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The new cement that absorbs carbon dioxide

British engineers have developed a new cement that absorbs carbon dioxide and uses significantly less energy in its manufacture than the traditional Portland variety.

During the manufacture of Portland cement, a raw material such as limestone is heated to extreme temperatures,
meaning a high energy input is needed. Novacem's cement is based on magnesium silicates, which require considerably less heating, and the material absorbs carbon dioxide as it hardens.

Traditional cement manufacture is responsible for about 0.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of cement. Novacem claims that, over its life cycle, their cement will actually absorb 0.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of cement.

The British Cement Association has expressed a degree of skepticism, questioning whether sufficient raw materials are available for mass manufacturing and pointing out that extensive testing is needed to demonstrate that any new cement is fit for purpose.

The cement industry is responsible for five per cent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Lower carbon alternatives to Portland cement are becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. Ecocem's ground granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBS) cement is derived from steel industry wastes, thus avoiding many of the emissions associated with traditional manufacturing processes.
Last modified on Wednesday, 07 January 2009 17:15