Utilization of CO2 in High Performance Building and Infrastructure Products Email Page
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Performer: 
Solidia Technologies Inc.

Website: 
Award Number:  FE0004222
Project Duration:  10/01/2010 – 09/30/2015
Total Award Value:  $3,698,752.00
DOE Share:  $1,865,663.00
Performer Share:  $1,833,089.00
Technology Area:  Carbon Storage
Key Technology: 
Location: 

Project Description

Solidia Technologies, Inc. (Solidia) is working to create an energy-efficient, CO2-consuming inorganic binder (based on a patented Wollastonite-like material know as Solidia CementTM (SC) that will act as a suitable substitute for Portland Cement (PC) in concrete. The process developed by Solidia enriches CO2 in a concrete admixture and utilizes a binding phase based on carbonation chemistry (Figure 1). Preliminary analysis suggests that producing SC in existing PC kilns could reduce kiln CO2 emissions by as much as 30 percent. Since SC can be produced at a lower kiln temperature, energy consumption could also be reduced, possibly by as much as 30 percent. Carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced further from curing Solidia cement with captured CO2 from the kiln. In sum, SC has the potential to reduce the CO2 intensity of PC production (tons of CO2 per ton PC) by as much as 90 percent.

The project involves investigating the relationship of the carbonation reaction rate and yield on temperature, pressure, and particle size. The particle size developed as part of the cement process is controlled by the carbonation rate and a newly developed milling method. Various types and compositions of minerals and aggregates are being evaluated across these parameters.

Project Benefits

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Storage Program encompasses five Technology Areas: (1) Geologic Storage and Simulation and Risk Assessment (GSRA), (2) Monitoring, Verification, Accounting and Assessment (MVAA), (3) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Use and Re-Use, (4) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP), and (5) Focus Areas for Sequestration Science. The first three Technology Areas comprise the Core Research and Development (R&D), which includes studies ranging from applied laboratory to pilot-scale research focused on developing new technologies and systems for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation through carbon storage. This project is part of the Core R&D CO2 Use and Re-use Technology Area and focuses on developing pathways and novel approaches for reducing CO2 emissions in areas where geologic storage may not be an optimal solution. Carbon dioxide use and re-use applications could generate significant benefits through the capture or conversion of CO2 to useful products such as fuels, chemicals, or plastics. Revenue generated from these applications could offset a portion of the CO2 capture cost. The program’s R&D strategy includes adapting and applying existing technologies that can be utilized in the next five years, while concurrently developing innovative and advanced technologies that will be deployed in the decade beyond.

The area of CO2 use and re-use for carbon storage is relatively new and less well-known compared to other storage approaches, such as geologic storage. Many challenges exist for achieving successful CO2 use and re-use, including the development of technologies capable of economically fixing CO2 in stable products for indirect storage. Many challenges exist for achieving successful CO2 use and re-use, including the development of technologies capable of economically fixing CO2 in stable products for indirect storage. More exploratory technological investigations are needed to discover new applications and reactions. Each CO2 use and re-use technology approach has a specific application, advantages over others, and challenges that are the focus of existing and future research. Technologies being developed will work towards meeting carbon storage programmatic goals; and these technologies may provide coal-based electric power generating facilities and other industrial CO2 emitters additional tools to manage CO2 emissions. This project is researching the use of CO2 to create a high-strength Portland cement substitute for use in high-performance building materials.

The research project is working to develop a commercially viable process to react CO2 with a mineral to make a solid matrix capable of meeting specifications of a construction material. The technology has the potential to substantially reduce CO2 emissions associated with the concrete production life cycle and provide a useful pre-cast PC application for CO2. Additionally, this technology contributes to the Carbon Storage Program’s effort of developing cost effective methods for CO2 use and re-use.

Goals/Objectives

The goal of the project is to develop an alternative to PC that requires less energy to create, generates minimal CO2, and has high-strength mechanical properties. This project is an interdisciplinary laboratory/engineering process study with three main focus areas:

  • Increasing carbonate yield: The addition of CO2 to the cement processing sequence results in a significant reduction of CO2 emissions relative to the Portland cement processing sequence.
  • Improving the mechanical strength of cement: The microstructure and chemistry resulting from Solidia’s Low Temperature Solidification (LTS) process creates a much stronger material than what is created with traditional Portland cement processing.
  • Curing in commercial-scale product forms: Research focused on evaluating water distribution and drying in a number of product forms, such as railroad ties, hollow core slabs, and aerated concrete, to optimize reaction conditions.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
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Technology Manager 
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Principal Investigator 
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