There are a lot of things you can do with concrete. But we’re going to guess that no matter how long your list is – cleaning the air isn’t on it.
You can add that to the list now though.
Here’s the (brief) background: Concrete is made up of three things: water, rock (or crushed rock, aka sand or gravel) and cement. And cement, it turns out, all by itself, accounts for 5 to 7 percent of CO2 (carbon dioxide). Worldwide. Every year.
So since the world uses a LOT of concrete every year (it’s the second-most used substance on the planet*) – that’s a lot of cement, a lot of CO2, and since more carbon dioxide in the air – that’s a lot of problem.
Here’s the (new) solution: a different way to make cement and concrete, that altogether reduces its “carbon footprint” by as much as 70 PERCENT.
An American company, Solidia Technologies figured out how to do it. A fuels and petrochemical company, BP, is investing in the project to bring this new technology into the real world.
The trick (well, two tricks, really) is first: making the cement at a lower temperature (and with less limestone) – which cuts greenhouse gas emissions; and second: making a concrete from that cement, which actually (and permanently) absorbs CO2 as it is hardening.
Not only is this new process a lot more friendly to the environment – this concrete is stronger and more durable. It uses a lot less water to make. And it looks pretty good too…