Last edited 09 Jun 2021

Main author

BRE Buzz Researcher Website

Research on novel cements to reduce CO2 emissions


In August 2016, BRE published Performance and durability of concrete made using lower carbon belite-ye'elimite-ferrite cement (BR 512).

Concrete is likely to continue to be the primary volume construction material for most structural applications and its use is likely to grow. Portland cement (PC) and blended PCs are currently the only economic binders for concrete that can meet performance and durability requirements under the wide range of conditions to which concrete is exposed.

Cement manufacture produces large amounts of CO2 due to energy use and the calcination of CaCO3. Cement manufacture consequently accounts for about 5% of total global anthropogenic (human-generated) CO2 emissions.

The pressure to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions during cement manufacture has led the industry to increase substitution of Portland cement clinker in conventional cements with other ingredients approved for standard production, such as ground granulated blastfurnace slag (ggbs), pulverised-fuel ash (pfa or fly ash), natural pozzolans and limestone.

However, there have until recently been few serious attempts to develop novel cements based on alternative clinkers with intrinsically lower energy requirements and CO2 emissions than conventional Portland cement clinkers.

This new report summarises work on cements based, not on C3S (the major phase in PC), but C2S as the major phase, with C4A3$ (calcium sulfoaluminate or ye’elimite) and C4AF (ferrite) as the other two principal phases.

It specifically focuses on the LafargeHolcim-patented Aether cements as an example of this type of cement. These cements can be made from conventional raw materials, in existing industrial installations and offer similar performances to CEM I (ordinary) PC, but with 25-30% lower CO2 emissions.

The work summarised in the report was funded under the EU LIFE+ and SILC programmes to assess the performance and durability of Aether concrete. It shows that good-quality concretes can be made using a range of different batches of Aether cement. Specimens have been prepared to allow testing to continue over a number of years. To date, durability data for up to two years have been recorded.

Results have shown the following:

To purchase the report, go to BRE Bookshop.

This article was originally published by BRE Buzz on 4 August 2016. It was written by Ali Nicholl.

--BRE Buzz

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again