Concrete: One of the world’s largest pollutants

April 16, 2024

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Concrete: One of the world’s largest pollutants

The foundation of modern construction, concrete is the most widely used man-made material on Earth. But its sustainability credentials are alarming. Much of that is down to cement, the binding agent for sand and gravel to make the concrete we find in our buildings. 

Concrete alone accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions because we produce a staggering 30 billion tonnes each year. That’s more than the combined weight of all the biomass and fossil fuels used annually. But there’s more. Concrete production also consumes 9% of the world’s industrial water supplies. 

Innovation is needed and it’s needed now. Luckily others think so too. 

Sustainable Concrete: Who’s leading the way?

CarbonCure: Leading with CO2 Sequestration Technology

CarbonCure Technologies is changing concrete manufacturing by recycling CO2 into concrete, which reduces its carbon footprint without compromising on strength. This method of carbon sequestration makes CarbonCure an important player in the sustainable materials sector.

Brimstone: Revolutionising Cement with Sulphur

Brimstone Energy produces concrete by replacing traditional limestone-based cement with sulphur-based cement, effectively eliminating CO2 emissions associated with conventional cement production.

Read more about their process here.

Partanna: Sustainability Meets Traditional Cement

Partanna uses recycled ingredients and is carbon-negative because its production removes CO₂ from the atmosphere. Partanna aims to reduce the carbon footprint of cement without compromising on performance or affordability.

Solidia Technologies: Redefining Concrete with Low Emission Processes

Solidia Technologies’ approach cuts carbon emissions by changing the chemical composition of concrete so that it cures and hardens when exposed to CO2, permanently mineralising the CO2. Solidia's product sets a new standard for environmental responsibility and has improved aesthetic features compared to traditional concrete.

BioMason: The Biological Approach to Building Materials

BioMason's concrete technology mimics nature's way of creating hard materials, using microorganisms to grow concrete at ambient temperatures. This process eliminates the need for high-energy high-heat production methods, offering a solution that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

ECOncrete: Eco-Friendly Concrete That Supports Marine Life

ECOncrete provides an eco-conscious concrete solution that reduces environmental impact through carbon sequestration and promotes biodiversity in marine environments through it’s complex surface textures.Their concrete technology exemplifies how construction materials can be designed to integrate with and support natural ecosystems.

The Path Forward

The journey toward green concrete is not without its challenges. Adoption at scale requires overcoming technical hurdles, access to capital, regulatory barriers and market inertia. 

The innovations and efforts of CarbonCure, Brimstone, Partanna, Solidia Technologies, BioMason and ECOncrete underscore a crucial message: sustainability and progress are not mutually exclusive.


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