Greening our building blocks steel and cement

Do you think about the necessity of greening steel and cement in order to combat climate change? Most people don`t. Yet, materials such as cement, steel, aluminium, plastic, glass and paper are the third biggest (!) contributor of greenhouse gases, just behind agriculture and making electricity. Producing these materials are responsible for a fift of all emissions.

And it is challenging to deal with. We do need steel and cement for our buildings and roads, and we are not getting any fewer people on the planet, meaning more buildings and roads.. Urbanisation also means more and more people are moving into the cities, building out the city. As Bill Gates writes in a blog post on the topic, Africa`s emissions from making concrete are for example projected to quadruple by 2050. And producing these materials demands a lof of energy to produce them.

The CO2-problem with these materials is that they need a lot of energy to be produced and often require high temperatures, whereoff fossil fuels such as coal are favoured for both. They can`t necessarily or easily be produced with electricity. Further, chemical reactions following the production process emits emissions.

Some companies however, are set out to provide the greener versions of these needed materials. The ultimate goal would be zero-emitting materials. Off course, more efficient use of the materials as well as recycling (as part of circular business models and systems) are also vital.

The company Boston Metal is one such company that Energy Breakthrough Ventures (and thereby also Bill Gates as an investor in the fund) has invested in. Check them out below.

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