New kind of building material inspired by how aquatic organisms harden into fossils is made of concrete waste and CO2 from industrial exhaust gasses 

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  • New material made from concrete waste and carbon dioxide
  • It’s inspired by how aquatic organisms harden into fossils over time
  • The new material, although stable, is not yet stronger than traditional concrete.

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A new type of building material could significantly reduce emissions released by the construction industry.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have proposed a new method that combines solid waste and carbon dioxide into a solution called calcium carbonate concrete.

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The innovation was inspired by how some aquatic organisms harden over time into fossils, which is done through a process that deposits hard calcium carbonate from dead organic material.

Professor Ippi Maruyama, one of the study’s authors, said Statement: ‘We mix it with carbon dioxide from industrial exhaust or even from the air. And we do this at a much lower temperature than what is currently used to extract calcium from limestone.’

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Scientists at the University of Tokyo proposed a new method that combines solid waste and carbon dioxide called calcium carbonate concrete (left), right conventional concrete

According to the researchers, about seven percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions come from the construction and use of concrete – the main ingredient in cement.

And a large part of the emissions are due to calcium which is formed by the burning of limestone.

Calcium is necessary for the reaction between cement and water to form concrete, and Maruyama saw this as an opportunity to investigate a less carbon-intensive way of doing the same thing.

“Our concept is to get calcium from the waste concrete, which would otherwise go to waste,” Maruyama said.

According to the researchers, the new material is very stable, but is not yet ready to completely replace traditional concrete.  It is not as strong as typical concrete, although for some construction projects, such as small homes, this will not be a problem.

According to the researchers, the new material is very stable, but is not yet ready to completely replace traditional concrete. It is not as strong as typical concrete, although for some construction projects, such as small homes, this will not be a problem.

‘We mix it with carbon dioxide from industrial exhaust or even air. And we do this at a much lower temperature than what is currently used to extract calcium from limestone.’

According to the researchers, the new material is very stable, but is not yet ready to completely replace traditional concrete.

It is not as strong as ordinary concrete, although for some construction projects, such as small homes, this will not be a problem, according to the researchers.

And the team only made tiny blocks of that material a few centimeters in length.

Professor Takafumi Noguchi, from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, said in a statement: ‘It is exciting to make progress in this area, but there are still many challenges to be overcome.

‘As well as increasing the strength and size range of calcium carbonate concrete, it will be even better if we can further reduce the energy use of the production process.

‘However, we expect that in the coming decades, carbon-neutral calcium carbonate concrete will become the mainstream of concrete and one of the solutions to climate change.’

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