Low Carbon Concrete and Its Advantages


Low carbon concrete has attracted significant
attention due to the amount of CO2 that traditional concrete emits. It is
demonstrated that, cement have biggest contribution in CO2 emission by 75% of
total CO2 emits by concrete, and aggregate is the next great contributor by
less than 20%. CO2 emitted by aggregate is mainly due to electricity and to
less extend because of excavation, hauling, blasting, and transportation.

Researchers have made numerous
attempts so as to produce concrete with lowest possible CO2 emissions. Not only
does this make concrete more environmentally friendly but also make structures
to meet requirements with regard to environmental specifications. 

Production of low carbon concrete starts from quarry of raw materials to produce cement and production of concrete. There are certain techniques by which certain quantity of carbon emissions can be reduced for example the use of cement replacement materials like fly ash, silica fume, and ground granulated blast furnace slag.

Use of Supplementary Cementitious Materials

It is reported that, CO2 emitted by typical
normal strength concrete mixes using Portland cement as the only binder ranges
between 0.29 and 0.32 t CO2-e/m3.

Quantity of Emitted CO2 is declined
substantially when certain percentage of cement is replaced by cementitious materials
such as ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS), fly ash (FA), and silica
fume (SF).

It is demonstrated that, the influence
of cement replacement materials soars up to approximately 15–20%, beyond which
the rate of decrease gradually slowed.

GGBFS is found to be capable of decreasing
concrete CO2 emissions by 22% in typical concrete mixes. Fly ash is found
to be capable of reducing concrete CO2 emissions by 13–15% in typical
concrete mixes.

Supplementary Cementitious Materials
Fig. 1: Supplementary Cementitious Materials

Concrete Curing with Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide can be used to
decline detrimental environmental impact of concrete. Carbon dioxide used to
activate early strength, at the same time sequester CO2 in concrete.The
carbonation reaction between carbon dioxide and appropriate calcium Compounds
results in permanent fixation of the carbon dioxide in a thermodynamically
stable calcium carbonate.

Process of Curing Concrete with Carbon Dioxide
Fig. 2: Process of Curing Concrete with Carbon Dioxide

Recycling Materials

It is claimed that, recycling
construction wastes and rubbles could decline CO2 emission by nearly 6%. Added to
that, reusing resources and importing regional materials decline CO2 emissions
by around 3%.

Use of Highly Reactive Cement and superplasticizers

It is proven that, significant quantity of CO2
is released during cement production. So, it is highly significant to reduce CO2
emission at this stage. The use of superplasticizers and highly reactive
cements as well as an optimization of particle-size distribution and reduction
in water content permits a consierable reduction in Portland cement clinker in
the cement and concrete.

Moreover, it is important to add suitable quantity
of mineral fillers such as limestone power to provide an optimal paste volume. Additionally,
the already practicable substitution of secondary raw materials like fly ash or
furnace slag for cement clinker is suitable choice.

Finally, it is reported that, the use of highly
reactive cement and superplasticizers can reduce CO2 release by up to 35%. This
reduction rises to 60% when granulated blast furnace slag is used in
combination with highly reactive cement and superplasticizer.

Use of Superplasticizer in Concrete
Fig. 3: Use of Superplasticizer in Concrete

Advantages of Low Carbon Concrete

  1. Carbon emission reduction up to
    75% in comparison to conventional products Accelerated early strength.
  2. Improved durability due to the
    formation of nano-CaCO3 crystals.
  3. Low cement and low embodied energy.
  4. Steam can be replaced by carbon

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