CarbonBuilt & U.S. DOE’s National Carbon Capture Center Produce Low-Carbon Concrete
Test showcases concrete as a cost-effective and scalable carbon utilization solution
New technology could reduce concrete’s CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent
LOS ANGELES (JUNE 29, 2021) CarbonBuilt and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) National Carbon Capture Center announced the completion of a multi-week test of carbon utilization and concrete production technology at the center’s facility in Wilsonville, Alabama. The test successfully injected carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flue gas streams of natural gas- and coal-fired generating units directly into more than 5,000 concrete blocks where the carbon is now stored for good.
Based on technology that was developed at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and that won the 2021 NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, CarbonBuilt’s ReversaTM process includes innovations to both the concrete mix design and the curing process. The Reversa formulation significantly reduces consumption of cement while enabling the increased and more flexible use of waste materials like fly ash or slag. During the curing process, dilute CO2 from flue gas streams is directly injected into and permanently sequestered within the concrete, with no requirement for carbon capture or purification.
Teams from CarbonBuilt, the National Carbon Capture Center – which is managed and operated by Southern Company and sponsored by DOE’s NETL – UCLA and Blair Block worked to test CarbonBuilt’s Reversa technology under a range of conditions. Post-production analysis of the blocks verified both the CO2 uptake (i.e., utilization) from the flue gas streams and performance (e.g., strength testing) relative to industry standards. The testing was successful across all metrics.
“Our approach offers utilities and other industrial plants a pathway for beneficial reuse of CO2 emissions. At the same time, we offer concrete producers a way to increase operating margins significantly while reducing overall carbon emissions from production by more than 50 percent,” said Rahul Shendure, CEO of CarbonBuilt. “This winning combination could unlock gigaton-level emissions reductions in the coming years.”
“Helping advance technologies toward commercialization is the core of our mission,” said John Northington, National Carbon Capture Center director and director of net-zero technologies for Southern Company. “It is exciting to work with CarbonBuilt and UCLA to test and evaluate their concrete production technology. Utilizing carbon dioxide to produce essential products like concrete will be an important solution as the world moves to reduce overall carbon emissions.”
“DOE’s Carbon Utilization Program, which is implemented by NETL, supported development of the X-Prize winning technology through cooperative agreements,” said Joe Stoffa, NETL Carbon Utilization Technology Manager. “More broadly, DOE’s Carbon Utilization Program supports the development of technologies to transform CO2 into valuable products in an efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly manner.”
CarbonBuilt’s ReversaTM process, winner of the 2021 NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, uses CO2 taken directly from industrial sources to cure a proprietary low-carbon concrete formulation. This reduces overall CO2 emissions by more than 50% while delivering products that meet industry specifications and are more profitable than traditional concrete. CarbonBuilt was spun out of UCLA’s Institute for Carbon Management in 2020. More information is available at www.carbonbuilt.com.
About the National Carbon Capture Center
Created by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009, the National Carbon Capture Center is a neutral research facility working to accelerate the commercialization of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from both fossil-based power plants, and to promote carbon utilization and direct air capture innovations. Located in Wilsonville, Alabama, the center evaluates carbon capture processes from third-party developers – focusing on development of the most promising, cost-effective solutions for scale-up and commercial deployment – and uniquely bridges the gap between laboratory research and large-scale demonstrations.
NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that produces technological solutions for America’s energy challenges. By developing creative innovations and advanced energy systems that use our natural resources more efficiently and responsibly, NETL research is providing breakthroughs and discoveries that support clean energy, safeguard the environment, and improve the health, safety, and security of all Americans. Highly skilled innovators at NETL’s sites in Albany, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; Houston, Texas; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania conduct a broad range of research activities that support DOE’s mission to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy and environmental challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. NETL is committed to fostering an environment of inclusivity where diversity strengthens the organization and gender and social equality guides our mission.