Game-Changing Breakthrough Reveals Recipe for Zero-Carbon Cement

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Cambridge researchers have discovered a breakthrough method to create zero-carbon cement by recycling concrete and steel together. This innovative process involves adding old concrete into steel-processing furnaces, which not only purifies iron but also produces reactivated cement as a byproduct. When powered by renewable energy, this method could lead to completely carbon-zero cement.

Concrete production is responsible for about 8% of global CO2 emissions, and recycling it has been challenging. The new technique, developed by Dr. Cyrille Dunant and his team, involves using recycled cement paste in electric arc furnaces typically used to recycle steel. This process purifies the steel and creates new Portland cement.

The method has already shown success in smaller trials and is currently being tested on an industrial scale, capable of producing 66 tons of cement in two hours. By 2050, the process could scale up to produce one billion tonnes of "electric cement." This breakthrough not only reduces CO2 emissions significantly but also highlights the potential for innovative solutions beyond the energy sector.

The research was published in the journal Nature, and a patent has been filed for commercialization. The team hopes this development will drive political will to reduce the use of concrete while maintaining safety standards.

Original article posted on May 23, 2024

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