The carbon dioxide produced during concrete manufacturing has long been a concern of environmentalists, with some estimates suggesting the industry contributes 5% of global CO2 emissions. But moves have been underway for some time to reduce that footprint—perhaps most promisingly, by using concrete as an actual sink for carbon dioxide emitted from power station smokestacks.
That's the idea behind CarbonCure, a technology which injects CO2 captured from nearby smokestacks into concrete products during the mixing phase. Once introduced into the concrete mix, the carbon dioxide chemically converts into a solid calcium carbonate mineral, preventing it from ever escaping back into the atmosphere.
Lloyd reported on the use of CarbonCure in making masonry blocks back in 2014, noting that it resulted in something like a 20% reduction in overall carbon footprint—plus stronger concrete and less cement needed to make the blocks too. Now it seems the technology has been scaled to both masonry blocks and ready mix poured concrete and two companies in North Carolina—Johnson Concrete (masonry) and Concrete Supply Company (ready mix)—are now offering CarbonCure to their customers.Who knew, a good news business story coming out of NC?!
Of course, as Lloyd noted before, carbon capture technology like this would be a whole lot more commonplace if there was a price placed on carbon emissions, so polluters were incentivized to clean up their messes. But this is a solid (sorry!) step in the right direction.