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There is no doubt, the concrete it is not among the materials anymore sustainable of the construction industry. The concrete it is the most used material in building constructions but it is also among the most polluting ones: the concrete production process requires large amounts of energy and releases polluting agents, as if this were not enough, the concrete it is not recyclable.
According to the WWF, by 2030 the production of concrete could reach 5 billion tons. Alternatives to the concrete they exist but are still not very widespread; a hope from the construction industry comes with the “Sustainable cement“, Named for its reduced environmental impact.
The Mexican National Polytechnic Institute has developed a sustainable concrete which in its life cycle is able to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Cinevestav (center for research and advanced studies of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico) has developed a compound capable of replacing cement Portland.
When it is produced concrete, most of the harmful emissions are linked to the combustion of coal and other materials: the preparation of concrete needs to reach very high temperatures. The concrete it is composed of a material called "clinker", it is a mixture of calcareous minerals, clay and gypsum. The transformation of these raw materials involves reaching a temperature of about 1450 ° C and, due to the high heat dispersion, it takes 3,000 Joules of energy to produce a single gram of finished clinker.
According to Cinevestav, some geopolymers - synthetic materials based on aluminosilicates - could be able to form a more sustainable concrete. For the production of the "new cement" temperatures of around 750 ° C should be reached, thus halving the energy required for the production of concrete. The result would be a concrete more sustainable but also more resistant to both chemical agents and mechanical stress (therefore also more suitable for use in areas with high seismic risk). It is defined "sustainable concrete”Also the one produced by Chk Group with rice waste (Read more on this page).
An example of sustainable concrete we can admire it here in Italy, at the Italcementi headquarters in Bergamo. The building is an authentic example of sustainable architecture and its merits include a facade entirely covered with a concrete rich in photocatalytic agents which, by reacting with UV rays, are able to break down the atmospheric pollutants typical of the urban environment. The production process of this particular concrete it is not low-impact but at least it manages to provide more breathable air around the building!
You might also be interested in the article onstamped concrete