Sweet Solution: Turning Agri-Waste to Good Use
Cement that incorporates waste ash from sugar production is not only stronger than ordinary cement, it also qualifies as a greener building material. Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, have found that cement made with sugar cane ash mixed in is stronger, can withstand higher pressure and crumbles less than ordinary cement.
In countries where sugar cane is grown, such as Cuba and Brazil, this agricultural waste product has been added to cement for years. Extracting sugar from the cane typically leaves a lot of fiber waste that is burned into ash, discarded and then requires disposal.
Using sugar cane ash also can lower the energy use and carbon footprint of cement production. Heloisa Bordallo, a researcher at the Institute, comments, “You are saving both CO2 emissions and raw materials.”