Carbon-eating Cement

According to The Guardian, London-based Novacem has created a new cement that is less hazardous to the environment. Cement production accounts for 5 percent of global carbon emissions, more than the aviation industry.

Conventional cement requires heating limestone or clay to 1,500 celsius.  Enormous amounts of energy are needed for the ovens that heat cement, and this heating process creates carbon. When cement hardens, it absorbs CO2. One ton of standard cement leaves a net carbon footprint of 0.4 tons.

Novacem’s cement, based on magnesium silicates, requires less heating (only to 650 celsius), and also absorbs larger amounts of C02 (1.1 tons per ton of cement) as it hardens. In total, the magnesium silicate-based cement has a negative carbon footprint per ton — 0.6 tons of carbon are removed from the atmosphere as it hardens.

The cement has attracted the attention of investors, and a number of large construction companies. The company has also received a 1.5 million pound investment from the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board to build a pilot plant.

While UK cement business associations argue that magnesium silicates may not be easily accessible, or widely available, Novacem thinks there could be a large market, as there are over 10,000 billion tons of magnesium silicate found in nature.

Read the full article

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