CHENNAI: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, along with two other IITs and two institutes from Switzerland and Cuba, are working on eco-friendly cement which has the potential to reduce cement-related carbon emissions by as much as 40 per cent.
Armed with the 4 million Swiss francs (around Rs 268 million) funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), researchers from IITs - Madras, Delhi and Bombay - and the Central University of Las Villas, Cuba, led by the team from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, are working to develop the eco-friendly limestone-calcined clay cement (LC3).
This new blend substitutes up to half of the usual portland cement with the abundant clay and limestone, which promises to reduce cement-related CO2 emissions by up to 40 per cent.
If used globally, LC3 could help bring down future emissions by several notches by reducing energy consumption during processing, which, in turn, would have a major impact on climate change.
The initial results in India demonstrate that this cement can be produced using technology that is widely available in the India, and that the cement can be used by construction workers without any additional training required to handle the material.
Besides these institutes, the application of the technology is led by Technology & Action for Rural Advancement (TARA).
Agreements for research collaboration have been concluded and the research programmes have been kicked-off at the centres involved.
The Indian team is led by Shashank Bishnoi of IIT-D. The other researchers involved are Biswajit Bhattacharjee from IIT-D, Prakash Nanthagopalan from IIT-B, Manu Santhanam, Ravindra Gettu, Radhakrishna Pillai and Sivakumar Palaniappan from IIT-M, and Arun Kumar, Soumen Maity and Palas Kr. Haldar from TARA.
IIT-D and TARA have already demonstrated the feasibility of the new blend with field applications and laboratory tests after which the larger team initiated Phase 1 of the project for scaling-up research and application.
The funding from the SDC will enable EPFL and its partners to do the necessary research and testing for the introduction and standardisation of LC3 so that it makes it to the market as quickly as possible.
Driven by growing need in emerging economies including India, the global demand for cement is set to double by 2050.