Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Pilot project uses volcanic ash to make cement » Yale Climate Connections

In 2021, La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent erupted.

Heavy volcanic ash blanketed much of the island, covering streets, yards, and farm fields. And it caused structural damage to thousands of homes.

Now people are using some of that volcanic ash to help rebuild.

“We looked at, well, how can we use this waste material to reduce some of the reconstruction cost?” says Andy Stofleth, executive director for the Caribbean region at SBP, a disaster recovery nonprofit.

His group is partnering with the government of Saint Vincent on a pilot project to manufacture concrete blocks made partly from volcanic ash.

Typical concrete is made using cement in a process that generates a lot of carbon pollution.

The concrete that Stofleth’s group developed requires 15% less cement. And it’s cheaper because it uses locally abundant waste material instead.

“By building something small-scale and local, using a resource that’s readily available … we’re reducing transportation costs, we’re reducing emissions,” Stofleth says.

So he says it could be an affordable and sustainable approach to rebuilding communities damaged by volcanic eruptions.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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