Making cement releases huge amounts of CO2 emissions into the air and requires significant energy consumption. Overall, making cement accounts for a full 8 percent of total CO2 emissions globally, because heating cement requires burning massive amounts of fossil fuels. However, there is a chance that the humble carrot could help reformulate cement in a way that leads to lower emissions.
Rima Sabina Aouf writes in this article for architecture and design magazine Dezeen that researchers at Lancaster University in the U.K. have developed concrete made from a recipe that includes “nano platelets” found in carrots. It enables cement mixtures to be roughly twice as strong as they would be otherwise.
By extracting these “nano platelets” from what would otherwise be wasted root vegetables and combining them with standard cement, it becomes more durable. That could lead, in turn, to reduced consumption and manufacturing for cement overall.
Although the process is still in preliminary testing phases, Lancaster researchers, working with partners from Cellucomp, have now received £195,000 from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. They hope that their low-cost and super-sturdy cement can eventually help reduce the harmful consumption involved in cement production.