Portland cement has changed little since it was created in 1924 -- except that we use more of it. However, because the production of concrete produces 5% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, researchers are working to find greener ways to produce it. The Concrete Sustainability Hub at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is experimenting with portland cement's various ratios of ingredients, better efficiencies and more as a way to reduce emissions.
Corn stover, wheat straw and rice straw are waste products of agriculture used as biofuels. The high-lignin ash left over from burning them is being used by researchers at Kansas State University to make concrete stronger and more eco-friendly. The researchers use the byproduct to replace 20% of the Portland cement by mass and in doing so make the cement 32% stronger. The researchers published an article in the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering.
Green marketing isn't easy, but messaging is more likely to succeed if marketers act like children with new playmates, Jan Lee writes. That means listening, being yourself and showing respect. "Be heartfelt in your actions. ... You can never tell how they'll be perceived," Lee writes.
Water has a low nominal cost, but tariffs, disposal charges, and pumping and heating can inflate water's cost as much as a hundredfold, according to a McKinsey analysts. "Companies may be able to identify substantial savings by focusing on the broader economic costs of water," they write.
A researcher at Rice University has received the 2010 Glycerine Innovation Award for discovering a method of using E. coli strains to produce ethanol from glycerine, a major byproduct of biodiesel production. Ramon Gonzalez, a William W. Akers Assistant Professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering and bioengineering, led a team that designed safe strains of E. coli that could be used to help produce biofuels, chemical feedstocks, solvents, drugs and food additives.