Nanotechnology was necessary in order for this cement to exist. The CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas working with the Spanish company Tecnalia, developed two patents that allowed the creation of this environmental-friendly cement.
Traditional cement is obtained by limestone's calcination. Not only the process generates enormous quantities of carbon dioxide, it also exploits an unreproducible natural resource. Moreover, the cement-making process involves large amounts of energy, that surely does not come from solar panels. Previous studies revealed that 5% of the global pollution comes from the cement industry.
To obtain this new product, the team from the Center for Nanomaterials Applications in Construction (NANOC) at Tecnalia, replaced limestone with solid waste from thermal power stations. This experiment has triple benefits: first of all it provides a way for the thermal power waste to be recycled. If we consider estimations that in 2010, power stations will generate 800 million tons of solid waste of which half will land at the waste dump, this way of recycling is rather admirable.
Second of all, the waste recycling process stops the exploitation of natural resources and the emissions of carbon dioxide that the burning of limestone implied. And last but not least, the manufacturing process of this new cement demands 50 percent less energy spending.
This new cement in certainly better for the environment and if it will be used on a global scale in the future, it may help reduce the air pollution significantly.
The origins of cement can be found in the early 19 century in Leeds, England. A bricklayer called Joseph Aspdin invented the cement by mixing burning powdered limestone and clay, in his oven. This experiment started an entire industry that today processes limestone, cement rock, clay and other materials, turning them into an extremely fine powder. The cement powder is so fine that a pount contains 150 billion grains.