Can Portland cement be replaced by low-carbon alternative materials? A study on thermal properties and carbon emissions of innovative cements

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Abstract

One approach to decarbonising the cement and construction industry is to replace ordinary Portland cement (OPC) with lower carbon alternatives that have suitable properties. We show that seven innovative cementitious binders comprised of metakaolin, silica fume and nano-silica have improved thermal performance compared with OPC and we calculate the full CO2 emissions associated with manufacture and transport of each binder for the first time. Due to their high porosity, the thermal conductivity of the novel cements is 58–90% lower than OPC, and we show that a thin layer (20 mm), up to 80% lower than standard insulating materials, is enough to bring energy emissions in domestic construction into line with 2013 Building Regulations. Carbon emissions in domestic construction can be reduced by 20–50% and these cementitious binders are able to be recycled, unlike traditional insulation materials.
LanguageEnglish
Pages933-942
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume186
Early online date19 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2018

Fingerprint

Portland cement
carbon emission
Binders
Cements
cement
Thermodynamic properties
Carbon
carbon
Cement industry
Silica fume
Insulating materials
silica
Construction industry
construction industry
Insulation
Thermal conductivity
insulation
Porosity
thermal conductivity
Silica

Keywords

  • cement
  • sustainable
  • life cycle assessment
  • low-carbon buildings
  • building waste

Cite this

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abstract = "One approach to decarbonising the cement and construction industry is to replace ordinary Portland cement (OPC) with lower carbon alternatives that have suitable properties. We show that seven innovative cementitious binders comprised of metakaolin, silica fume and nano-silica have improved thermal performance compared with OPC and we calculate the full CO2 emissions associated with manufacture and transport of each binder for the first time. Due to their high porosity, the thermal conductivity of the novel cements is 58–90{\%} lower than OPC, and we show that a thin layer (20 mm), up to 80{\%} lower than standard insulating materials, is enough to bring energy emissions in domestic construction into line with 2013 Building Regulations. Carbon emissions in domestic construction can be reduced by 20–50{\%} and these cementitious binders are able to be recycled, unlike traditional insulation materials.",
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