The process of making cement is notably harmful to the environment , as the process releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide. But now , it may reportedly suck some of that carbon dioxide (CO2) back up, enough to cancel nearly a quarter of the gases released from making cement.
A team of Chinese scientists working at the California Institute of Technology , along with other researchers from the U.S. and Europe , used data to find that between 1930 and 2013 , cement has soaked up 4.5 Giga tons of carbon or more than 16 Giga tons of carbon dioxide through a process called carbonation.
The findings don’t represent a dramatic change in the overall picture of greenhouse gas emissions , but , it adds another piece of information to the part of carbon models that is particularly prone to uncertainty: how much carbon is soaked up on land. In future inventories , cement will need to be added to the list of things that absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
Because cement effectively cancels part of its impact over time , the results might also help guide strategies for reducing its carbon footprint. Bigger gains could come from shifting away from fossil fuels to make the cement.