Huntzinger Wins Award to Reduce the Cement Industry’s C02 Emissions


Deborah Huntzinger, Assistant Professor of Climate Sciences at Northern Arizona University, was recently named a 2012 Bisgrove Scholar award winner by Science Foundation Arizona. She will use the funds to research a waste byproduct of cement manufacturing to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. About five percent of global CO2 emissions come from the cement industry.

Huntzinger has developed methods to sequester cement kiln dust, a powdery byproduct that may end up in a landfill or, in some cases, be recycled. Kilns produce about 0.2 tons of waste product per ton of clinker, the finished product most of us call cement.

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Dr. Deborah Huntzinger

 “These waste products are already in fine-grain form, so they don’t need to be processed,” Huntzinger said. “All we really need to do is put them in the presence of CO2 and water.””

As straightforward as that sounds, much work remains to be done. Huntzinger’s lab work so far has been conducted under ideal conditions. The Bisgrove funding will allow her to introduce real-world complications, with the goal of designing a pilot-scale project within the next two years. One important consideration is to figure out how to capture carbon emissions from the manufacturing processes using as little added infrastructure and energy as possible.”

--Adapted from “Inside NAU”