Concrete can now be a climate solution thanks to these carbon-eating blocks

This is number 6 on IE's list of 22 best innovations - concrete blocks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Sade Agard
Number 6: Concrete blocks that are carbon-capturing
Number 6: Concrete blocks that are carbon-capturing

Carbicrete 

Concrete is the most consumed human-made material on Earth. Still, its key ingredient is cement, the production of which accounts for 8 percent of the world's GHG emissions.

One Montreal-based technology company, CarbiCrete, is changing that by making concrete a climate solution. The patented carbon removal technology enables the production of cement-free, carbon-negative concrete made with industrial by-products and captured carbon dioxide (CO2). 

Making concrete a climate solution

Concrete can now be a climate solution thanks to these carbon-eating blocks
A new method that can be implemented by existing plants

"For every ton of concrete produced using the CarbiCrete process, 150 kilograms (kg) of CO2 are abated/removed," said the Chief Marketing Officer of CarbiCrete, Yuri Mytko, to IE. In this way, the concrete blocks, or CMUs (concrete masonry units), have been designed with sustainability in mind. 

The technology makes it possible to produce various precast building materials that are stronger, less expensive, and more sustainable than cement-based alternatives.

The company offers concrete manufacturers the process and support to implement this replacement technology in their existing plants. Mytko explained to IE that the process is identical to cement-based concrete-making with two key differences.

One is that ground steel slag, a by-product of steel-making, replaces cement in the mix, which acts as the binder. Additionally, the concrete is cured with CO2 instead of heat and steam in a specialized, sealed absorption chamber, where the curing can occur. 

During this carbonation process, the CO2 is permanently captured and converted into stable calcium carbonates, filling the voids of the matrix to form a dense structure and giving the concrete its strength.

Since Carbicrete's process can be integrated into any existing concrete production plant, the company intends to license its carbon-negative concrete technology to manufacturers worldwide.

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"World's first commercially available..."

In fact, Carbicrete will increase manufacturing to 25,000 units per day thanks to a partnership with Quebec-based concrete manufacturer Patio Drummond. 

The industrial-scale pilot project will be housed in Drummond's precast facility in Drummondville, Quebec.

"Production is set to begin in the coming weeks and will yield the world's first commercially-available carbon-negative concrete blocks," Mytko told IE.

The chief marketing officer claims that since steel slag, which is typically regarded as waste, is used in place of cement in their procedure, the blocks are also less expensive. 

This is number 6 in Interesting Engineering's series, showcasing the best innovations of 2022. Check back to discover more about groundbreaking AI, unique solar panels, new 3D printing methods, and much more.