Humans burn 10 gigatons of carbon every year, actively creating 37 gigatons of carbon dioxide. The carbon we omit into the atmosphere accumulates there until we do something about it. All of this carbon begins to warm the planet, becoming the prime contributor to climate change. This has compelled scientists to explore carbon capture technologies to rid the atmosphere of carbon. Here is a solution that is being newly integrated into the cement industry and will also allow humans to live sustainably in a healthy environment.
Carbon to Cement:
Cement is a durable solution that is used widely in construction because it acts as a glue to hold the concrete together. Carbon Upcycling Technologies, or CUT, have found a way to turn carbon into cement that is equally as strong as the cement used today. Carbon capture involves capturing the carbon emissions before they are released into the atmosphere or the CO2 that is already there. This technology can possibly capture up to 90 percent of CO2 emissions and could be the key to ending climate change. Carbon upcycling companies work to capture carbon emissions by converting carbon into solid products, in this case cement. They work to recycle CO2 and transfer it into cement, which has the ability to store it forever and be put to use instead of lingering in the air. This technology also has applications to everyday products. From yoga mats to car parts, we can begin to build our world with carbon.
Will it assist in lowering our Co2 emissions?
This process allows for less cement needed to combine concrete. If concrete producing companies are able to use less cement, we could considerably lower the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere that is created by their industry. This carbon capture technology can also be used to extract the carbon emissions already in the atmosphere, thus reducing our net CO2 emissions. The carbon made cement created is also equally as strong as regular cement for our infrastructure, as shown in tests done by select concrete companies. Carbon Upcycling Technologies, or CUT continues to work with concrete businesses such as BurnCo and are working towards a goal of reducing net CO2 emissions by 10 percent in the future.
What is happening chemically? (For my fellow science geeks)
Starting with a fine industrial waste powder called fly ash, a reactor is used to chemically activate it to capture CO2. While spinning the fly ash, CO2 is injected all while ball bearings speed up the reaction with the use of a catalyst. The motion allows for the CO2 to penetrate the fly ash creating tunnels for maximized absorption. Once bonded, a nanoparticle is created which is used as cement to create concrete.
As a community, the next step is to implement more clean energy in our daily lives. Continuing to burn fossil fuels without the balance of clean energy and carbon capture will lead to an inequivalence in sustainability. Recycling CO2 emissions could shape our world for the better, from the products we use to the air we breathe. If you wish to learn more, subscribe to our monthly newsletter here at Green Schools Green Future!
Blog Image Credit: Chris LeBoutillier
Written by Maaya Chander