FICEM Partners with Miami Engineering to Tackle Cement and Concrete Industry Emissions

FICEM Partners with Miami Engineering to Tackle Cement and Concrete Industry Emissions

Francisco De Caso, Ph.D., principal scientist in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, Maria José Garcia, FICEM Executive Director, and José Raúl González Merlo, FICEM President, at FICEM's President's meeting in Cancun, Mexico, on September 6, 2022.
By Lucas Baker

Francisco De Caso, Ph.D., principal scientist in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, Maria José Garcia, FICEM Executive Director, and José Raúl González Merlo, FICEM President, at FICEM's President's meeting in Cancun, Mexico, on September 6, 2022.

FICEM Partners with Miami Engineering to Tackle Cement and Concrete Industry Emissions

By Lucas Baker
Leaders from academia and the cement and concrete industry join forces.

Cement and concrete production accounts for 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. “Concrete is the second-most used material in the world,” said Antonio Nanni, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Vice President of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). “Unless we change how this essential material is produced, net zero carbon emissions cannot happen.”

On September 6, 2022, the University of Miami College of Engineering deepened its commitment to carbon neutrality as Francisco De Caso, Ph.D., principal scientist in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, represented the University at the Inter-American Cement Federation (FICEM) President’s meeting in Cancun, Mexico. FICEM and the University of Miami signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will enable joint research initiatives toward carbon neutrality in the cement and concrete industry.

The partnership will create a big data observatory led by the College of Engineering to assess the carbon footprint of the cement and concrete industry–down to the individual plant. The observatory will partner with companies to measure and optimize their carbon efficiency, analyzing emissions created by extraction, production, and transportation.

“The University of Miami is uniquely positioned to connect institutions, industries, leaders, and ideas from the Americas and across the world,” said De Caso. “We serve local and global communities, working at the cutting edge of research and striving to translate what we learn into real-world solutions.”

FICEM represents over 25 of the largest cement producing companies, institutes, and associations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal. The organization promotes climate protection, energy efficiency, the use of alternative fuels and raw materials, as well as socially-beneficial applications of cement and concrete–housing, pavements, and infrastructure, among others.

“FICEM considers this partnership to be of the utmost importance, as it reaffirms our commitment to sustainability in the cement and concrete industry,” said José Raúl González Merlo, FICEM President. “We’re confident this alliance will produce research and education initiatives that will promote socially-beneficial and inclusive solutions in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

“This is a historic partnership between the private sector and higher education to come together to address the need for carbon neutrality in the cement and concrete industry,” said Gabriela Gerón-Piñón, Ph. D., Director for International Partnerships and Business Connections at the University of Miami. “Led by the College of Engineering, the University of Miami will apply its research, infrastructure, human capital, and technical expertise to tackle climate change, a unique global challenge.”

This comes on the heels of the College of Engineering’s historic cement and concrete climate accords where, on May 5, 2022, several unprecedented agreements were signed between FICEM, ASTM International, ACI, Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign to collaboratively focus on reducing industry-wide emissions and reaching carbon neutrality.

During the September 6 meeting, presentations from Thomas Guillot from GCCA, Koen Coppenholle from the European Cement Association (CEMBUREAU), and Martin Schneider from the European Cement Research Academy (ECRA) demonstrated the importance of cement and concrete in everyday life as well as how the industry can implement innovative solutions to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Our partnership with the University of Miami is based on our common commitment to a sustainable planet,” said Maria José Garcia, FICEM Executive Director. “Latin America suffers from climate vulnerability as well as a lack of housing and infrastructure. To address these urgent needs, the region’s cement and concrete industry is committed to building a resilient Latin America and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.”

“The College of Engineering extends its appreciation and gratitude to FICEM president José Raúl González Merlo, FICEM executive director Maria José García, and FICEM’s members for this collaboration,” said De Caso, “as well as our University leaders such as President Julio Frenk, Provost Jeffrey Duerk, Dean Pratim Biswas and Dr. Antonio Nanni, Chair of Civil and Architectural Engineering for making this partnership a reality.”