As per a report by The Guardian, If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world with up to 2.8bn tonnes, surpassed only by China and the US.
As studied by Chatham House, Cement Industry produces eight per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Chatham House is a London-based non-profit and non-governmental organization which aims to analyze and promote the understanding of major international issues.
But why suddenly out of nowhere, cement is being discussed?
Because Ramansh Bajpai from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh has come up with an ideal material to successfully replace the use of cement in building construction. Romansh is a 27-year-old Civil Engineer from Kanpur. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Environmental Science from Harcourt Butler Technical University (HBTU), Kanpur. He has developed a transparent concrete which is partially made using industrial waste in the place of cement. He was working on this product to develop an eco-friendly alternative as part of his final year project.
Why is it important?
The world population is growing at an escalating pace and seems not to slow down soon. As per experts, the world has produced and consumed about 8 billion tonnes of plastic in past 60 years. However, what is more, terrifying is that the world produced that much amount of cement every year. The reason is, the growing population calls for the growing urban settlements which need infrastructure. Cement is the most primary building material as it is durable as well as affordable. However, it’s carbon footprint has made cement production as one of the greenest gas-emitting activity. It is factors like these that worried him about the world and motivated him to create an environmentally efficient alternative.
Environmentally Safe Bricks
However, the material developed by Ramansh is made using industrial waste and is free from carbon dioxide. As told by the 27-year-old developer who has a background in civil engineering, these energy-saving bricks are 23% stronger & 5% lighter as compared to convention bricks. Further, they allow sunlight to pass while blocking heat and water.
Ramansh was able to perfect the formula for making these bricks after ten months of hard work, research and several failed attempts. The material is made up using industrial waste and scrap materials such as plastic optical fibres, steel and industry waste (ground granulated blast furnace slag). These rectangular-shaped concrete bricks will play dual significance in environmental conservation.
On one hand, they are made up using industrial waste. Hence, the material which would otherwise be polluting environment will now be used to construct infrastructure. On the other hand, it will reduce the need for cement production, thus mitigating the rising CO2 emissions from the cement industry.
As further described by Ramansh, using industrial waste for concrete production has the cost of the production of transparent concrete 15 per cent lesser than regular cement. Further, the strength, durability and light-weightedness that come along is already a bonus.
The bricks are made up in such an innovative manner that they allow the natural light to pass through them. Using these bricks in constructions of the building will save the electricity expenditure of the infrastructure owners. Further, the concrete can be used in green building as well as the construction of curtain walls. Curtain walls are the walls that do not bear any load of the building and are generally seen in high-rise buildings.
Further, the bricks do not allow the water and air to pass through them, thus making its leak-proof construction material.
The bricks are fire-resistant and can also withstand many high temperatures. As explained by Ramansh to The Better India, in case of any fire break-out, the building will be safe because the plastic fibre may get damaged by the fire but the concrete will still standstill.
There are many other kinds of transparent materials available in the market which can be used for construction and are generally used by interior designers and decorators. However, they are, in most cases, made up using fibre material. These fibres are non-fire-resistant. Thus, this concrete will also act as a better replacement for non-fire resistant building material.
Roots of the Project
Being the student of Masters in Environmental Sciences, Ramansh started working on this material as a part of his final year project. He worked under the guidance of Deepesh Kumar Singh who is an Assistant Professor at the Harcourt Butler Technical University.
Ramansh credits Deepesh for guiding him in the development of this sustainable invention. Also, Deepesh was the one to test the material in the university’s lab and certify it. The material invented by Ramansh is a game-changing product for the infrastructure and construction industry. It is a cheaper and greener alternative to cement.
Being a better solution to the cement, the use and development of this plastic combined concrete should be promoted. The production will not only consume the industrial plastic scrap but will also reduce the carbon emissions in the environment to a greater extent.
Since the concrete is transparent, it should be extensively used to construct a building to save electricity. Further, being a cheaper means of building construction, the material can also be used in low-cost housing schemes.s
Ramansh wants to expand the scale of his project. However, being short at finances, he is unable to do so right now. He undertook to conduct the experimental development of the project through his pocket savings. He is currently looking forward to finding funding to foster the idea and start production.
Ramansh’s idea is a great initiative to outgrow our efforts for a greener tomorrow which will simultaneously help in infrastructural development. We sincerely hope that Ramansh gets the resources he needs. His futuristic vision and intellectual tactics will pave a path for green development.