The global economic crisis has affected negatively the cement production in the European Union (EU), which closely follows trends in the construction sector. In 2007, total cement production in the 27 EU member states reached a peak of 270 mt. In 2010, this had dropped to 190 mt, or around six per cent of global production.
Regardless of the challenging economic conditions, four of the five largest cement producers – Lafarge (France), HeidelbergCement (Germany), Holcim (Switzerland) and Italcementi (Italy) – are based in Europe. EU-wide, there are some 270 cement production plants and the sector employs 45,000 people directly.
In 2010, CO2 emissions from the cement industry in the EU totalled around 100MtCO2. The highest energy consumption occurs during clinker burning, which includes calcination, a process that releases some 60 per cent of direct CO2 emissions associated with cement production. The remaining emissions stem from fossil fuel combustion.