Cambridge researchers may have a new adage thanks to an ingenious method that can apparently make cleaner cement as part of the steelmaking process. As a result, it seems that two dirty materials can make a clean one. The science behind the breakthrough could revolutionize manufacturing in the building sector. It’s widely reported that the cement and steelmaking industries make up about 8% and 7% of annual global air pollution.

“I had a vague idea from previous work that if it were possible to crush old concrete, taking out the sand and stones, heating the cement would remove the water, and then it would form clinker again,” study first author Cyrille Dunant said in a New Atlas story. “A bath of liquid metal would help this chemical reaction along, and an electric arc furnace, used to recycle steel, felt like a strong possibility. We had to try.”

The result is Cambridge Electric Cement. It all starts by gathering concrete from demolition sites. After being crushed, the separated cement is used in place of lime-flux needed in steel recycling, making the process cleaner.

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Author: Rick Kazmer, The Cool Down
Photo by Justus Menke on Unsplash