While carbon capture technology is capable of doing what its name implies, it hasn’t proven itself feasible because there’s not a large enough market for captured CO2 to justify the huge cost.
Some companies within the industry have experimented with turning the CO2 into jet fuel. Others are (ironically) selling it to oil and gas companies, which can pump the CO2 back into wells to help loosen and extract more fossil fuels. Isn’t there something better? Isn’t there something better we can do with captured carbon?
The answer is yes, according to Canadian startup CarbonCure Technologies. In order to clean up the polluting concrete industry, which is responsible for 8 percent of all carbon emissions, the startup is changing the chemical makeup of concrete using captured carbon.
As described by FreeThink, their innovation is to use liquid CO2 to help make concrete. The liquid CO2 reacts with the calcium in cement, which produces calcium carbonate — a material that also binds together the ingredients, just like cement. The calcium carbonate basically acts as a substitute for more cement, thereby decreasing the carbon emissions. In addition, calcium carbonate also strengthens the concrete.
CarbonCure’s process is simple for existing concrete producers to use and can greatly reduce the amount of cement needed to produce concrete. Because of this, CarbonCure has managed to create a market for itself, with its technology installed at 225 concrete plants in the US. While that’s still not enough to make a dent in the fight against climate change, the good thing is they’re just getting started.