Researchers at Washington State University have created a new carbon-negative concrete product, hoping to help reduce the environmental impact of the building and construction industries by offering greener, climate-friendly supply materials.
The research team at WSU has managed to create a new, revolutionary type of carbon-negative concrete that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its creation, carving a promising path to accelerate decarbonization efforts in this emissions-intensive industry.
Concrete manufacturing is one of the most energy-consuming and CO2-intensive sectors of construction, contributing to about 8% of global human-generated emissions.
The concrete creation process commonly includes fuel combustion and high-temperature treatments, while production components such as limestone continue to produce harmful emissions as they decompose.
The group of researchers took on the challenge of finding a low-carbon solution to this problem.
Despite the fact that even small doses of biochar have proven to falter endurance when mixed together with concrete, the team decided to combine the two ingredients in an innovative formula consisting of 30% environmentally friendly biochar, regular cement, and a key novel element: concrete wastewater.
The researchers explain that adding wastewater to this blend is what turned the product into a success, as over a period of 28 days, the resulting paste reached the same compressive strength as about 4,000 pounds of regular cement per square inch.
The finished carbon-negative product will collect CO2 emissions and lock them away for about 30 years when used for pavements and for approximately 75 years when used in bridge construction.
The enthusiastic team of researchers is now working on patenting their invention before putting it up for commercial use on the market. They are also seeking partners from the construction industry for on-site demonstrations and licensing of this groundbreaking product.