“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,” reports The Guardian.
The article goes on to mention that over the past 60 years, we have produced 8bn tonnes of plastic, but what’s worse? The cement industry churns out twice that amount every two years! While cement continues to remain the go-to material due to its affordability and durability, it’s carbon footprint is devastating to the environment.
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Cement produces eight per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide according to the London-based not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation Chatham House that analyses and promotes the understanding of major international issues.
A 27-year-old Civil Engineer from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh had the same worries at the back of his head. This led him to develop a transparent concrete that partially utilises industrial waste in the place of cement. This switch helps in reducing CO2 emissions by reducing the cement consumption and can reduce electricity bills by 30 per cent.
Ramansh Bajpai, currently pursuing his Masters in Environmental Science from Harcourt Butler Technical University (HBTU), Kanpur, has developed this eco-friendly alternative as part of his final year project.
After ten months of hard work and several failed attempts, Ramansh finally perfected the formula. The rectangular-shaped concrete is made from plastic optical fibres, steel and industry waste (ground granulated blast furnace slag).
The use of industrial waste further ensures that the cost of the transparent concrete is 15 per cent less than regular cement. In terms of durability, it is 23 per cent stronger and 5 per cent lighter.
The concrete can be used in green buildings and in high-rise buildings as curtain walls that do not bear any load of the building. The main advantage is that it allows the natural light to enter the room, but no heat or water can pass through the wall, thus preventing leakages or dampness. Since the room with transparent concrete will get the maximum amount of natural light, the use of electricity will come down, Ramansh tells The Better India (TBI).
Many decorative transparent materials are available in the market, but they are mostly made by fibres which are not fire-resistant. This transparent concrete can withstand much higher temperatures. In case of a fire, only the plastic optical fibres may be damaged but not the wall or building, Ramansh adds.
The final year student tested the material in the university and was certified successful by Deepesh Kumar Singh, Assistant Professor at the university. It was under his guidance that Ramansh made this sustainable invention.
Ramansh’s invention fulfils the criteria of being a cheaper and greener alternative to cement. Using transparent concrete is a viable solution to the problem of cement emitting carbon dioxide and contributing to greenhouse gases. The construction material can also be used in low-cost housing schemes, Singh tells TBI.
Ramansh used his personal savings for the project. However, his project is currently on hold due to financial constraints, “I want to develop the material for commercial use and for that I need investors,” adds the engineer.
We hope that Ramansh’s futuristic invention paves the way for a green future in the construction sector.
You can write to Ramansh at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)