The concrete industry is at a pivotal moment as the world grapples with the environmental impact of this ubiquitous construction material, which accounts for approximately 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. With an annual production of about 30 billion tons of concrete, three times more than four decades ago, innovative solutions are on the rise to create lower-carbon alternatives.
One approach involves drawing inspiration from the past. Dmat, a deep tech startup, develops self-healing concrete inspired by Ancient Roman techniques. Meanwhile, a team of researchers at Northwestern University is working on “Martian concrete” that boasts more than double the strength of traditional concrete and doesn’t require water. Over the years, researchers have also experimented with unconventional materials, such as volcanic ash, carbon black, rice husk ash, algae, and even human hair. However, while these experiments may make headlines, Professor Christopher Cheeseman of Imperial College London argues that they are unlikely to have a substantial global impact in reducing concrete’s carbon footprint. “You can take coffee grinds and put them into concrete, and maybe you can make something locally that is quite clever, but it’s going to have zero impact globally,” he says.Continue reading… “Rethinking Concrete: Innovations to Reduce its Carbon Footprint”