One of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the world comes from the production of concrete: cement accounts for 8% of all annual man-made carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. This has been a problem that has dogged the construction industry as the world has shifted to try to clean up its carbon footprint, but construction materials (including concrete, steel, and aluminum) all have a tremendous impact on the environment.
But new technologies are cropping up all over the place to try to lessen that carbon footprint, one of which is coming from UCLA's Institute for Carbon Management, in a project led by professor Gaurav Sant. This new technology uses similar concrete-making processes to traditional concrete, such as the use of cementing agent, sand, water, stone, and chemical additives. The difference lies in the fact that instead of using calcium hydroxide in the cementing process, they use calcium hydroxide, which absorbs carbon dioxide from waste gas and forms limestone.
"We achieve such cementation in a matter of hours while being able to use a wide range of flue gases, and without the need for a carbon capture step," Sant said in a press release. "For these reasons, CO2Concrete offers a functional replacement to traditional concrete which offers similar performance at a similar price."
The new technolgy won $2 million in funding this summer, and is one of five finalists in the running for a $7.5 million prize in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which is looking for technology to turn carbon dioxide into valuable products.