Making cement from carbon emissions

Taking inspiration from coral reefs that create their solid exterior from seawater, marine biologist Brent Constantz and his company Calera have developed a process to create cement by using the carbon that would otherwise have been released in the air to create pollution.

The company has built a demo factory where it sequesters all the carbon from a power plant and sprays seawater on it. This results in the calcium contained in the water to react with carbon and form solid mineral carbonates and bicarbonates that can be used in several construction applications. Unlike the conventional method of making cement that releases tons of carbon dioxide in the air, Brent’s process uses the same carbon to make cement, thereby reducing the emissions in the atmosphere.

The company’s plant in California is already capable of making over 1000 tons of cement daily and it plans to commercialize its technology in the coming years and open similar cement manufacturing plants elsewhere.

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