Trapping Carbon In Concrete

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A sample of Calera concrete (©Jim WIlson/NYT)

The New York Times reports on a company called Calera, which says it can capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas power plants and inject it into concrete. The company is pretty secretive about the process, but says that it combines carbon dioxide with seawater or groundwater brine, leaving calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, which are used in making cement. Many are skeptical that they can do this on a large scale, though, and others wonder about new environmental problems, like the creation of harmful acids. But if their claim is legit it could be a major boon to environmentalists and to the construction industry. This could be construction’s version of the Bloom box, which is essentially a little power plant in a box. What other inventions will transform our industry? Any ideas? Please chime in..

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2 Responses to “Trapping Carbon In Concrete”

  1. Andrew Hawkes says:

    I was just in Haiti ( and one idea that came up was a new way to build homes. Apparently there is an organization that builds pre fab’d walls that are similar to the walls of a fridge. The are moving a plant to Haiti and apparently you can build one of these homes with unskilled workers in 1 day for only 7000. Have you heard anything on this? The NGO I work for is about community development and this would be huge!

  2. Art Kennedy says:

    They do not “inject” it into concrete. The carbon is converted into concrete – big difference. Fly ash is also captured and converted into aggregate (gravel) for construction use. A byproduct is desalinated water. The whole process is carbon negative when the replacement of other methods of concrete production is considered. Big stuff!

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