From Carbon to Concrete
Climate Changemakers is a series highlighting the extraordinary people on a $20 million quest to save the planet through carbon conversion. This guest post is written by Team CarbonCure, from Halifax, Nova Scotia. CarbonCure is one of 27 semi-finalist teams competing in the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.
Technology and Mission
CarbonCure’s mission is to create sensible CO2 solutions that unlock the potential for the concrete industry to contribute to a resilient and low-carbon society. The technology concept was inspired by natural systems that mineralize CO2 to form essential materials such as coral. Similar to coral, CarbonCure technology reacts CO2 under atmospheric conditions within calcium rich solutions to precipitate carbonate minerals. However, in the case of CarbonCure, CO2 is converted into nano-materials within concrete, which happens to also improve concrete’s strength. The technology was designed to be reliable, profitable, compatible, affordable and easy to use by customers, who have described the technology as a “no brainer”. CarbonCure’s growth has been accelerated by its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) business model, that allows for plants to adopt the technology without any initial capital costs. CarbonCure has been recognized by the Cleantech Group as one the Top 100 Global Cleantech Companies in 2015 and 2017. Not very many people are given the opportunity to create meaningful change on a global scale in their lifetime. Team CarbonCure is motivated by the fact that competing in the XPRIZE is a once in a lifetime chance to make positive global change for generations to come.
We can’t wait any longer to act on climate change - the clock is ticking. The Global CO2 Initiative has reported that CO2-utilization could reduce global emissions by 15% by 2030, and create a market worth $1 trillion by 2030. The report also calls out the concrete industry as holding the most potential. CarbonCure’s technology is the most advanced, commercialized technology in the world in this segment, and is expected to revolutionize the global concrete industry. The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE serves as a motivator to continue our mission to help create and serve new global industries to profitably convert megatonnes of CO2 into new high-value products. CarbonCure has only begun its journey; having discovered valuable insights into the science and engineering with early adopters, the focus now turns to creating complementary technologies and forming partnerships to rapidly scale into a billion dollar company. These partnerships include ambitious leaders across the value chain including carbon capture, industrial gas distribution, government, cement, and the more than 100,000 concrete producers worldwide.
Converting carbon dioxide emissions in concrete is expected to yield the greatest and nearest term economic and environmental benefits within the new $1 Trillion CO2 Utilization industry, according to the Global CO2 Initiative. In 2005 CarbonCure Technologies CEO and Founder, Robert Niven, recognized the enormous opportunity of his research while attending the UN Climate Change conference and has since led a small and talented group in the pioneering development of breakthrough science and technology to realize its full commercial, humanitarian and environmental potential. CarbonCure’s CO2 Utilization technology is being rapidly deployed across North America, and is currently installed in almost 50 concrete plants. New technology applications continue to be deployed and partnerships formed to accelerate technology scaling in order to address climate change. To seize the full potential of this new industry in a meaningful timeframe to contribute to climate change action, CarbonCure needed to form partnerships with like-minded leaders. The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE provided the catalyst and grand vision to form Team CarbonCure. Team CarbonCure comprises leaders from across the supply chain, including some of the world’s leaders in the space of cement and concrete (Cementos Argos, Thomas Concrete, BURNCO Rock Products), industrial gas (Praxair), carbon capture (Sustainable Energy Solutions), and construction (B+H Architects, DIALOG, LS3P, Read Jones Christoffersen, Uzun+Case, and Walter P. Moore). This unique team was formed to not only compete in the Carbon XPRIZE, but to also look for immediate opportunities to scale the technology globally.