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How the concrete industry is helping reduce CO2 emissions

With scientists reminding us that CO2 emissions are contributing to global warming, any reductions in emissions are welcome. The cement and concrete industries are finding ways to tackle this problem.

The major ingredient of concrete is cement, and a lot of CO2 is produced during the manufacture of it. Major cement producers such as Heidelberg Cement are using concrete to absorb this CO2 so that is not released into the atmosphere.

Concrete is used because it absorbs CO2, so the concrete used in buildings can play a role too, hence concrete flooring can lessen CO2 in the atmosphere. If the concrete uses steel rods for strength, as the CO2 rises, it could erode the steel in concrete exposed to the weather. To prevent this, carbon or silica fibre can be used instead of steel.

At the end of a building’s life, concrete flooring and other concrete structures are crushed and can be recycled to form aggregates used in various applications. Crushed concrete can absorb CO2 if exposed to the atmosphere. Heidelberg Cement is exploring ways to increase the absorption of CO2 by concrete at the end of its lifetime, and using alternative energy to power cement kilns.

Concrete flooring is an environmentally friendly material to use due to its CO2 absorbing properties and the fact that it can be recycled after a building has been demolished.

The 2015 Paris Agreement has set targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions, and the cement and concrete industries are doing their bit to help the UK achieve these targets.


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