Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Role of Malaysian Cement Industry in Green Environment Initiatives

Cement industry has been in limelight for being one of the main contributors to environmental problem. It is well known that the production of cement will release a very significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into environment. As a rule of thumb, for every ton of cement product, an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be released into the atmosphere. Of course, this CO2 comes from various stages of cement production process, starting from extraction of raw material till the delivery of the cement. However, the majority of the carbon dioxide (CO2) is released during the process of transforming limestone into clinkers.

Many developed countries have taken many constructive steps in talking this issue, either due to economic reason or regulative requirement. Therefore, it is time for Malaysian cement manufacturers to look into ways to cut down the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. The most common way of reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission is by replacing part of the cement clinkers with other supplementary cementitious material, which is normally a by-product of other industries. Currently, Fly-ash and slag has been used widely as replacement material in cement manufacturing. Replacing the cement clinkers with either one these materials will reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission significantly.

Fly ash is a by-product of coal fueled power plant, while slag is a by-product of steel industry. Both these materials have been researched extensively and their benefits in concrete have been published and debated in thousands of publications and conferences. For every part of cement replaced by this material, there will be an equal amount of reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emission.

Besides the CO2 reduction, the use of by-products will also enhance the durability of concrete which will result in better life span for the structure. The use of by-products also reduces the heat of hydration thereby results in reduced thermal cracking, and also many other problem. The use by-products in concrete especially the slag has been proven to improve the durability of marine structures exposed to chloride and sulfate attack.
Governments of many developed countries have made it mandatory for the cement manufacturers and users to use recycle by-products in cement and construction. It is time for Malaysian government and industry players to come together to play an important role in promoting the use of by-products in cement production as well as in overall construction process. There has been some initiatives taken by some manufacturers, but the green journey has just begun, and we hope to see more initiatives coming up.

Arreshvhina Narayanan has been involved in concrete technology field for over 10 years, with two-third of the time was invested in Research and Development. I would like to share my knowledge in concrete technology with others who has same interest. I also welcome any comments and suggestion that will improve my knowledge in this field. You'll be able to access more articles and news related to concrete technology at

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