Carbon sequestration has been a hot topic lately, with various methods being proposed to help cut down on the amount of greenhouse gases spewed into our skies. Many past solutions have focused on capturing CO2 and simply storing it away – an out-of-sight, out-of-mind answer to a much more difficult question. Now California-based Calera has found an constructive use for waste carbon – transform it into usable concrete!
photo by Jason Sahler
Instead of storing CO2 deep beneath the sea, Calera plans to utilize ocean water, rich in minerals calcium and magnesium, to help condition waste heat, rich with CO2, to create cement. Calera’s industrial process loosely mimics the natural process of coral as they take the magnesium and calcium from the seawater to create a carbonate. This cement than would be used in the production of concrete among other things. The seawater will be stripped of magnesium and calcium but is said to be safe to add back to the ocean. With this process, Calera says that it can capture close to 90% of the CO2 emissions emitted by power plants and other industrial giants. The founder of Calera, Brent Constantz, says “For every ton of cement we make, we are sequestering half a ton of CO2”.
While it is imperative that we transition away from these CO2 spewing industries, Calera’s process provides a short-term solution to mitigating the vast amounts of waste that they spew. Further testing still need to be conducted upon the cement, but if Calera can really hit some of the targets that they are touting, we really could have a future-forward solution to a very difficult problem.
Lead Image Credit: pjames77