Can Concrete be Replaced?

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ConcreteThe most widely used building material is undoubtedly concrete, the downside is concrete is responsible for a high percentage of carbon emissions. We need this material for pavements, bridges and buildings, and it’s used for numerous other applications. While being utilised, concrete emits around 8% of all the carbon dioxide emitted. This is a pretty dire situation, which is why the emergence of a new type of concrete is causing such excitement. Researches at the University of Tokyo have created a type of concrete made from waste.

Ippei Maruyama, professor in the university’s department of architecture, codeveloped the new concrete with Takafumi Noguchi. He said “Our concept is to acquire calcium from discarded concrete, which is otherwise going to waste,” Waste material is combined with CO2 captured either from industrial exhaust or directly from the air, forms calcium carbonate, which then becomes the basis of new concrete. With further development the researchers believe that this material could become completely carbon neutral.

There are abundant raw materials that can be used for this concrete, as over 100 million tons of waste from construction and demolition is produced each year. Concrete makes up a large proportion of this amount, perfect for carbon capture. The production of this innovative material will go a long way towards solving a major problem in the fight for lower carbon emissions.

It’s not all plain sailing though, as the material is not yet quite strong enough to completely replace conventional concrete. Researchers say though, that it could support the weight of smaller projects such as single homes. A full scale mock up structure is planned by 2025, and the hope is that one of the biggest issues could end up helping with climate change.


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