New Geopolymer Concrete Helps Curb CO2 Emissions

U.S. civil engineers say they are developing a geopolymer concrete technology using fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants.

Louisiana Technical University Assistant Professor Erez Allouche and colleagues say they are conducting research on geopolymer concrete, which can help curb carbon dioxide emissions.

Inorganic polymer concrete — geopolymer — is an emerging class of cementitious materials that utilizes “fly ash”, one of the most abundant industrial by-products on Earth, as a substitute for Portland cement, the most widely produced man-made material.

The scientists said Portland cement production is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, with up to eight percent of all human-generated atmospheric CO2 worldwide produced by the concrete industry.

Switching to geopolymer concrete, the researchers said, has the potential to substantially curb CO2 emissions, produce a more durable infrastructure capable of design life measured in hundreds of years instead of tens, conserve hundreds of thousands of acres currently used for disposal of coal combustion products, and protect aquifers and surface bodies of fresh water by eliminating fly ash disposal sites.

The new technology will be one of the topics presented Nov. 5 in Shreveport, La., during an Energy Systems Conference sponsored by the university.

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