Concrete contributes fully 5% of annual carbon dioxide emissions globally when one of its primary constituents, cement, is produced. It's a problem that won't go away any time soon: cement and concrete are affordable, strong and practical building materials. The good news is that they represent a great opportunity for reducing CO2 emissions through innovation.
Sequestering Carbon Dioxide and Making Better Concrete
CarbonCure Technologies, one of 14 Canadian companies that I have coached on their pitches for June 15 at the TechConnect World Expo, has developed just such an innovation: they're making better concrete blocks by infusing the blocks during manufacture with CO2.
What do they mean by "better"?
- Better use of feedstock: ~10% less cement
- Better use of energy: ~30% less energy to process
- Better productivity: ~20% fewer defects
And at the same time:
- Better quality product: ~15% stronger than standard blocks
"But wait, there's more!" Not only is it a better process that produces a better block, it's a process that sequesters carbon dioxide resulting in a net 17% reduction in the production of CO2. And the precast concrete producer that adopts the technology will get to breakeven in just one year.
It certainly doesn't hurt that they have been able to attract high profile partners. CarbonCure is doing a pilot project this year with the Shaw Group, a company that has been producing concrete for over 150 years. Furthermore, Air Liquide provides their CO2 delivery system. This 100-year old gas products company is well-respected for its focus on sustainability and efficiency.
To me, the most surprising aspect of this company is that it arose from parent company CarbonSense Solutions. Not that there's anything particularly unusual about a spin out, but CarbonSense is a "specialized carbon management firm... offer[ing] a range of technical and advisory services... measuring and managing your carbon inventory..." - not the kind of company that I would have necessarily expected to be starting a high tech subsidiary. Clearly, they've paid close attention to their customers' problems and addressed them using their own areas of expertise to foster the development of an exciting new technology. This is a cleantech technology with a real market pull.
If you'd like to learn more, I encourage you to attend their pitch by registering for TechConnect World Expo and attending the Consulate General of Canada Boston's all day Canada Innovates clean energy conference, including pitches by 14 Canadian companies with a broad range of technologies.
Conover + Company Communications is presenting this information to you on behalf of the Government of Canada. Additional information is on file with the Department of Justice, Washington, District of Columbia.