Biochar makes concrete stronger and more watertight
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are developing a new concrete mixture, that’s made with recycled wood waste to achieve a stronger and more watertight consistency. Currently Singapore produces more than 500,000 million tonnes of wood waste that’s mostly sawdust, which can be turned into biochar. Biochar is charcoal that’s used in soil, it’s rich in the nutrient carbon and has the potential to reduce climate change for our planet.
In 2010, a scientific study explored the world’s current sources of biomass that aren't being consumed by humans as food. They found that increasing the production of the biochar material could reduce over 10% of the planet’s current greenhouse gas emissions. It also can improve soil fertility, and increase agricultural growth - perfect for garden enthusiasts!
A researcher from the NUS project, Kua Harn Wei explains, “Close to 50 kilograms (110 lb) of wood waste can be utilized for every tonne of concrete fabricated. We typically require 0.5 cubic meter of concrete for every square meter of floor area (17.6 cu ft per 10.7 sq ft) built in Singapore. This translates to around six tonnes of wood waste being recycled to build a typical four room HDB unit with floor area of 100 square meters (1,076 sq ft).” So not only would incorporating recycled wood waste improve the strength of concrete, it’s better for our environment.
Most biomass breaks down after 10 or 20 years, and then eventually breaking down and releasing carbon into the environment. Whereas biochar is different, it’s able to hold its carbon properties for thousands of years, making it incredibly environmentally friendly. This is great for concrete as it’s a very long-lasting mixture, and it can last for more than 60 years without any issues, so the added recycled wood waste would only improve its durableness.
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