Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Cement not in stone

A privately owned Melbourne company about to bring low-carbon cement into commercial production has taken issue with the government's proposed emissions trading scheme, saying it offers no incentive to the incumbent cement producers to lower emissions and might even allow them to collect windfall profits from gaming the system.

Zeobond, a company established and owned by the family of University of Melbourne professor Jannie van Deventer, has developed a product called E-crete. It claims 80 per cent less emissions are produced than conventional cement. E-crete is created by using geopolymers and a less emission-intensive chemical reaction than conventional cement, which releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide -- one tonne of carbon for every tonne of cement -- mostly when limestone is broken down using extreme temperatures. It is estimated that three tonnes of cement are produced per person, per year. It is now estimated as the third-largest human contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Professor van Deventer's concern with the proposed ETS is that the cement industry has convinced the government there are no low-emission alternatives, and because it is treated as an emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industry, it will get 94.5 per cent compensation through free permits.

Read the rest of this story from The AustralianFurther story about Zeobond from Ecos magazine (NB .pdf file). Thanks Julia for forwarding these.

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