Sydney: In a world’s first, ‘green’ concrete” which is made using industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel manufacturing is being used in a road trial in Sydney.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and research and innovation hub called CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) would use results from the trial to create the first set of industry guidelines for “geopolymer” concrete.
Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor and compare how the ‘geopolymer’ concrete performs.
“Projects like this geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions.
“Local governments are responsible for maintaining local roads, so if we can purchase more environmentally sustainable materials, we can fight climate change,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
Made from fly ash and blast furnace slag, ‘geopolymer’ generates just 300 kgs of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared with the 900 kg from traditional cement production — saving the equivalent of the electricity used by an average household every two weeks.
The low-CO2 concrete has the potential to put the 400 million cubic tonnes of globally documented waste from the coal and steel industries to good use.
UNSW Sydney researchers will monitor the road performance for up to five years.
“Research into geopolymer has been undertaken since the ’90s, but it’s only now that it’s starting to be commercialised,” said Professor Stephen Foster, Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney.
Concrete contributes 7 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and in 2018, the world produced about 4.1 billion tonnes of cement which contributed about 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2.
“Low-CO2 concrete materials offer potential benefits in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional concrete,” said Professor Foster.