We use it to build bridges, roads, sidewalks, and just about every structure relies on concrete for its base – wouldn’t it be wonderful if cement actually negated CO2 emissions instead of creating more? Well, now it can! Novacem, a fresh new startup company has actually concocted a cement that eats up carbon as it hardens! And with an annual production of more than 2.5 billion tons, can you imagine what kind of impact it would have if all the cement we used could do what Novacem’s green cement does?
Novacem, the brain child of Imperial College London, has changed the age old recipe of Portland cement. Their green cement system is based on magnesium oxide and special mineral additives, removing the typical heavy CO2 producing bases such as limestone and calcium carbonate from the mix. This new generation of green cement systems aims to combat global warming by locking atmospheric CO2 into construction materials.
Compared to Portland cement, the manufacturing of this new brew causes minimal CO2 emissions as it requires lower temperature processing. Even in application, the cement hardens by absorbing greenhouse gas, and continues to do so as it ages. Given that cement is such an integral part of construction, this new technology offers the potential to develop a range of ‘carbon negative’ construction products. The company estimates that for every ton of Portland cement replaced by their product, around three-quarters of a ton of CO2 will be saved.
Novacem recently received a sizeable cash investment to the tune of 1.7 million dollars from Imperial Innovations, the Royal Society Enterprise Fund and the London Technology Fund. The money is expected to help fund a pilot plant anticipated to be up and running in northern England in 2011.