Cement manufacturing involves production of high levels of greenhouse gases. And, cement is the top construction material in the world today. With the drawbacks involved, it is high time that we develop a method that reduces emissions. As we speak of the need, MIT researchers have already found a way. Not just reducing emissions, but their method promises to eliminate carbon dioxide from cement manufacturing.
What is the New Method?
The primary aspect that separates conventional manufacturing process from the new method is the fuel type. In the conventional method, limestone, clay, and sand are exposed to burning coal. However, in the new method, scientists replace coal with renewable energy.
Researchers use a battery connected to two electrodes. Further, one of the electrodes produce oxygen bubbles and acid, and the other hydrogen atoms and base. Electricity splits water into its constituent molecules. Further, in this process, limestone is immersed in acid producing pure form of carbon dioxide. And, the other electrode produces a solid form of lime – calcium hydroxide. Then, the next step is processing the calcium hydroxide into cement. The product is calcium silicate.
Further, researchers say that no section of the entire process involves emissions. The pure form of carbon dioxide has several applications. For instance, using it in carbonated beverages or in oil recovery. On the other hand, the conventional cement manufacturing produces highly impure form of carbon dioxide with toxic gases. Further, it includes carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.