Release Date: November 10, 2015
DOE-Funded Research Yields U.S. Patent for Use of CO2 in Concrete Curing
New Process Cuts Costs, Improves Carbon Footprint of Concrete Curing
Smirky Cat photo by Lynda Battista. All rights reserved.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to Solidia Technologies Inc. (Piscataway, NJ) for a process that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) rather than water to cure pre-cast concrete. The process significantly decreases the time required for concrete to cure and greatly improves its performance characteristics. Development of the process was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
The new concrete process uses the same raw materials and equipment as traditional concrete, but curing time is reduced to less than 24 hours, versus weeks for water-based concrete curing, resulting in considerable costs savings. Solidia estimates the process will reduce the carbon footprint of concrete curing by about 30 percent compared to traditional methods. Combining the newly patented curing process with Solidia’s patented CO2-enriched cement process will reduce the CO2 emissions associated with concrete product fabrication by 60 percent while slashing water use by 90 percent, according to Solidia’s analysis. When applied industry wide, the two technologies could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by 1,920 million metric tons per year—the equivalent of removing more than 400 million passenger vehicles from our roads.
“The cement and concrete industry is a significant source of CO2, accounting for an estimated five percent of global emissions,” said NETL Project Manager Mary Rice. “Large-scale application of this technology could have a significant impact on reducing the global greenhouse gas emissions associated with concrete production.”
Solidia has applied their processes to the full-scale production of railroad ties, concrete blocks, and hollow core slabs. The resulting products have been shown to exceed standards for building-material performance. Solidia is now collaborating with a number of partners to commercialize large- and small-scale products and is working to demonstrate the feasibility of retrofitting existing facilities at comparable production costs.
NETL is developing novel approaches for reducing CO2 emissions through CO2 use and reuse to augment geologic carbon storage. Capturing CO2 and converting the greenhouse gas to useful products, such as fuels, chemicals, or plastics, can generate substantial benefits. Revenue generated from these products could offset a portion of the CO2 capture cost.
NETL research into CO2 use and reuse is focused on adapting and applying existing technologies that can be utilized in the next 5 years, while concurrently developing innovative and advanced technologies that will be deployed in the decade beyond. For more information, please visit NETL’s Carbon Use and Reuse webpage.