Engineers use captured carbon to create new form of concrete

Co2ncrete-UCLA-greenhouse-emissions-climate-change-concrete-building-industry-construction-Condo.ca

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the UCLA Luskin Centre for Innovation has developed a process for turning a harmful by-product of the cement industry into a harmless raw material of the end product itself, concrete. They can capture carbon dioxide, which is emitted in large quantities during the manufacture of Portland Cement, and use it to make concrete. Because the production of concrete accounts for approximately 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions, the ability to use that carbon in making concrete would be “a double whammy,” according to the UCLA team, who call their invention Co2ncrete.

Proof of concept was shown by combining pure CO2 with lime to create “a cement-like material,” then using 3D printing technology to create small samples of the Co2ncrete in the lab. Wider application of the process would be in the power generation industry, however, particularly in coal-fired power plants, whose smokestacks are the greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The UCLA team envision a closed-loop process in which the CO2 is captured from the smokestacks and used to make concrete. The challenge, according to Gaurav Sant, a member of the UCLA team, is not in developing a building material but developing “a process solution, an integrated technology which goes right from CO2 to a finished product.”

What is really different about the UCLA approach is that they go beyond mere carbon capture technology, which has been around for several years. Previously, no one had found a way to use the captured carbon, instead merely storing it in one way or another, to keep it out of the atmosphere. As a result of “blue sky” thinking, the researchers at UCLA believe they can take the toxic material and make it not only functional but even instrumental in tackling climate change. CO2 can then be seen as a resource that to be utilized rather than simply as a nuisance to be disposed of.

Industrial smokestacks become sources of a valuable resource that can be used in clean building, say the UCLA team. “We’re going to try to use it to create a new kind of building material that will replace cement,” said Professor J.R. SeShazo at UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation. “This technology tackles global climate change, which is one of the biggest challenges that society faces now and will face over the next century.”

Scaling up the process from the lab to industrial application is the utmost challenge for now. Another challenge will be convincing the building industry that the technology is economically sound as well as being good for the planet.

Carbon Upcycling: Turning Carbon Dioxide into CO2NCRETE from UCLA Luskin on Vimeo.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Nanotechnology key to energy storage, solar energy industries
  • LNG activity heating up in BC as Petronas seeks export licence
  • Ontario's manufacturing output "robust" in May: RBC
  • Ontario's FIT program ruled illegal by World Trade Organization
  • Demand for 100K engineers over next ten years in Canada
  • Airbus Tests Self-Flying Taxi
  • Five Seasons Ventures Invests in European Food and AgriTech
  • Oil & Gas Report: Iran sanctions not priced into Brent "room for a runup in prices towards the end of the year"
  • Did Amazon Just Perform the Largest Launch Vehicle Acquisition in History?
  • Car sales set records in November
  • Building permits shot up in May
  • Aerospace is to Quebec what auto industry is to Ontario, and must be supported: Couillard
  • Toronto researchers reveal spray-on photovoltaics
  • Company opens new landing gear plant for "most important contract" ever
  • Wind farm opponents' complaint lacked proof: judge
  • Entire airframe of this V-shaped flying wing houses passengers and cargo resulting in 20 percent fuel savings
  • Canada's energy sector "at a crossroads," risks falling behind
  • Next-Generation moon rovers: General Motors and Lockheed develop autonomous electric moon rover vehicles for future commercial space missions
  • Thunder Child, the unsinkable boat? Self-righting, wavepiercing interceptor engineered to be the perfect boat for offshore patrol
  • GPS III set to launch December 18: U.S. Air Force to launch via Space X Falcon 9 paylod; will be harder to jam, more secure and accurate
Scroll to Top