No longer cast in cement
- from Shaastra :: vol 02 issue 01 :: Jan - Feb 2023
Researchers in India and elsewhere are buiding a better world by harnessing new forms of eco-friendly cement.
Sometime in 2010, Shashank Bishnoi received a Skype call from Fernando Martirena, a Cuban researcher he'd met while working on his PhD in Switzerland. Martirena, who was looking at making better alternatives to cement, had developed a new type of cement. He asked the Professor of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi if he'd be interested in testing it in India. Bishnoi readily agreed.
They decided to ship to India samples of the cement — called LC3, for Limestone Calcined Clay Cement — but ran into logistical and Customs-related issues. That was when Bishnoi decided to make LC3 in India from scratch. "In the process, not only did we learn the method of production but also gained a lot of confidence in the capabilities of LC3," he says.
They ended up producing around 40 tonnes of LC3, with which they test-constructed a small building in Jhansi on the premises of TARA (Technology and Action for Rural Advancement), another collaborator in the project, in 2013.
Since then, many other test constructions have taken place. Researchers have also worked with commercial cement manufacturers to produce LC3. In the last decade, they have increased the suitability of LC3 for manufacturers and users and are now ready for commercial production.
"Millions of tonnes of LC3 are already being produced around the world and all this has happened in just 10 years of research," Bishnoi says, describing it as a "breakthrough" in cement technology.
LC3 has the potential to reduce cement manufacturing-associated CO2 emission by up to 40%. It achieves this by reducing the amount of clinker in the cement and replacing it with limestone and calcined clay.