A new framework for assessing the environmental impacts of circular economy friendly soil waste-based geopolymer cements

Malindu Sandanayake, David Law, Paul Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Portland cement is one of the principal constituents used as a building material and is responsible for high energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Any attempt to reduce cement usage would make savings in
energy usage and GHG emissions. A case study of Portland cement (CEM-I) replacement using alkali activated soil filter cake as a geopolymer mortar is presented to demonstrate application of a three-stage GHG emission
estimation and comparison methodology using a process-based life cycle assessment (LCA) study, with a focus on benchmarking environmental sustainability. Results indicate that the alkali activated soil filter cake reduced
total GHG emissions by 31% compared with CEM-I, which equates to 110 kgCO2-eq/m3. Transportation by rail was found to be more sustainable compared with by road, with an overall higher GHG emission reduction of
between 5 and 10%. For road transport, heavy goods vehicles (HGV) of between 3.5t and 5.7t recorded the highest GHG emissions whilst articulated lorries recorded the lowest GHG emissions. Furthermore, the results
also demonstrated that a bulk carrier is the most environmentally sustainable option for overseas raw material transportation. Monte-Carlo simulations signified the likelihood of achieving lowered GHG emissions when
considering commercial production and inventory changes across different countries varies from 18% to 71%. These results highlight the importance of critical analysis of several factors which contribute towards overall
environmental sustainability, prior to decision making on sustainable materials. Further research is encouraged on developing processes and methodologies to prioritize selection of sustainable materials to optimize sustainable benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108702
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume210
Early online date22 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the support from Scott Bros Ltd (UK) for providing the data and information to perform the GHG emission analysis. Thanks go to Mr Feysal Shifa (KTP Associate) for procuring the geopolymer mixture assessed in this study and to Dr David Hughes from Teesside University (UK) for undertaking a technical review of this study. This research was funded by Innovate UK, UKRI project reference 511320, KTP partnership no. 11151). Due to the ongoing Intellectual Property (IP) arrangements, the authors are unable to provide a detailed summary of process information related to the geopolymer mortar production.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the support from Scott Bros Ltd (UK) for providing the data and information to perform the GHG emission analysis. Thanks go to Mr Feysal Shifa (KTP Associate) for procuring the geopolymer mixture assessed in this study and to Dr David Hughes from Teesside University (UK) for undertaking a technical review of this study. This research was funded by Innovate UK, UKRI project reference 511320 , KTP partnership no. 11151). Due to the ongoing Intellectual Property (IP) arrangements, the authors are unable to provide a detailed summary of process information related to the geopolymer mortar production.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Geopolymer
  • Cement binders
  • Life cycle assessment
  • sustainability

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