When it comes to climate change, concrete is often seen as one of the biggest culprits. The production of cement – the key ingredient in concrete – is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, cement production is responsible for around 5% of global emissions, making it one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
But what if concrete could actually help to fight climate change? That’s the idea behind “carbon-eating concrete”, a new type of concrete that can actually absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The key to carbon-eating concrete is its ingredients. Rather than using traditional Portland cement, the concrete is made with a type of calcium oxide known as calcined limestone. This special ingredient helps the concrete to absorb carbon dioxide, which is then locked away inside the concrete and prevented from entering the atmosphere.
So far, carbon-eating concrete has been shown to be effective at absorbing carbon dioxide, with one study finding that it can absorb up to 45% of its weight in carbon dioxide. This means that, over time, carbon-eating concrete could help to reduce atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, potentially making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change.
There are still some challenges to overcome before carbon-eating concrete can be widely used, but the potential benefits are clear. If we can find a way to make our concrete buildings work for the environment, rather than against it, we could make a real difference in the fight against climate change.