lesser extent by diesel oil.
In total Australian cement producers used around 21 petajoules of thermal energy, up 3 per cent year-on-year and down 23 per cent since 2010-11 (see below). Of this 61 per cent came from coal, 21 per cent from natural gas, 3 per cent from diesel oil and other fuels. The remaining 15 per cent was derived from alternative fuels (such as wood waste, solvents, used oil, spent pot liner and carbon powders).