Researchers from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science have figured out how to produce concrete without using cement, the traditional binder made of clay and calcined lime. Using a reaction between alcohol and a catalyst, the researchers ultimately bonded the fine aggregate, or sand particles, together without needing cement.

The process has the potential to reduce the CO₂ emissions resulting from cement production, which accounts for 8% of global CO₂ emissions. It can also ease construction in desert and even extra-terrestrial regions. “We obtained sufficiently strong products with, for example, silica sand, glass beads, desert sand and simulated moon sand,” said Ahmad Farahani, a researcher at the University of Tokyo.

“These findings can promote a move towards a greener and more economical construction industry everywhere on earth. Our technique does not require specific sand particles used in conventional construction. This will also help address the issues of climate change and space development,” comments Farahani.

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