[Image above] Credit: CarbonCure
It is common knowledge within the scientific community that cement—the primary ingredient in concrete—leaves a huge carbon footprint in its wake whenever a new building, road, or bridge is constructed.
A recent Scientific American article illustrates the challenges and obstacles facing the industry regarding CO2 emissions, not only in the U.S. but internationally.
Many researchers have been studying ways to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint by exploring alternatives to cement.
For instance, one research group succeeded in using graphene to reduce the number of materials in concrete and ultimately its carbon emissions.
Other researchers have developed a binder made of fly ash that could eventually replace cement—the major culprit in CO2 emissions.
And in an approach that could serve a dual environmentally-friendly purpose, scientists have created a method to mix recycled tire fibers into concrete that not only keeps tires out of landfills but improves concrete’s durability and reduces its environmental impact.
One 11-year-old Canadian company has already commercialized a technology that captures CO2 waste to mix with concrete during production.
CarbonCure, founded by engineer Rob Niven, provides a method of incorporating CO2 waste from factories and plants into concrete production to make a “stronger and greener concrete,” according to a description on the company website. CarbonCure provides concrete companies with the technology to accomplish the production in their own plants.
“It actually fits in with existing plants and allows them to keep making concrete as though they always have,” Niven explains in the video.
CarbonCure sources its carbon dioxide from refineries and other factories that emit CO2 gas from their smokestacks. Concrete producers use CarbonCure’s proprietary delivery system to inject the carbon dioxide into their concrete mix, according to a company brochure. A chemical reaction turns the carbon dioxide into a solid mineral that strengthens the concrete.
And although CarbonCure is one of a few companies that have commercialized a solution for cement’s carbon footprint, a CNN article notes that only 90 companies in the U.S. and Canada—a small percentage of all concrete plants—are using CarbonCure’s system.
But it’s a good first step into making a “greener” concrete that ultimately would be better for the environment.
“Together we can make a concrete that heals the planet, and not harms it,” Niven adds at the end of the video.
Watch the video below to learn more about CarbonCure.
Did you find this article interesting? Subscribe to the Ceramic Tech Today newsletter to continue to read more articles about the latest news in the ceramic and glass industry! Visit this link to get started.