Cement is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. About 5% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere can be traced back to cement production. When 1 metric ton of cement is produced one ton carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere: The carbon dioxid is emitted when the limestone used in the cemented is created. 2.5 billion tons of cement is manufactured each year.

cement

Now Stanford Professor Brent Constantz have created a new type of cement that can be created without any carbon dioxide at all being emitted. If Constantz can get the product into the market quickly (he has one pilot factory now), on a big scale and at a decent price this might allow us to eliminate 5% of the worlds carbon dioxide emissions in one swift action taking an important step towards fighting global warming.

Sounds too good to be true? Then you in for a surprise, it gets better; the new type of cement is not only carbon emission neutral it will actually help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere. Regular cement emits carbon dioxide when it is created this new type binds carbon dioxide. When one ton of this new type of cemented is manufactured it binds 500 kg carbon dioxide that otherwise would end up in the atmosphere.

Early calculations show that this new type of cement can be provided about 10% cheaper than regular cement aka. Portland cement. Exactly how all this is achieved will remain a secret until the patent has been approved but in broad terms it is achieved by bubbling exhaust gas from power plants through sea water to create the ingredients for the new cement. It is when the exhaust gas is bubbled through the sea water the carbon dioxide that otherwise would get emitted into the atmosphere is bound in the new cement. Producing this type of cement will in other words reduce the CO2 emissions from power plants. The process was inspired by the way coral grow and form their exoskeletons.

The same process might also be used to create CO2 neutral concrete and asphalt further reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.

Stanford Professor Brent Constantz has had a distinguished career and this new cement is only his latest discovery. He has over 60 cement based patents and 22 years ago he revolutionized bone fracture repair when he created high-tech medical cement. When Constantz learned about the problems caused by the high CO2 emissions levels, he thought he could do better.

He says that: The reason no one invented it before now is that people didn’t truly understand the dangers of CO2 until less than a decade ago.

He has venture capital backing to bring this product to the marketing and a team is looking for U.S. locations where new production facility can be built in cooperation with power plants but no formal agreements have been reached yet. Professor Brent Constantz suggest that the new type of cement initially should be used in a mix with regular Portland cement to make contractors used to using it before switching over to using exclusively this new type of cement. He says that he thinks this is one of the most important discoveries he made and that “Climate change is the largest challenge of our generation,”

There is however skeptics that is not yet convinced by the product. They state that they hope the new cement will live up to the hype but that tests has to be done before they are going to feel that this new cement will be able to replace the over 100 year old Portland cement.

If this product will be a game changer dramatically reducing global carbon dioxide emissions remain to be seen but if this cement really turns out to be a good replacement that is both carbon dioxide neutral and cheaper than Portland cement it is great news. Great news indeed.