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The Challenges with Concrete

The construction industry is well aware of the challenges with concrete, such as the fact the concrete industry is responsible for 8% of the global CO₂  emissions. Concrete is also one of the most consumed materials in the world, second only to water.

How, then, can we be more responsible and sustainable, as we look to rebuild our homes, buildings, cities, and infrastructure? That is the question many stakeholders are asking today.

There are many options to address this challenge head on in the future. Let’s consider some of the solutions. As one example, we have reported on C-Crete Technologies using nearly $1 million from the government to expand the types of materials it can use to make its cement-free concrete.

As another example, Carbonaide offers a solution in the form of carbon curing, which takes the CO₂  and returns it to a mineral in the concrete. The carbon curing technology enables the production of carbon-negative concrete. Ultimately, new innovations such as this will help decrease emissions and improve overall efficiency in the process.

Certainly, there were many conversations surrounding this at World of Concrete earlier this year. For instance, TopWerk Group, which is provider of concrete manufacturing and carbon-negative binder technology, backed Partanna Global’s carbon-negative binder as an alternative to traditional Portland cement.

Let’s explore both for a minute. Portland cement is a complex product obtained from unprocessed common natural materials: limestone and clay. In concrete production, Portland cement serves as an adhesive binder that holds together aggregates, allowing for the formation of durable structures.

In contrast, Partanna’s patented process for concrete production negates the need for Portland cement. Instead, the company uses an alternative binder—made from natural recycled ingredients—which cures at room temperature. The binder components in Partanna consume CO₂ as they cure, removing carbon from the atmosphere in the process. This process ensures concrete materials made with Partanna are carbon negative.

Here is a key factor here: Manufacturers do not need to purchase any special equipment or aggregates to produce Partanna concrete. The companies also claim the materials are just as affordable, versatile, and durable as products made with Portland cement.

The bottomline is the construction industry is becoming more aware of the challenges faced with concrete—and new alternative are emerging. Going forward, this will be a trend to watch in the years ahead.

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