Recent research on world economic growth predicts that the planet’s built area will double in the next 40 years and concrete production will have to rise by 25% by 2030 (Miller, 2018). Quarrying the enormous amounts of the raw materials needed for concrete entails the destruction of natural environments, the loss of biodiversity, water, air and noise pollution.
Producing PC, a key component of modern concrete, requires the production of clinker which is formed when limestone and clay are burnt at c. 1450 °C (Miller, 2018). This not only requires considerable infrastructure, it also consume vast amounts of raw materials with over 3 tonnes of material being required to produce a tonne of PC (BGS, 2005) and energy (Madlool et al., 2011) and generates high levels of GWP CO2 emissions, accounting for c. 8% of the worldwide total (Monteiro et al., 2017). Given these facts, the construction industry must commit to adopting measures to tackle climate change and guaranteeing concrete and cement manufacture sustainability for future generations (Rahla et al., 2019).
The concrete and cement industry have for many years been seeking alternative raw materials sourced from industrial by-products, both as fuel for cement kilns, aggregates for concrete manufacture and partial PC substitutes or SCMs, such as GGBS and FA (Cantero et al., 2019). In recent years have also witnessed a quest for new SCMs derived from industrial biomass waste (Lv et al., 2019; Medina et al., 2019; Nakanishi et al., 2014), ornamental quarry sludge (Mármol et al., 2010; Medina et al., 2017; Sáez del Bosque et al., 2018), burnt clay (Scrivener et al., 2018) and similar.