The Tecnalia Construction Unit, within the framework of its commitment to sustainability, has developed a new generation of environmentally-friendly cements that enable cutting direct CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by up to 100%.
The development of the new ecological cement, as well as the techniques for enhancing its mechanical properties using nanotechnology, has lead to the obtention of two patents, whose ownership is shared between Tecnalia and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).
In drawing up these products, the Nanomaterials in Construction Team (NANOC) at Tecnalia substituted limestone as the raw material by solid waste from thermal power stations. Thanks to this new production technique, a threefold objective has been achieved: carrying out efficient management of waste through recycling (it is estimated that through 2010 some 800 million tons of solid waste will be generated by power stations, 50% of which will go to the waste dump), thus contributing to the preservation of the natural resources of the planet and avoiding the direct emission to the atmosphere of greenhouse effect gases through eliminating the limestone burning process.
Likewise, the technology developed by Tecnalia-Construction enables reducing the energy demand of the cement synthesis process by approximately 50%.
The traditional process of manufacturing cements involves the calcination of limestone, resulting in the over-exploitation of a non- renewable natural resource and the emission of huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. Moreover, the current cement synthesis process involves high consumption of energy which, depending on the source used, leads to an additional increase in the contaminant emissions. As a consequence, it is calculated that 5% of the total emissions of CO2 worldwide comes from the cement industry.
The new generation of ecological cements developed by Tecnalia-Construcción is a revolution in the current model of production which will significantly contribute to ameliorate the harmful effects on the environment of the activity of the cement industry. This project is within the remit of Tecnalia's objective to contribute to the development of innovative technology for an economy based on sustainable development.