Researchers believe graphene as a concrete additive could cut the amount of cement required by as much as 50%, which could vastly reduce carbon emissions and potentially cut costs while improving durability and strength. A UK venture recently developed Concretene, a concrete using a graphene additive that can be incorporated directly at batching plants, and estimates its use could result in a 10-20% cost savings and positive environmental impacts.




Such an environmental impact calls for urgent development and adoption of low-carbon footprint concrete in the construction industry.

Recently, UK scientists from Concrene Ltd., a spin-off from the University of Exeter, and the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre have discovered a way of incorporating graphene into concrete, thus increasing the material’s strength and water resistance.

More importantly, the graphene additive reduces the cement content of the concrete by up to 50% and can eliminate the need for steel reinforcement.With population growth, increased urbanization, and improved living standards, the global demand for concrete products continues to grow at an accelerating rate.

Over the past 30 years, concrete usage increased exponentially owing to the versatility, affordability, and durability of concrete buildings and structures. Worldwide, approximately 30 billion tons of concrete are used annually, a 300% increase compared to 40 years ago. The demand for concrete is vastly outpacing that for other construction materials, such as steel and wood.

However, concrete has an enormous carbon footprint even when compared to other high-polluting industries, like iron and steel or oil and gas manufacturing. At least 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to the cement industry.

Environmental Impact of Concrete Production

Concrete is manufactured by mixing sand, gravel, and cement with water and pouring the mixture into molds before it solidifies. Cement production involves heating a mixture of crushed minerals (limestone and clay) to a temperature above 1400 °C in a kiln by burning fossil fuels, resulting in the so-called clinker.





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