Sustainable Development of Concrete Production

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Sustainable Development in Concrete Production
According to the Department of Environment (Environ, 2007), sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. For example, the use of sustainable concrete in future developments leads to a more durable and economical structure, with significant environmental benefits.
Concrete, a crucial material in building construction, is the world’s most produced material. However, the production of Portland cement, an essential ingredient of concrete, involves energy intensive processes, which leads to significant amounts of CO2 emissions (calcium carbonate + heat = calcium oxide + carbon dioxide) (Ecocem, 2001). The global cement industry is responsible for around 7 per cent of all CO2 emissions and around 4 per cent of global warming (Ecocem, 2001). Each year, approximately one ton of concrete is placed for every man, women and child (West, 2013). To date, approximately 7.2 Billion people inhabit the planet, with a projected population of around 9 Billion for 2040 (CSO, 2013). Therefore, global placement of concrete is around 7.2 Billion tons with a projected usage of 9 Billion tons. Such vast amounts of concrete require vast amounts of natural resources for aggregate and cement production.

Figure 1 Typical concrete composition (De Brito and Saikia, 2012).
Cement production increases at around 3 per cent per year. One cubic meter of concrete requires approximately 280kg/m3 – 400kg/m3 of cement clinker (West, 2013), with a CO2 footprint of approximately 0.96 t for every ton of cement clinker produced (Ecocem, 2001). Therefore, global CO2 emissions for the production of ceme...

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