Researchers believe that they have found a way to store one of the biggest greenhouse gases in a building material. Around 5% of the world’s greenhouse emissions are due to concrete, but the US has developed an eco-friendly alternative, CO2ncrete.
Producing the new material involves combining lime with carbon dioxide gases that have been given off by power plants. 3D printers are then used to complete the process and print the building material.
A professor of Public Policy at UCLA, Professor J R DeShazo, has spoken about the project:
“This technology has taken something that has always been considered a nuisance, and turned it into something that is of value to us.”
DeShazo has provided economic guidance and public policy for the research:
“The reason why I decided to be involved in this project is because, realistically, it may well be a game-changer for climate policy. It has tackled one of the biggest challenges that society is now facing, climate change.”
The science behind the project has been led by Professor Gaurav Sant, a Fellow in Civil and Environmental Engineering, along with his colleagues from a range of other science and engineering departments.
Professor Sant has explained:
“While processes such as concrete and coal production result in carbon dioxide, we now have the opportunity to not just store the CO2, but actually utilise it for a new kind of building material, CO2ncrete.”
At the moment, the new material has only been produced at a lab scale; the 3D printers have been used to shape it into small cones. The next steps to take are multiplying the product to make it ten times bigger and then putting it to the test.
Professor DeShazo has discussed this:
“We have proof that this concept is possible. We now need to begin increasing the amount of material and then how to utilise it commercially. Proving that this kind of technology works in the lab is one thing, but seeing how it works in real-world conditions is another.
“This project isn’t just about trying to develop a new building material, we are trying to develop a solution, a way to harness unwanted carbon dioxide.”
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