Recycling cement from demolished buildings: a groundbreaking development

Recycling cement from demolished buildings: a groundbreaking development

By Ashmeeta Subra  June 6th, 2024

Scientists have discovered a method of recycling cement from demolished concrete buildings, revolutionising the cement industry and significantly reducing its carbon footprint.


Cement production is a major contributor to global carbon emissions, responsible for approximately 7.5 per cent of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The traditional production method involves heating limestones to extreme temperatures using fossil fuels, which often releases significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. 

Fortunately, Cambridge University scientists have recently proposed a solution that could significantly reduce the emissions intensity of cement. The solution involves reactivating used cement by exposing it to high temperatures, a process successfully demonstrated at small-scale electric arc furnaces. This innovative approach utilises the heat generated by another heavy industry – steel recycling.  

According to lead scientist Cyrille Dunant, this could achieve zero-carbon cement production, not only reducing emissions but also making steel recycling less polluting, as chemicals currently used in the process have a high carbon cost.  

“We have shown the high temperatures in the furnace reactivate the old cement and because electric arc furnaces use electricity they can be powered by renewable power, so the entire cement making process is decarbonised,” Cyrille told BBC.    

Spanish company Celsa plans to replicate the process in its full-scale electric arc furnace, indicating growing interest and investment in this new approach. Moreover, the widespread adoption of electric arc furnaces could further accelerate the production of low-carbon cement, potentially meeting industry demands in the future.  

With the possibility of duplicating this process worldwide, this eco-friendly cement production method could reduce a significant portion of global carbon emissions and conserve virgin natural resources required for cement production.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.  


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Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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