Thursday, September 5, 2013

Clay promoted as climate-conscious construction material

By Kofi Adu Domfeh

Ghana can preserve its limestone deposits by depending on the abundance of clay to serve the country’s construction needs, says Engineer Mark Bediako.

The research scientist foresees dependence on clay as an industrial mineral resource in the near future.

Limestone is a major ingredient in the production of cement, which is a critical component in Ghana’s building and construction industry.

Upscale of local production of cement has been impeded by limited mining and exploration of limestone deposits.

“In sustainability, you really have to look at materials that are in abundance to compensate materials that are in less quantity. So with clay being in abundance we can be in the context of sustainability”, said Mr. Bediako.

Available records indicate that clay can be mined in all the regions of Ghana – which makes the product suitable raw material base for the ceramic and building industries.

Clay is a major raw material in the manufacturing of pozzolana, a cement complement product developed by local researchers at the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Mr. Bediako, who works at the BRRI, cited pozzolana as an environmentally beneficial energy-intensive material in mitigating the effects of global warming.

“Research has proven that between 6-8 percent of the global warming gases released into the atmosphere comes from the cement industry because of the energy generated”, he observed. “Now if you really want to cut down on the carbon dioxide emission in the context of think global, act local, you need to bring in a material that can cut down the emission by almost half; that one can be achieved with the production of pozzolana”.

Mixing pozzolana with clinker cement produces cost-effective mortar and concrete.

The Pozzolana Ghana Limited currently has a daily production of 5,000 bags at its Gomoa Mprumem commercial plant, whilst the BRRI plant in Kumasi bags 200 per day.

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