Researchers from South Africa, Turkey and Cameroon are collaborating to create concrete using industrial waste and alkali solutions instead of conventional cement. The ultimate goal is a green concrete powder that can be used in construction.
Conventional cement production is responsible for more than 6% of the overall carbon emissions in the world, which ultimately affects global warming.
The Department of Engineering Sciences (EnSci) at the University of the Free State (UFS) – under the leadership of Dr Abdolhossein Naghizadeh – is heading a collaboration of scientists from universities in South Africa and abroad to create a green concrete that will reduce the impact of cement on the environment.
This product has the potential to be used as an alternative to conventional concrete in large-scale constructions such as residential buildings and infrastructure, as well as small-scale constructions such a pavements and brickworks.
Dr Nagizadeh, whose passion is cement and green concrete, says the idea of eco-friendly concrete was considered by European researchers a few years ago; however, this technology is still in its initial stages and has not been researched and employed at industrial scale yet. He believes that it is due to the complexity of the preparation process, and the relatively aggressive chemicals used in green concrete mixtures.