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UK pioneers zero emission recycled cement

Materials Processing Institute in the UK is developing ‘the world’s first zero emissions cement’ on an industrial scale after a successful R&D trial.

Cement 2 Zero uses recycled cement as the flux in the electric steel recycling process. When cooled and ground, the by-product delivers Portland cement clinker that can be blended to make ‘green’ cement.

The innovative work was carried out using the institute’s seven-tonne electric arc furnace on its Teesside campus. Doing so enabled engineers to observe how the process works on a large scale.

The preliminary findings are ‘encouraging’, according to Chris McDonald, ceo at the Materials Processing Institute. ‘The initial trial melt is a critical part of the project and a huge step towards creating a more efficient, environmentally friendly, and resource conscious manufacturing process contributing to the decarbonisation of the construction, cement and steel sectors.’

Three further melt tests will be carried out using the institute’s furnace. Following a series of further trials and risk assessments, the engineers will conduct industrial scale trial melts at Celsa Steel in Cardiff.

Other industry partners collaborating in the Cement 2 Zero project include Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Day Aggregates and Tarmac. Together, they have secured £6.5 million (EUR 7.5 million) of funding from the Government’s UK Research and Innovation agency.

The initial method was discovered by Cyrille Dunant at the University of Cambridge who found that the chemical composition of used cement is virtually identical to that of the lime flux used in conventional EAFs.

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