Material of the Year: Carbon Negative Concrete
August 25, 2011
Image courtesy of Novacem
Earlier this year, Material ConneXion, a global materials consultancy, awarded Material of the Year to London-based company Novacem’s “carbon negative” cement. What looks like an assortment of homemade marshmallows above is actually a construction material slated to change the world of concrete when it hits the market in 2014. Click to learn more.
Image via designitgreener
While it functions much like commonly used Portland cement, boasting the same level of performance and the same average cost, Novacem’s concrete mixture uses magnesium silicate instead of calcium carbonates. The slinging of chemistry jargon might make this seem complicated, but the concept is simple: the creation of magnesium carbonates from magnesium silicates absorbs carbon dioxide. In other words, the production process is carbon negative. Furthermore, the production process of Novacem’s concrete is low-energy, allowing it to be sustained on biomass fuels.
According to Material ConneXion, concrete constitutes the greatest amount of manmade material on the planet. With the simple change of ingredient, Novacem’s concrete will change a means of construction that has become elemental to our built world from a process that contributes to 5% of humanity’s carbon footprint to one that has a negative carbon footprint. The outcome of this innovation is far-reaching, to say the least.
Perhaps the concrete facades long associated with Modernism will adopt a new meaning, shedding their ties to functionalism and becoming the architectural emblem of a different utopian ideal: sustainability.