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Working with waste: part 3

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World Cement,

World Cement profiles three semi-finalists in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE that offer solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete. In this last article of the series, Chris Stern, Carbicrete, introduces a technology that captured a byproduct of the steelmaking process and recycles it into usable concrete.


A Montreal-based startup, Carbicrete, is helping is helping to deflect CO2 emissions by developing a technology that can cheaply capture a byproduct from steel manufacturing and recycle it into usable concrete, making a sturdy, carbon-neutral product.

“Concrete blocks, commonly used in basement and foundation walls, are a staple of the construction industry. Unfortunately, producing cement, which is a key ingredient of these blocks, generates high levels of carbon-dioxide emissions,” said Carbicrete co-founder Mehrdad Mahoutian, an engineer trained at Montreal’s McGill University.

With Carbicrete’s technology, the company is making concrete blocks in a way that soaks up CO2, instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

The Carbicrete technology involves a new approach that uses an industrial waste – the slag from steel factories – to replace cement as a binding ingredient in concrete blocks.

Carbicrete’s patented technology, which can be implemented in any concrete products plant with virtually no process flow disruption, makes it possible to produce concrete products without using cement.

Products made using the Carbicrete technology are less expensive, more durable, and more environmentally friendly than their cement-based counterparts – all while ridding the environment of harmful emissions.

Using a process called carbonation activation, CO2 is injected into the wet concrete to give it its strength. As a result, any product made using Carbicrete technology permanently sequesters CO2, while turning industrial waste into a high-quality construction product. Carbicrete-produced products therefore meet all of the specifications as cement-based concrete products, while boasting lower material costs and increased durability.

“Concrete made with our technology contains no cement,” said Chris Stern, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “In addition to providing significant environmental benefits compared with conventional cement-based blocks, our blocks are less expensive to produce and have better (up to 30%) compressive strength. And with carbon pricing expected to ramp up across North America in coming years, the economic advantage of our technology, which yields carbon-negative blocks, will increase.”

As a technology company that develops innovative, low-cost building solutions that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Carbicrete’s patented technology allows manufacturers to produce cement-free, carbon-negative concrete. The end result? A world built using cost-effective, carbon-negative construction materials.

Read the first and second parts of this series here and here.

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Construction news Concrete news