ABSTRACT: Concrete is a major material used in the construction industry that emits a large amount of substances with environmental impacts during its life cycle. Accordingly, technologies for the reduction in and assessment of the environmental impact of concrete from the perspective of a life cycle assessment (LCA) must be developed. At present, the studies on LCA in relation to greenhouse gas emission from concrete are being carried out globally as a countermeasure against climate change. However, the studies on the impact of the substances emitted in the concrete production process on acidification and eutrophication are insufficient. As such, assessing only a single category of environmental impact may cause a misunderstanding about the environmental friendliness of concrete. The substances emitted in the concrete production process have an impact not only on global warming but also on acidification and eutrophication. Acidification and eutrophication are the main causes of air pollution, forest destruction, red tide phenomena, and deterioration of reinforced concrete structures. For this reason, the main substances among those emitted in the concrete production process that have an impact on acidification and eutrophication were deduced. In addition, an LCA technique through which to determine the major emissions from concrete was proposed and a case analysis was carried out. The substances among those emitted in the concrete production process that are related to eutrophication were deduced to be NOx, NH3, NH4+, COD, NO3−, and PO43−. The substances among those emitted in the concrete production process that are related to acidification, were found to be NOx, SO2, H2S, and H2SO4. The materials and energy sources among those input into the concrete production process, which have the biggest impact on acidification and eutrophication, were found to be coarse aggregate and fine aggregate.
Tae Hyoung Kim, Chang U. Chae
Environment & Climate Change