Decarbonizing the ceramics industry: A systematic and critical review of policy options, developments and sociotechnical systems

Dylan D. Furszyfer Del Rio, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Aoife M. Foley, Steve Griffiths, Morgan Bazilian, Jinsoo Kim, David Rooney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Ceramics are considered one of the greatest and earliest most useful successes of humankind. However, ceramics can be highly damaging to natural and social systems during their lifecycle, from material extraction to waste handling. For example, each year in the EU, the manufacture of ceramics (e.g., refractories, wall and floor tiles and bricks and roof tile) emit 19 Mt CO2, while globally, bricks manufacturing is responsible for 2.7% of carbon emissions annually. This critical and systematic review seeks to identify alternatives to mitigate the climate effects of ceramics products and processes to make their lifecycle more sustainable. This article reviews 324 studies to answer the following questions: what are the main determinants of energy and carbon emissions emerging from the ceramics industry? What benefits will this industry amass from adopting more low-carbon processes in manufacturing their products, and what barriers will need to be tackled? We employ a sociotechnical approach to answer these questions, identify barriers to decarbonise the ceramics industry, and present promising avenues for future research. In doing so, we show that environmental and energy challenges associated with the ceramics industry are not just limited to the manufacturing stage but also relate to the extraction of raw materials, waste disposal, and landfilling.

Original languageBritish English
Article number112081
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Ceramic processes
  • Ceramics
  • Ceramics manufacturing
  • Climate change
  • Climate mitigation
  • Energy policy
  • Industrial decarbonization
  • Innovation
  • Net-zero
  • Sustainability transitions


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