Concrete stands as the most commonly used construction material in the modern world as it can provide numerous advantages such as weather protection, durability, and affordability. Unfortunately, the main component of concrete, cement, carries a significant carbon footprint. According to CBS News, cement production alone accounts for more than 4 billion tonnes per year, equating to roughly 8% of all CO2 emissions. To tackle this challenge, how can technology be utilized to transform concrete into a more sustainable material?
CLINKER AS A POLLUTER
The calcination process, responsible for producing the cement constituent or “clinker,” is a substantial source of concrete pollution which contributes to over half of the cement industry's carbon emissions. This process necessitates heat combustion (around 1,450°C) to transform raw materials, predominantly limestone and clay, into clinker through the means of quarrying and crushing.
To address this issue, several projects are now emerging through the integration of technology, and one notable example is the creation of bio-concrete bricks. The technology mimics a procedure that involves pouring sand into molds and injecting it with specific microbes, including bacteria commonly employed in concrete production, to produce coral. Instead of Portland cement, bio-cement is utilized to bind loose sand and rocks together. Calcium and carbon are combined throughout the bio-cement manufacturing process, enabling the biological construction of limestone. As a result, by harnessing carbon as a building component, products can be manufactured without the reliance on fossil fuels or high levels of heat. This advancement makes bio-concrete energy-saving and becoming more eco-friendly than normal concrete.
The advent of new technologies calls for their integration across all sector to resonate transformative outcomes. Therefore, incorporating green concrete in any industry that still relies on traditional concrete production methods becomes an essential step toward bringing about a sustainable and future-ready society.
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