Cement is a material that is all around us and one that we hardly notice. It is the main ingredient in concrete, which is in the bridges we cross, the sidewalks we step on and the buildings we work in. Cement is the second most consumed material on Earth, only behind water. More surprising than the amount we consume is the amount of CO2 that cement produces. This single industry can make up anywhere between 5% to 10% of global emissions.
The main substance in cement is limestone that is heated to 1400C and then ground down to create a lumpy, yet solid substance known as clinker. Clinker is them combined with gypsum to form cement. The amount of heat needed to produce cement makes its energy and emission consumption very high. The heating of limestone creates CO2 as does the burning of fossil fuels to heat the kiln. The most common cement used for construction is Portland cement, which is the cheapest and consequently has the most environmental concerns.
Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EFPL) in Switzerland believe they have found a more efficient way to create cement. Their cement is produced by materials that are widely used and available- calcined clay and ground limestone. By mixing in their cement, known as LC3, with Portland cement, they believe they can bring down global CO2 emissions by several percent. It is not enough to just cut emissions, the new cement must also be strong and durable enough to be used as current cement is.
The EFPL just received a round of funding to further their research and we here at Coburn-Myers are looking forward to what they come up with.
Infrastructure investments in emerging nations could top $43 trillion over the next 15 years according to the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, Swiss Re Ltd. One may not automatically associate an industrial fastener supplier with the growth of emerging nations, but the two are actually very connected. Urbanization in emerging markets is expected to be a major driver in global construction growth through 2025. Many undeveloped nations lack infrastructure such as bridges, roads, power plants, and industrial centers. This is where construction and concrete companies come in to build up these emerging economic markets with the help of investors. And this is also where large scale industrial fasteners come into play.
In America, there are certainly big projects like bridges, tunnels, and power plants. However, the rate at which they are being built is nowhere near as fast and large as in an emerging nation because in America we already have established infrastructure. Across the globe, new nations are expanding economically, driving the demand for housing and urban development. Jeremy Leonard of Global Construction Perspectives & Oxford Economics noted that “Emerging markets will continue to grow significantly more rapidly than the developed world,” which will attract many major construction companies and their need for industrial fasteners for these large-scale projects. For example, according to the Global Construction 2025 report, Qatar is expected to see an average annual construction market growth rate of +10%, which is the fastest out of the 46 key countries surveyed. Coburn-Myers is proud to be a part of infrastructure construction in emerging nations as the global economy continues to grow.