It is estimated that 8% of global CO2 emissions come from cement production. Some sources even state that up to ten percent of the most important greenhouse gases are released during the manufacturing process of said material. Concrete is the most used construction material in the world and its consumption continues to grow exponentially due to the global needs of housing and urbanization.


It is urgent to llok for means of production that drastically reduce emissions in cement production.  For mor than 30 years, the Cuban scientist Jose Fernando Martirena began to address this problem. Drawing on experiencies in India, he sought to make cement from the ashes of sugarcane harvest residues and volcanic ash.  

With the support of the Swiss government and the European Union, real tests were carried out in several workshops, including in Nicaragua and Ecuador.  The results were promising, but he soon found a better raw material, abundantly available throughout the world.  These are certain types of clay that appear as potential substitutes for clinker, the most polluting material, in the manufacture of cement.

Shortly thereafter, Martirena teamed up with Professor Scrivener from th Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL), and they launched a joint investigation with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Between both universities and another colleague in India they formulated the new low carbon cement, LC3 Cement Plant in Ivory Coast calles LC3, wich reduce CO2 emissions by around 40%.  After intense trials, quality and durability tests, the dissemination of this new cement to the industry began to be projected.  

Several companies took the initiative and until today more than two million tons of LC3 have been produced in Colombia and the Ivory Coast. Also the company Cementos Progreso in Guatemala has started a pilot production.

Consequently, almost one million tons of CO2 are saved annually, which is equivalent to more than 10% of Costaa Rica’s emissions, and the prospects for the near future are immense.  The technological center in Cuba, directed by Professor Martirena, advises several companies in America and Africa engaged in the production of LC3 cement, a process that is on the rise.

Currently mor than 100 million people in the world do not have a decent home, due to the lack of affordable and resistant construction materials.  Concrete, realistically, is the only construction material capable of satisfying this enormous demand.  That is why the production of cement increases massively, and with it its contribution to global warming.  It is a vicious circle that can only be mitigated with CO2-reduced cement production.  In this scenario, this new cement appears as a viable alternative to meet the need for housing and, at the same time, reduce the vulnerability of the inhabitants to natural desasters.


The Central University “Marta Abreu” de las Villas, in Santa Clara, Cuba, operates a pilot plant that is used to make trial productions with raw materials from various countries.  The purpose is to ensure, in each case, that the new cement has the same mechanical properties as traditional cements at a lower or similar cost and is easy to apply. In fact, it has been proven that LC3 has better resistance to degradation in front of salty waters, wich makes it excellent for construction in coastal conditions.  

The Federated College of Enginners and Architects of Costa Rica organized an information event on March 28, with the presence of Dr. Martirena and the president of the world cement association, among other high-profile guests.  This meeting was sponsored by the global program of LC3, the Climate Works Foundation.  It was aimed primarily at businessmen and scientists from Latin America and the United States. 

Pilot Production of LC3 Cement at the "Marta Abreu" Central University of Las Villas

Pilot production of LC3 Cement at the “Marta Abreu” Central University of Las Villas.





LC3 Cement Plant in Ivory Coast



LC3 Cement Pilot Plant at the “Marta Abreu” Central University of Las Villas