Reducing Emissions with Earth Friendly Concrete
One of the key barriers to wider acceptance of Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC®) has been removed with a new Australian engineering standard released for zero-carbon cement. Wagners, a construction and materials group, has peddled this as a solution for hard-to-abate emissions embodied in concrete.
Wagers and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have worked together for six years to gain technical recognition in Australia for EFC®, despite the world’s giant decarbonisation challenge, along with traditional concrete being responsible for eight per cent of annual global emissions.
According to Wagners, geopolymer concrete is much more sustainable, reducing carbon by almost 70% and 250kg of CO2 per cubic metre poured.
This method involves waste-streams, such as slag, the waste product from steel manufacturing, and ash, the waste product from coal-fired power stations.
The final product has been tested for over a decade and has the same strength as traditional concrete.
For large infrastructure projects requiring 50,000 cubic metres of concrete, this concrete alternative is estimated to save more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
This is equivalent of taking 4500 cars off the road for a year or planting 814 trees in a typical carbon offset program.
Wagners has prototype plants across Europe, along with one plant in Brisbane, Australia. Queensland is planning on building 2600 wind turbines, each of which will have a 700 cubic metre concrete foundation using this Earth Friendly Concrete, reducing thousands of tonnes of emissions.
There are few restrictions for the use of EFC®, since the product can be substituted in almost any scenario, including high-rise construction, in-ground footings, aircraft, and road-pavement, and even house slabs.