While the construction industry aims to decarbonize buildings, there’s another movement that aims to decarbonize the construction industry itself.

Construction is directly or indirectly responsible for nearly 40 percent of global C02 emissions, and energy-intensive cement production accounts for nearly 7 percent of that. That’s why the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office invested $4.1 million into a first-of-its-kind cement manufacturing process that uses solar-thermal power to decarbonize the heating of limestone.

The DOE tapped Heliogen, working in conjunction with the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Michigan, and materials manufacturers, to develop the solar-driven calciner that will use concentrated sunlight to make cement.

“The receiver-reactor and associated technologies developed for this project will aim to eliminate the majority of CO2 emissions to significantly decarbonize cement production,” Environmental Leader reports.

Once the demonstration proves out, the next step is to make it widely available to the construction industry.

If successful, the project would be a major step toward a greener construction industry. Meanwhile, contractors can use clean-burning propane to power cement grinding, resurfacing, and polishing equipment.

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