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Cement is the primary ingredient in concrete, a material that is known for its use in the construction of major infrastructure. Due to its strong binding properties, production of cement has increased annually, around 2.5% each year, according to Columbia University’s Earth Institute. In addition to this, the cement industry fabricates over 2.55 billion tons of cement every year though this is expected to reach 4.5 billion tons by 2050.
While concrete remains one of construction’s most important materials, the process to make cement is a huge cause of carbon dioxide pollution, as well as other harmful air pollutants. Specifically, the primary ingredient in cement, clinker, is also the primary source of these emissions during production. It is known that for 1 ton of cement produced around 0.6 to 1 ton of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. With these gasses linked to global warming, it is now imperative to find an alternative solution.
Green cement can be the key to this problem. Green cement is produced with the aid of “carbon-negative manufacturing processes”. This means that processes used to make cement are made more efficient and significantly reduce the amount of CO2 released as a byproduct. With this technologically advanced process, green cement can be considered an eco-friendly solution.
There have been multiple companies that have patented green cement manufacture as it is becoming more and more in demand from construction companies and clients due to the increased pressure by most nations around the world. This increased awareness of sustainability and climate change has been raised by international symposiums and campaigns.
Despite their efforts, there still needs to be more awareness around the rewards of using green cement. It has a reputation for being a risky financial investment for consumers and manufacturers alike due to the new production technology, which has also increased the expense of making the product.
The Sustainability of Green Cement
For real change to be made in the construction industry, incentives must be given to companies for using green cement rather than the cheaper more harmful alternative. Governments should support the manufacturing of green cement and construction requirements need to be altered.
It should be noted that Ceratech, a cement manufacturing company based in the United States, has been leading the way for the international market. They have created a feed mixture which is 95% recycled fly ash and 5% renewable liquid additives. Furthermore, their use of a hydraulic cement system means that the cement manufactured at the plant has an almost zero carbon footprint, according to the standards of the Environmental Product Declaration.
Green cement manufacture actually reduces cement intake. Its raw materials use industrial wastes such as fly ash or slag from a blast furnace. It can also be made from recyclable material in order to make it more sustainable. There are also hybrid green cements which have been manufactured to specialize in certain areas. This includes long-term strengths or higher ductility. Green cement can reduce the emissions of CO2 by 40% compared to more traditional cement manufacture.
There are also engineering advantages to using green cement over more conventional cement-like OPC. It is known that green cement manufacturing processes increase cement strength and also reduce porosity.
While the production of this product remains high, traditionally produced cement can incur green taxes, which has been known to double the price of cements such as OPC. Hopefully, this will mean that construction companies will have more of an incentive to choose the greener option in their projects.