Global Warming Solution: Green Cement

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September 6, 2008

By Bob Difley
For the first time in 2006 China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions surpassed the US emissions—by 8%–making China No. 1 in world CO2 emissions. The study also showed that, “In the 1990-2006 period global fossil-fuel related CO2 emissions increased over 35%.”
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the emerging mega-nations of China and India present enormous challenges to efforts to slow down and reverse the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. One of the major contributors to China’s CO2 emissions is its building of a new coal-fired power plant each week. EACH WEEK! And each plant emits more CO2 than that saved by all the hybrid vehicles on America’s roads. Depressing statistics.
And unfortunately, that’s not all. A CO2 molecule can travel from Beijing to our west coast in less than 24 hours, so even though California has mandated that state-wide emissions fall to 1990 levels by 2020, will it make any difference? Will all our efforts at finding alternate energy sources be in vain if we are showered with CO2 from nations as flagrant as we are—even if we decide change our ways? Do as we say we’re going to do, not as we have done.
One man who claims to be on the verge of the NEXT BIG THING, the game-changer that will take a big bite out of worldwide CO2 emissions is Brent Constantz, the one they call Cement Man.
About 2.5 billion tons of cement are manufactured every year—nearly 50% of it in China, where they are building roads and buildings in a mad frenzy as they charge forward into the world economy. But the manufacturing process of cement produces one pound of CO2 for every pound of cement made. And China has made it perfectly clear that they are not going to slow down their progress for the environment.
But Cement Man has the answer. He has a patent pending for a procedure that encapsulates the CO2 during the manufacturing process into the cement itself, making it Green cement (not the color green, of course). Zero CO2 emissions. Cement manufacturing worldwide contributes about 5% of the Earth’s total CO2 emissions. A worthy reduction if all cement plants produced Cement Man’s cement. And the best part is, he claims that it will cost only $100/ton–compared to $110/ton for regular cement. A win-win situation.
An even better part is that he claims that the cement will also sequester an additional half-ton of CO2 which he can pull from the smokestacks of power plants. If his cement plants were built right next to power plants, a half-ton of CO2 would be bound into every ton of cement made next door. The same process could also be used to make a different aggregate—the sand and gravel that goes into cement and asphalt—that would sequester even more CO2 from power plants.
You can follow the progress of Cement Man, who by the way has attracted the interest of Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, and money from venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, and his company, Calera Corp. at his Web site. And if you’re thinking he’s just another crack-pot, he has 200 patents in his name, is associate consulting professor in Stanford’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and has created and sold three other companies before founding Calera.

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  1. Pingback: www

  2. No one idea will solve all the problems. It takes a multitude of good ideas and lots of people thinking, inventing, failing, trying again. Cement production accounts for about 5% of worldwide CO2 emissions–more than the entire aviation industry–so any dent in that will certainly help. Thanks for the comments.

  3. The “green cement” idea is a good idea. That alone won’t help much, but if we get more ideas like this, they will all add up.

  4. I have been wondering if we humans aren’t doing the earth a favor by bringing carbon back above the earth’s surface. Think about it: All of that carbon was above the surface to begin with and when those ancient plants/animals died, the ecosystems lost all of that carbon. Furthermore, the earth has been in a 3 million year cooling cycle, and we could be helping to stabilize the temperature by adding our global warming. Just a thought.

  5. Bill

    Why not! 2% of the people run Washington and you can definitely see how screwed up they have the economy of America….. They have this country dumbed down so far they will believe everything the government says as well as the liberal media.
    I am looking for the written article I based my first statement on and will post it as soon as I can find it. Thank you for your follow up. This kind of communication is what keeps sharp minds sharp and opens others not so sharp to more of the truth they have forgotten..

  6. Bill – I wonder if you and Carson believe in all the conspiracy theories bouncing around the internet. If only 2% of scientists agree with Gore, then you must also believe that the Noel Prize committee is stacked with only those 2% of scientists. You must then also believe that the IPCC is similarly stacked. Then you would also have to believe that these same 2% of scientists have managed to convince every government in every nation of the wold, every credible news source, and the majority of the general public that global warming is a hoax. You would also have to believe that this same 2% of scientists is able to convince all those listed above that the core samples pulled from Iceland and other places, that factual records of global temperatures going back several years, and that the best computer models our brightest people can come up with to predict what is happening to the world’s climate are dead wrong. If that is truly the case, then these 2% of scientists are the best salespeople on the face of the earth.

  7. Bill

    I strongly agree with Carson. AlGore is getting his information from about 2% of the scientists that have looked into “Global Warming”. The other 98% disagree and stick with a cycle belief.
    Bob needs to go back and look at the statistics of the other 19,000+ who would make Al Gore a laughing stock, but then when hasn’t he been.

  8. Bob Difley

    Carson – the warnings about global warming came from many other sources long before Al Gore started to warn us. There are too many legitimate sources, experts, laboratories, and scientific studies that say that global warming is real and something we should pay close attention to to simply write it off as a way from an individual person to make money. The United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization commissioned the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), comprised by the most prestigious scientists in the world, to study climate change and their report states without question that the earth is warming. It is the warmest it has been in 400 years. Nobody with any scientific credibility denies that. What you may be confusing is, how much of this warming is a natural warming effect following the last ice age, and how much is caused by man made actions like the burning of fossil fuels. The IPCC says there is a 95% change that some of the current warming is caused by man. That leaves a 10% chance that it isn’t. If I were a gambler, I would sure go with the 95%.

  9. Bob Difley

    George – I think that the earth is warmed by a collection of greenhouse gasses that keep the sun’s heat from radiating away, thereby keeping the earth habitable. Without these greenhouse gasses earth would be way too cold to permit life. These greenhouse gasses consist of carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and moisture–what scientists call “water vapor.” A certain amount of global warming is natural and part of the earth’s natural cycle of warm periods followed by ice ages. These cycles are predictable, but what we are seeing now is a rise in the earth’s temperature at a faster rate than can be attributable to natural effects, and therefore is attributed to human causes. As to the 95% figure, I don’t know how much of the excess warming is attributable to specifically moisture. The interesting part of the moisture question is, as the earth heats up, more water evaporates from the oceans into the atmosphere, forming more water vapor, which when cooled forms clouds and eventually rain, which in turn cools the earth. So will this warming eventually cure itself by forming massive cloud covers and cooling the earth down again? I haven’t the foggiest. and neither do the scientists. But the IPCC says that it is a 95% chance that our current global warming rate is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and if we don;t slow it down or reverse it, the long term effects could be disastrous to much of the earth’s population.
    This added on 9/15: See what Wickipedia says about global warming and especially moisture–water vapor–as a greenhouse gas, which they put at 3% to 70%.

  10. Bob,
    I believe you are an educated man but honestly I can’t understand how you and thes other so called enviromentalist would believe in Global Warming…come on Bob this is a money making gimick from Al Gore and his fams. If global warming is such an issue why is he still flying his private jet, burning more energy in his fine home and thinking nothing about it. The so called committee wants people to be so careful in how they do to preserve yet they haven’t stopped one thing to help the enviroment themselves.
    All I can say is if you preach it, teach it, then by all means do it..

  11. George Miller

    Bob, Do you agree that 95% of global warming is caused by moisture? George Miller