Green Materials

August 2011
August 2011

Carbon Negative Cement Named Material of the Year

By Rita Catinella Orrell

For the second year in a row, a concrete-related product has been chosen as material of the year in Material ConneXion's MEDIUM Award program. Material ConneXion, a global materials consultancy and library, awarded Novacem's Carbon Negative Cement as the winner. This follows last year's inaugural winner, Concrete Canvas, which won for its Concrete Cloth cement-impregnated flexible fabric technology.

Photography courtesy Material ConneXion

View a slideshow of the latest green materials.

Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

According to Dr. Andrew H. Dent, Material ConneXion's vice president, library and materials research, half of the roughly 500 materials considered for this year's award were related to the building arena. “That wasn't intentional,” explains Dent. “We don't think we need to represent one particular area of the materials industry, in the same way that we didn't have sustainability as a main attribute when choosing the materials.” The jury was more focused, says Dent, on products that “herald some real change for the future.” The high percentage of building materials signifies a push in that area toward both innovation and sustainability, says Dent.

Typical cement is responsible for approximately 5 percent of man-made carbon dioxide; the emissions are caused by the processing of limestone and raw materials and the burning of fossil fuels. Novacem's carbon negative cement replaces calcium carbonates used in typical cement formulation with magnesium silicates and uses a lower-temperature production process that runs on biomass fuels. Novacem associate engineer Daniel Bowden says that while the cement is still in development, they are already achieving strengths of up to 80 Mpa. Dent says the cement was the clear winner. ”If implemented, the material would take care of most of construction's attempts at carbon reductions in one fell swoop.” Bowden says that a commerical rollout is currently planned for 2014–2015.

Out of the nine runner-ups for the award, four are construction materials with notably green attributes: Saratech Permasorb Wallpaper, which removes toxins embedded in wall surfaces; Lumisys transparent LED signboard that uses low-energy, long-life LEDs; ECOR panels made from cow manure and other recycled content; and Eco-HPL, the first high-pressure laminate made without phenol-formaldehyde.

Dent thinks industry certifications, though often limited in scope, are what give building material companies an advantage: “Construction is one of the few industries where there is a clear framework of what you are supposed to do.” Novacem Limited, London. [Reader Service: August 2011, #200]

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
View all