© Unsplash/Karl Fredrickson
Each year, cement production represents 8% of carbon emissions. At the same time, the world produces 10 billion kilograms of coffee waste. These two facts, which at first glance have nothing in common, are in any case incompatible with the fight against climate change, and concrete solutions must therefore be found.
In this area, researchers from the Australian University RMIT offer us a very impressive innovation. They were able to produce concrete that was 30% more resistant by treating and adding carbonized coffee grounds to this mixture.
A promising innovation
In detail, the team heated coffee waste to more than 350°C by depriving it of oxygen. This process, called pyrolysis, breaks down organic matter and produces a material called biochar. The latter is then incorporated into the cement.
Even if this technique holds promise for the future, scientists specify that it is still necessary to measure the durability of cement in the long term, particularly in the context of freezing and absorption of water.
Shannon Kilmartin-Lynch, an engineer at RMIT, is in any case optimistic. Quoted by our colleagues from Science Alert, she underlines as follows: “Our research is still in its early stages, but these exciting findings offer an innovative way to significantly reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill”.
This is in any case not the first time that progress has been made in terms of concrete durability. In 2023, we were talking to you in particular about this feat carried out by scientists from Rice University based in Houston, Texas.
By using a technique called “flash heating by Joule effect” aimed at removing toxic heavy metals from fly ash used to produce concrete. The researchers thus found that replacing 30% of the cement with purified coal fly ash makes it possible to improve the strength and elasticity of the latter by 51 and 28%. Even better, this process reduces greenhouse gas and heavy metal emissions by 30 and 41%. You can learn more about this innovation in our dedicated article here.
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