MIT researchers have found a way to eliminate carbon emissions from cement production — a global source of about 8 percent greenhouse gases. The researchers have come up with a new way of manufacturing the material that could eliminate these emissions altogether, and could even make some other useful products in the process.
The findings have been reported in the journal PNAS in a paper by Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, with postdoc Leah Ellis, graduate student Andres Badel, and others, according to a report in MIT News.
Ordinary Portland cement, the most widely used standard variety, is made by grinding up limestone and then cooking it with sand and clay at high heat, which is produced by burning coal.
The process produces carbon dioxide in two different ways: from the burning of the coal, and from gases released from the limestone during the heating.
Each of these produces roughly equal contributions to the total emissions. The new process would eliminate or drastically reduce both sources, Chiang says.