Now, engineers at Purdue University have developed a new cement recipe that can absorb CO2 twice as fast as usual, hopefully turning it into a useful carbon sink.
Concrete production accounts for over eight percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, and with demand increasing every year researchers have been investigating ways to make concrete more environmentally friendly. Some steps have included changing the recipe to reduce or replace the binding agent that produces the chemical reaction that emits CO2. Some alternatives even involve capturing CO2 from other sources and using that in the mix.
But another avenue of research gives the material a more active role. Once it's laid, concrete naturally absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere over its lifetime. It's not enough to fully counter the emissions released during its production, but it at least helps reduce the footprint. Some studies have found ways to boost that absorption to make concrete even greener – and now, the Purdue team has discovered a new way to do so.