CEMGLASS: Towards CO2-utilizing cement: Assessing the characteristics and performance of nanostructured glass for cements

The CEMGLASS project studies Mg-silicate glass compositions to yield novel cement precursors.


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Project duration


Funded by

Research Council of Finland - Academy Project

Funding amount

652 000 EUR

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

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Project description

The Problem

Cement manufacture plays a major role in global CO2 emissions accounting for 5-8% of anthropogenic emissions. Mg-carbonate based cements are studied as a carbon-negative option to the current paradigm. The global feedstocks of Mg-silicate minerals are sufficient to capture all anthropogenic CO2 emissions for the foreseeable future. However a major bottleneck is the low reactivity of the raw materials, Mg-silicates.


Building on the PI’s previous work on phase-separated glasses and self-organized nanostructures, this project will study Mg-silicate glass compositions to yield novel cement precursors. Generally glasses made from silicate minerals have poor reactivity due to their low modifier content. Here, by introducing phase separated nanostructures to the glasses by self-organization their reactivity can be increased without expensive additives or high-energy treatments.

The objectives of the project are 1) to synthesize phase separated glasses with tuneable nanostructures 2) to establish a link between glass morphology and reactivity, and 3) to characterize the cementitious CO2-utilizing reaction products and durability. We will use state-of-the art characterization methods to accurately assess the nanostructured glasses and their reaction kinetics through thermodynamic and quantum chemical modelling. Finally, initial feasibility of the cement concept will be assessed using industrial grade minerals.

The Solution

Taken together, a highly-reactive magnesium silicate glass will be synthesized that will react in the presence of water and minor activators, and is able to solidify and form durable reaction products, and capture CO2. The work conducted in CEMGLASS aims to observe the basic phenomena that can be exploited in CO2-utilizing cements and assess its initial feasibility. If the nanostructured glass concept is successful, it would have massive carbon capture potential.


Prof. John Provis’ research group at the University of Sheffield publishes 20-30 papers per year in peer reviewed journals such as,Chemistry of Materials, Journal of Material Science, Cement and Concrete Composites, American Ceramic Society and Langmuir. The group has wide expertise in cementitious materials, including themodynamical modelling and glass dissolution.

Prof. Chris Cheeseman’s group at Imperial College London publishes 10-15 papers per year in peer reviewed journals such as Cement and Concrete Composites, Ceramics international, Fuel and Journal of European Ceramic Society. The group has expertise in materials testing, low-carbon materials, circular economy and specifically for this project magnesium-based binders, seeding agents and reaction kinetics modification.

The NMR Research Unit (lead by Prof. Ville-Veikko Telkki) publishes 10-20 papers per year in peer reviewed journals such as: Nature Communications, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, Chemical Communications, Chemical Science, and Angewandte Chemie. The focus of the experimental subgroup of the NMR Research Unit is developing and applying NMR to create new tools for characterizing materials.

The project is planned to benefit from synchrotron radiation spectroscopy/microscopy infrastructure at MAX-IV facilities in Lund, Sweden. This research will be done in collaboration with Prof. Marko Huttula (NANOMO), and the work is facilitated by a University of Oulu-funded Beamline Scientist at the MAX IV Laboratory. The core research of NANOMO is on studying the electronic structure and dynamics of atoms, molecules and clusters (small nanometer sized aggregates of matter). The group has done pioneering research especially in the rapidly developing field of synchrotron radiation physics.