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Materials & Equipment South Africa

Cambridge researchers break new ground in green cement

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found a clever way to make cement that's good for the planet. This new cement, called Cambridge Electric Cement (CEC), could change how we build things and help fight climate change and has the potential to reshape the industry's approach to sustainability and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.
Green cement would be a climate win for the globe. Source: Engin Akyurt/Pexels
Green cement would be a climate win for the globe. Source: Engin Akyurt/Pexels

Cement production is a major contributor to global CO2 emissions, accounting for approximately 7.5% of total human activity related carbon emissions.

The conventional process involves the decarbonation of limestone and the combustion of fossil fuels, both of which release substantial amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

While efforts have been made to reduce emissions through fuel switching and the use of supplementary materials, these strategies have limitations and cannot achieve zero emissions.

Cambridge method

CEC offers a radical departure from traditional cement production by leveraging used cement, which is currently a waste product.

In the research paper published in Nature researchers developed an all-electric process that eliminates both process and combustion emissions.

The process involves reclinkering recovered cement paste, which has already been decarbonated, in an electric arc furnace (EAF) used for steel recycling.

This not only produces high-quality Portland clinker but also reduces the emissions associated with steel recycling by decreasing the need for lime flux.

By adopting this green cement process, construction professionals can significantly reduce the environmental impact of their projects.

Sustainable construction

Using CEC can lead to the creation of zero-emissions concrete, a major step towards achieving net-zero goals in the built environment.

The kicker, however, is that the process is economically competitive with traditional cement production, making it a viable and attractive option for industry stakeholders.

The development of CEC represents a major milestone in the pursuit of sustainable construction practices. With the global demand for cement projected to increase in the coming years, the scalability and economic viability of CEC make it a promising solution for meeting this demand while minimising environmental impact.

As the construction industry increasingly prioritizes sustainability, CEC can play a key role in shaping a greener future for the built environment.

About Lindsey Schutters

Lindsey is the editor for ICT, Construction&Engineering and Energy&Mining at Bizcommunity
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