Concrete is one of the most widely utilized building materials in the world. You’ll find it in home foundations, driveways and roads. Unfortunately, it also has characteristics that make it harmful to the environment. These negative aspects are associated with its production, usage and disposal.
However, scientists at Novacem, which is a British concrete manufacture in London, may have found a way to reduce the harmful effects. They’ve designed a new type of concrete that actually absorbs carbon dioxide,
Carbon Emissions and the Planet
Some estimates claim that as much as five percent of the carbon emissions in the world are due to concrete. This contributes to greenhouse gases, which help the planet hold on to some of the sun’s energy so that the earth isn’t a big ice ball. The problem is that if too much carbon gets into the atmosphere, it can increase the temperature of the planet, which isn’t good.
High Processing Temperatures and Carbon Emissions
A substantial portion of the carbon emissions that are released from concrete is due to the way that it’s produced. It takes a considerable amount of energy and water to extract the raw materials that are used to manufacture concrete. In addition, high temperatures must be reached by burning certain materials in order to create cement, which is a main element of concrete. This part of the process releases a large amount of carbon.
Novacem’s New Form of Concrete
The process for creating concrete developed by Novacem requires a different raw material during the stage when high temperatures are required. Magnesium sulfate is used in the process, which needs a lot less heating. Novacem claims that the cement that they create has the ability to absorb as much as 0.6 tonnes of CO2. That’s a big difference when compared to old-style cement. It actually emits around 0.4 tonnes of CO2.
A Big Breakthrough
Obviously, if this new form of cement were to go mainstream and become the main element used in concrete production, it would change concrete from being bad for the planet to being environmentally friendly. The foundations on commercial buildings throughout the world would actually absorb carbon dioxide. However, it’s still too early to get excited as testing of the material is in its trial period.
Reaction by the British Cement Association
There has been some skepticism to the big announcement made by Novacem. The British Cement Association stated that they have already been working on a number of non-cement alternatives. They found that it was difficult to find other materials that could be used to create an alternative type of concrete. Novacem stated that there wouldn’t be a problem with their process. they pointed out that there are about 10 billion tonnes of magnesium related silicates in the world. They also felt that other alternative byproducts could be used.
1.5 Million Pound Pilot Project
Novacem is confident that this new type of concrete will be a game changer. They’ve invested 1.5 million pounds into the project for further experimentation and to license the manufacturing process. While the product may not be available for some time, this news is highly positive. If every construction company started using this new type of concrete, it could really impact the world.