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New cement to help lower carbon emissions from concrete

A cement company has launched a new, more environmentally-friendly type of cement based on an old Roman recipe.

HR Cement in Tauranga looked to ancient Roman concrete mixtures for inspiration for its low-carbon footprint cement, eco-cem.

The company has combined ancient methods with modern manufacturing techniques to create the more eco-friendly cement.

According to a report by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the global cement industry accounted for 5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas and about 900 kilograms of carbon dioxide was emitted for the creation of every 1000kg of cement.

HR Cement says the New Zealand construction industry uses about 1.5 million tonnes of cement every year.

Managing director Chris Hall said eco-cem had the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete used on construction sites by 15 per cent to 30 per cent.

The new cement uses a material called pozzolan.

​”Our focus when developing eco-cem was to produce cement that has no downsides compared to the standard general purpose cement available, coupled with all the clear advantages of pozzolanic cement, at a similar cost,” Hall said.

Eco-cem will get stronger over time, increased abrasion resistance and improved durability.

If eco-cem cement was used instead of standard cement, it could possibly result in a reduction of 200,000 to 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Cement and Concrete Association chief executive Rob Gaimster​ said pozzolan was a “supplementary cementitious material” (SCM).

SCMs were usually made from lower energy, industrial by-products or from waste materials.

This could result in environmental benefits, better concrete performance and long-term cost advantages.

“As the global cement industry seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit product produced, there has been a steady growth in the use of blended Portland cements containing SCMs,” Gaimster said.

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