Startup company Solidia Technologies and the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have partnered to accelerate the development of cement that can reduce the carbon footprint of concrete by up to 70 percent.
The ongoing research project is funded with $1.1 million from the NETL through its Carbon Storage Technology program and $1 million from Solidia Technologies as cost share.
The research focus includes mechanical strength, water use and curing time of Solidia Cement-based concrete, which reacts with CO2 instead of water. NETL supports Solidia Cement technology because of its potential to consume CO2 as it cures, based on NETL’s mission to support the development of technologies that reduce or avoid man-made greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere.
The most recent focus of the research includes improving the understanding of water distribution in concrete during the drying and curing process and how that water distribution can be controlled to allow concrete curing in the shortest period of time. The research demonstrated that Solidia Concrete can achieve full hardness in less time than traditional concrete made from ordinary Portland cement (OPC).
In every application studied, Solidia Concrete cures in less than 24 hours as compared to the curing time of 28 days required for OPC-based concrete to achieve full hardness. In addition, at every stage of curing, Solidia Concrete parts match or exceed the strength of comparable products made with OPC-based concrete.
The research findings demonstrate that, when the reduced CO2 emissions associated with Solidia Cement production are combined with the CO2 reacted into Solidia Concrete, the CO2 footprint of precast concrete products can be reduced by up to 70 percent.
In the project’s next stage, research will focus on demonstrating this CO2 reduction and storage capability on a prototype scale in a commercial concrete plant.
Researchers at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne are testing a low-carbon cement that could reduce the carbon footprint of construction sites by 40 percent, Forbes reports.