Local governments in the US Southwest are committing $150,000 to support what they say is a groundbreaking effort to “turn air into concrete on a massive scale.” The money will help cover the costs of the “reference project,” a collaboration between two climate technology startups and a masonry company in Flagstaff, Arizona.
The firms expect construction to begin later this year, when the two startups install their technology inside Block-Lite‘s existing facility. It goes like this: aerial shot will suck carbon from the air, and Carbon Built will retrofit Block-Lite’s curing chamber so the company can use the CO2 to cure a low-carbon recipe for concrete. CarbonBuilt’s recipe uses less cement and integrates industrial waste that “otherwise would be diverted to landfills,” such as fly ashsaid the start-up.
“Essentially, we are working with Aircapture to extract CO2 gas from our atmosphere and then turn it into a rock for permanent storage,” CarbonBuilt said in a statement.
The $150,000 prize comes from the 4 Corners Carbon Coalition, which takes its name from the southwestern region of the US. The group has four congregations as members: Salt Lake City, Utah; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Kei, Colorado; and Flagstaff, Arizona. In a statement to australiabusinessblog.com, Rahul Shendure, CEO of CarbonBuilt, called the funds “a great first step” but said the companies involved would also put money and time into the project.
Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of concrete are a critical part of decarbonisation. Concrete producers are generally responsible for about 7% of industrial carbon emissions International Energy Agencyan intergovernmental group, estimated in 2018.
In addition to installing solar panels on its facility, Block-Lite produces masonry products the traditional way, emitting a ton of carbon dioxide through the curing process. However, due to the price, Block-Lite told australiabusinessblog.com it will eventually begin selling “ultra-low-carbon blocks to customers in Flagstaff and surrounding areas.”