Researchers at the school found that the byproducts of lignin and cellulosic material could be used in concrete mixes to strengthen the material up to 30% while significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions . This finding goes hand in hand with a new report from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. The NIST report looked at different mixes already being used to ‘green’ concrete and the kinds of measurements necessary to ensure the concrete remains strong .
In order to understand the implications of these findings, it is helpful to see the energy and environmental impacts of concrete production. The U.S. cement industry uses some “400 million gigajoules of energy each year, which is equivalent to the energy required to power 3 million homes each year .” Carbon dioxide emissions for the industry account for 5% of the U.S. total, according to the same report.
While the KSU study remains in the early stages, the findings pose a promising win, win, win scenario for biofuels, concrete and the environment.