Curtin University has begun investigating the potential to use kaolin from Suvo Strategic Metals’ White Cloud project for sustainable “green concrete” applications.
The White Cloud project in Western Australia contains 54.1 million tonnes of bright white kaolinised granite, from which high– reactivity metakaolin (HRM) can be sourced.
HRM has been identified as a low-carbon substitute for traditional Portland cement, the binding additive used in concrete which contains much larger volumes of carbon dioxide.
Curtin University senior lecturer Thong Pham said adoption of green concrete by the construction industry has been hindered by high costs and variable quality.
“Compared to other sustainable binders, HRM has much higher quality control and consistent chemical compositions, which make it a great substitute to typical energy-intensive Portland cement for an alternative yet excellent and reliable binder in green concrete” Pham said.
“Suvo metakaolin will potentially be flash calcined to minimise carbon footprint and simultaneously provide optimum properties for use as a pozzolan (additive).”
As the world’s single biggest industrial cause of carbon pollution, making up 8 per cent, cement production is widely recognised as one key to meeting countries’ and companies’ decarbonisation targets.
The Curtin University team will first undertake a literary review to analyse the feasibility of HRM in green concrete.
They will then conduct a life cycle assessment of HRM based concrete to understand potential carbon footprints, emissions properties and energy cost savings.
The market value for high quality HRM is between $US500 and $750 per tonne ($682–$1024/t).
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