As people everywhere continue to key in on ways to curb climate change, the cement industry’s focus is on CO2 emissions. And it has been for a while. Why? Because cement is a key ingredient in one of the world’s most popular and versatile building materials — concrete. As such, there’s a lot of production taking place (which is a great thing!). With that production, however, comes carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Bloomberg Businessweek notes that the cement industry accounts for about 8% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.
So, how does an industry so crucial to the continued growth of our infrastructure shift practices to lower its environmental impact? As with so many other endeavors, it’s all about putting innovative folks to work on the issue — and putting a plan in place.
In an Electrek article, Portland Cement Association (PCA) Vice President of Sustainability Rick Bohan noted plans are in the works for a roadmap aimed at helping PCA members lower emissions at every stage of the cement process. The goal is to complete the roadmap by the end of 2021, according to the article, while member companies hope to reach carbon neutral status by 2050. Getting PCA members all thinking and working toward one specific goal is a success in and of itself, considering the organization represents 92% of the United States’ cement production capacity.
Of course, while overall industry planning continues moving forward, individual researchers and cement companies have long been targeting the issue of cement-related CO2 emissions by trying out new blends. Researchers at Purdue University, for instance, have found that incorporating titanium dioxide into cement can double cement’s ability to absorb CO2. As the Washington Post notes, other techniques, such as carbonation curing (also known as CO2 curing), transform carbon dioxide from gas to mineral and incorporate them into blends in a way that can actually make poured concrete stronger. If you’re interested in learning about other ways people are getting creative with concrete technology, be sure to check out our past blog post!
There’s no quick fix for the cement industry when it comes to CO2 emissions, but the General Chipping team is proud to see so many of our friends and colleagues coming together for the cause. We look forward to seeing the results of such efforts as time goes on!