New Chemistry, Less Energy Could Yield Greener Cement
Making cement is one of the world’s most carbon-intensive endeavors, but German researchers think they’ve mixed a better building solution.
Cement is so common it’s nearly invisible. But the material that’s used to construct everything from bridges and office buildings to pools, sidewalks, and skate parks is one of the world’s largest contributors to greenhouse gas pollution.
About 5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions rise from the cement kilns that make the key ingredient of civilization’s hard surface areas. That’s roughly double the amount from the jet fuel burned in all global air travel.
Technically known as “Portland cement,” named after the craggy peninsula (map) where building stone was originally quarried in industrial-age England, cement is the binding agent, or glue, that makes concrete stick together and fastens one brick to another. The world’s construction industry would literally