More concrete is manufactured than any other synthetic material on earth. Roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, power plants, ports, airports, dikes and seawalls, waste- and freshwater plants and networks, all these infrastructures rely on the extensive use of concrete, just like the foundations of our buildings, if not the entire buildings themselves. Nations and civilizations have been founded on a bed of concrete.
Rather than dilute the focus of this article on CO2 emissions or the fact CO2 is not a pollutant, or that humans are carbon based lifeforms. Let us find common ground and agree that the carbon movement is fundamentally a tax that does not reduce CO2 or pollution of any kind because emitters can buy credits to “offset” the emissions. California where we are looking at operating is burning both ends of the candle. One of their goals is to create affordable for housing and reduce the wage disparity, while opening borders to allow limitless, non-legal immigration in. All these people need to live somewhere, and if land is expensive, the only way you can build is up, creating density.
Tower is for pollution and smog reduction, clean air and viable alternatives
What are the alternatives to concrete?
An all steel would be prohibitive in cost, considering the new import tax on cheap Chinese steel, the materials would have to be imported from outside the state. Wood would also be expensive and have to be imported as well. Adding to transportation costs. Even novel structures like shipping containers, can only be stacked 12 high- when empty. The largest shipping container building in the county is only 19 units. Other issues include wooden floors contaminated, rust, the steel walls are a great conductor of heat and the walls have to be insulated. In all of these concrete still has to be used.
Roads, bridges, docks, are all made from a majority of concrete. There is no viable alternatives at this time. Even if personal cars were banned, commercial trucks would still be needed to transport food and essentials. Roads would still have to be maintained, and extensive new subways would have to be built. If they were built underground, massive amounts of cement would be needed, if overland, steel could be used but the cost would be much much higher. Existing docks would have to be maintained with marine concrete, if replaced with steel, the costs again would be astronomical, and be prone to rusting.
If California wants to keep being a major or even minor economy, they need to massively incentivize R&D to private business and education to generate viable commercial products- but this takes years and decades. In 2006 California legislated A.B.32 which will drive up the costs of infrastructure and especially housing costs and energy costs. Apartments are seen as a viable efficient way of low cost housing- that concrete will cost much more even if imported a tax will still be payable, that tax will not be used to funnel in state or private research but to fund the tax itself. This is a tax for tax sake, that revenue should be used for researching ways for the industry to reduce pollutants and use less energy.
These are some of the biggest culprits are in Fly Ash, like mercury, chromium, thallium, boron, selenium. Coal burning facilities have scrubbers that eliminate the majority of harmful chemicals into the air. As cement producers we see this as a challenge but through our own research we are finding ways to reduce harmful by products.