2 people discussing data on monitors2 people discussing data on monitors

Data Enabling Transformation and Optimization towards Concrete Sustainability – will help cement plants increase their use of SCMs, thus reducing the clinker factor and associated CO2 emissions. Cement plants are already gathering vast amounts of operating data – our ambition is to combine this data with a fundamental understanding of cement chemistry to create advanced predictive models, allowing cement plants to quickly adapt and optimise their processes to new SCMs and produce very low-carbon cement on demand.

The Challenge: How do we scale-up the use of SCMs to hit decarbonization goals?

Increasing the use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) is one of the main pathways to decarbonizing cement production – itself the primary challenge when considering the sustainability of concrete. These materials replace a fraction of the clinker in cement: as clinker production represents the largest source of carbon emissions in cement, reducing the amount used thus lowers the carbon footprint of cement.

The use of SCMs is not new: industrial byproducts such as fly ash, calcined clay, and blast furnace slag have been added to cement for decades to reduce the cost of production. But their use must increase significantly if decarbonization goals are to be achieved. The ultimate goal in DETOCS is to help reduce the clinker factor of cement from about 70% today to 40% by 2030.

Increasing the use of SCMs in cement production is a complicated initiative. Achieving the targeted reduction in clinker factor will not only require the rapid scaling-up in the quantity of SCMs used, but also the use of novel SCMs as the supply of traditional materials becomes constrained. However, cement chemistry is complex: changing both the amount and type of SCMs may impact the performance of cement and, ultimately, concrete. This has traditionally limited the use of SCMs in some applications in the construction sector.

Developing new digital tools and models may hold the answer

The DETOCS Project aims to help solve some of these issues. It proposes a new approach to rapidly increasing the use of SCMs in existing cement production facilities. Workstreams will focus on exploiting the latest innovations in digital tools to predict and control the quality of cement and concrete blends with high amounts of SCMS compared to today’s standards. The project ultimately aims to lay the scientific foundations to create knowledge and new models to study the production of high-quality SCMs and their impact on low-carbon cement and concrete mixes.

The project brings together leading scientific expertise, interdisciplinary knowledge, engineering solutions, and real-world process data. It consists of fifteen international PhD projects undertaking complementary research, accompanied by a balanced mix of the latest scientific and transferable skills training, delivered by the project’s local academic partners.

Funding is provided by the Horizon Europe research and innovation program under Marie Skolodowska-Curie (grant agreement No 101119929), with additional funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI) and the UK Research and Innovation fund (UKRI).

Project timeline





The Horizon Programme

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101119929.

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PhD Projects

15 complementary PhD projects


Accurate prediction of clinker quality and process-related information using a high temperature thermodynamic approach

Coming soon


Thermal activation of SCMs: Process Models and Quality Prediction.

Coming soon


Chemical activation of SCMs via carbonation and admixtures: Quality Prediction

Coming soon


Mechanical activation of SCMs: Process Models and Quality prediction

Coming soon


Quality prediction of low-carbon cement blends.

Coming soon


Environmental and technical performance-based design of concrete produced with low carbon cement

Coming soon


Impact of material variability on concrete performance

Coming soon


Quantifying concrete properties from cement paste scale tests.

Coming soon


Soft-sensing & data analytics for in-line measurements in low-carbon cement production.

Coming soon


Traceability of concrete materials along the value chain.

Coming soon


A machine learning framework to predict low-carbon cement and concrete quality.

Coming soon


Drivers and barriers to the end-user adoption of low-carbon cement.

Coming soon


Rapid SCM characterisation method based on computer vision.

Coming soon


Development of a decentralised production model for production of cementitious binders from Secondary Raw Materials.

Coming soon


Environmental and economic performance of low carbon cement.

Coming soon



Kick Off

We’ve set the goals, sourced the funding, and recruited the PhD candidates. Now all that’s left is to start work! The DETOCS project kicks off this Spring to develop new digital solutions that support rapid scale-up in the use of SCMs.

Interest in the project has so far blown us away. We received an average of 18 qualified applications for each PhD project. Selected candidates come from all over the world and from a range of disciplines including machine learning, mineralogy, chemical engineering, material science, and data science. We’re bringing all of our PhD candidates together in June 2024 for the first training event. So, stay tuned for more news as the project begins in earnest!


Get in touch with us

You can get in touch with our project coordinator and project manager by using one of the contact methods.

Wilson Ricardo Leal da Silva

Research Project Coordinator

FLSmidth Cement A/S

Vigerslev Allé 77, 2500, Valby, Copenhagen Denmark