It is not often that we see the words cement, cement mixers, and sustainability in the same sentence. But it definitely should not be a shock as it makes sense that any industrial construction which takes place does affect the earth in some shape or form.
Construction companies who produce any form of industrial waste must think about the Earth and how they are contributing to the climate crisis. If you want to know more about how people are thinking about cement, cement mixers, and industrial waste in general then continue reading this article for more!
On the 22nd of August is Earth Overshoot Day, which signifies the date on which humanity’s request for ecological resources in a given year will exceed what they can regenerate in that year. This comes from the accumulation of waste and the huge consumption of our ecological resources. A large part of this stems from how we build our cities as well as the heavy industry.
Strikingly enough, Earth Overshoot Day this year will mark almost exactly 5 years since Greta Thunberg began the first-ever grade-school protestor against climate change. Over the years she has been an inspiration for millions of individuals to fight for climate justice so that not only us but the future generations to come will have a better future. It was declared an environmental and climate emergency by the European parliament.
But having said that, over the past five years humans have omitted more than 80 billion tonnes of CO2, and in 2020 the earth experienced its second hottest year. Sadly, regardless of how many people are aware of our climate crisis and have attempted to help, there is so much more work that needs to be done.
Roughly 200 years ago at the dawn of the industrial revolution, our carbon footprint as humanity stood very close to zero. Currently, our carbon footprint has reached more than half of our ecological footprint, thus resulting in humans utilising more resources than we can renew every year.
We must try to decarbonise industry and the economy so that we can improve the balance between the earth’s renewable resources and humanity’s ecological climate. This is humanity’s best option if we want to mitigate any effects that have been caused by climate change. As a result of this, we would need to rethink how we construct our cities. For us to properly do this we need to think, discuss and talk about cement and cement mixers.
A lot of people think about cement as the glue which keeps concrete together, it is durable, ubiquitous, and a waterproof material which has been used to build our modern-day society.
Recently, reports have shown that since we introduced and roughly 200 years ago, the environment we built is now outgrowing our natural environment which has existed for millions of years. This has been primarily driven by the rapid growth of urbanisation. It is estimated that by 2050 80% of the global population is anticipated to reside in cities.
Nevertheless, the ability to create engineering masterpieces like the Burj Khalifa and the Millau Viaduct does not come cheap, it comes with a pricey environmental cost. The production of cement, which is often used in cement mixers, makes up roughly 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Half of these results stem from chemical reactions that are inherent within the production process. Other industries like agriculture and energy have begun to reduce their share of emissions as this happens the production of cement could account for almost a quarter of all human-based CO2 emissions by 2050.
If we were to make a complete shift to sustainable cement, depending on what type of technology is utilised, it could save between 1720 to 2750 billion kilograms of CO2 emissions yearly. This would move Earth Overshoot Day back a few days, roughly 10 days. These are achievable savings today. By 2050, we could be able to save between 7250 to 11600 billion kilograms of CO2 emissions yearly. This would move Earth Overshoot Day back by roughly 40 days.
Interestingly, if we were to just change the cement, and construction tools like the types of cement mixers, which we use to build the infrastructure and cities this can be achieved. Meaning that if we can reduce the CO2 emission of other industries as well then Earth Overshoot Day can be pushed back even further when we work as a collective with the same collective vision.
More savings can be achieved with a more efficient design as well as if the sustainable cement used has enhanced performance, so that technically less cement is required to produce the same outcome, thus reducing carbon.
Making Cement Sustainable
There have been a lot of low-CO2 types of cement that have come out as more attractive and sustainable alternatives to Portland cement, which can also be used in cement mixers. Portland cement is created by heating a mixture of minerals and limestone to approximately 1,450 degrees Celsius, this process produces chemical reactions which release huge amounts of CO2.
However, other materials are available and widely used in concrete, in addition to those predominantly generated from by-products such as calcined clays, silica fume, ground limestone, coal fly ash, blast furnace slag, or industrial waste. They can either be utilised by combining traditional cement, or like a binder/glue themselves, with no Portland cement. All of this can still be mixed using cement mixers.
It is important that how these materials are created results in lower CO2 emissions compared to Portland cement. This has the potential of reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 50% to 80%, this depends on what technology is being used at the time.
Utilising these materials within cement gives it enhanced durability and strength, as well as improving sustainability by reducing the associated CO2 emissions and recycling industrial waste. The United Nations produced the Environmental Programmed 2016 report highlighting how these types of cement have the biggest potential for cement-related CO2 emission reduction.
Regardless of the extensive environmental and technical benefits that can be achieved, the construction industry has not been quick to take up sustainable cement technologies, including technologies like cement mixers. Instead, they have been predominantly focused on smaller niche markets. Unfortunately, this has slowed down and limited the construction industry’s ability to properly decarbonise.
Over the recent years, one thing has become very clear: if we want to mitigate the existential crisis that we find ourselves in, we have to take action now. The Paris Agreement consigns all world leaders to respond accordingly to the threat of climate change. We can do this by keeping the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, we should aim for 1.5 degrees Celsius.
For this to be achieved we must revolutionise how we construct our cities, shifting to more sustainable cement technologies that can reuse industrial waste and drive a circular economy. These solutions are within reach and all our futures depend heavily on them.
The Environmental Impacts
The activities surrounding building production harm environmental balances by generating waste and consuming so many of our natural resources. The environment gets impacted at various stages of the production process and these determine the all-around environmental impact of the structure.
Even though the process of producing the structure within the building life cycle is far shorter compared to other processes, the negatives within this process increase the total environmental impact of all the structures significantly. As such, every stage within the production must carry ecological traits to have sustainable or ecologically sensitive structures.
Just by looking at how materials are used such as cement mixers and how waste is produced in general the construction industry is by far the largest sector all over the world. For this reason, a serious analysis of the potential ecological and environmental effects of construction structures and activities is essential.
Over the last decade worldwide sustainable development has become a major thing. In 1992, at the UN conference in Rio de Janeiro, 178 nations signed the Rio Declaration thereby accepting the basic principle of sustainable development, mainly to avoid or reduce the pollution of air, water and soil with substances that are dangerous to mankind, flora and fauna now and in the future. An additional essential aspect is to save our non-renewable natural resources.
It is recognised for its strong environmental benefits to support effective and creative sustainable development. Concerning the growing economic and environmental forces, engineers, regulators, owners and developers are looking for efficient, innovative solutions that can help conserve non-renewable resources.
When you consider the life-long environmental impact of building materials, production, operations, extraction, construction, and demolition are some of the most advantageous choices to meet the goals. The global demands for regulating the production of waste stem from the growth of these economic and environmental issues. There have been many efforts conducted by various researchers to find some alternatives that will be able to significantly reduce high energy consumption and environmental impacts during the process of creating cement significantly.
Thus, “green” as an environmentally friendly alternative to the type has been emerging. Green or geopolymer forms part of a movement to create construction materials like cement mixers, that have a reduced impact on our environment. It is made by combining inorganic polymer and industrial waste between 25% and 100%.
Uses Industrial Waste
In place of a 100% Portland cement mixture, green only uses about 25%-100% fly ash. Fly ash is known as a byproduct that comes from the combustion of coal. It is gathered from the chimneys of industrial plants which use coal as a power source. There are ample amounts of industrial waste products. Thousands of acres of land are often utilised for the disposal of ash. Greens allow using fly ash and save so much land at the same time.
The Benefits of Using Green
- It uses industrial waste
- Reduces carbon dioxide emissions
- Lasts longer
- Reduces energy consumption
- In using materials like stainless steel the costs of reinforcement increase.
- The split tensions of green are less than the conventional
- Structures which are built using green have a shorter life span compared to structures that were built using the conventional.
About BS Power
BS Power manufactures a wide range of high-performance construction equipment for the use of any individual involved in the agricultural, forestry, and construction industries as well as any person who would like to know more about these and all the equipment that would be needed if they would like to begin their journey in these spheres.
BS Power also cares about the environment, so reducing waste and using environmentally friendly products is at the heart of our company. If you would like to know more about construction products such as cement and cement mixers visit us today!