Carrots may be secret to greener concrete

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In the United Kingdom, researchers at Lancaster University, in collaboration with Scotland’s CelluComp, are looking to use carrots to increase concrete strength and improve its carbon footprint.

“We found out you could increase the strength of concrete by 80% by using a small amount of [carrot particles blended with cement],” LU’s Mohamed Saafi told Reuters.

In addition to preventing cracks in cement, the carrots replace the amount of required cement—which is significant considering cement production accounts for a whopping 7% of total global carbon dioxide emissions, according to International Energy Agency estimates.

Sustainable materials firm CelluComp provided the carrot particles. The cellulose in carrots allows the vegetable to stay rigid and crunchy despite its high water content. “Those fibers have strength charac-teristics in them. It’s the building blocks of the strength of a vegetable,” CEO Christian Kemp-Griffin told Reuters. “You can just pop a few of these fibers into other materials and it becomes an additive that gives performance characteristics.”

Saafi’s team is also evaluating fibers from sugar beets.