New BCN DOE Grant- Storing CO2 in Built Infrastructure: CO2 Carbonation of Precast Concrete Products

A team of Beyond Carbon Neutral researchers has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a research proposal related to work based on preliminary BCN seed funding.

This project aims to promote carbon capture and storage technologies within coal-fired plant infrastructure and demonstrate economically viable CO2 storage opportunities. Precast technology developed from this study would have a substantially lower energy footprint, and could possibly be carbon negative due to stored CO2, the use of waste heat and fly ash from coal-based power plants, elimination of prestressing steel, recycling of waste streams from steel and mining industries, and the use of plant fibers. Potential benefits of this work could include development of low-CO2 emissions infrastructure products with longer lifetimes than current technology, incorporation of would-be industrial waste aggregate materials into construction, and creation of ubiquitous CO2 storage in the built environment.

The collaborative project is led by Principal Investigator Brian Ellis, with Co-Principal Investigators Victor Li and Steven Skerlos, and combines the CO2 sequestration, geochemistry, materials science and life cycle assessment expertise of all three members to pursue advancements in CO2 storage within concrete products that achieve net reductions in CO2 emissions from coal-fired power generation via mineral carbonation.

The project proposes a multi-phase research approach that addresses technical barriers related to optimizing carbonation of cementitious materials, evaluates physical properties of novel carbonated materials, and assesses the reductions in lifecycle CO2 emissions attributed to carbonation of precast cementitious materials, namely concrete railroad ties. With multiple tasks set as project goals, the first task the team has outlined is to create and maintain a detailed project management plan to manage and report on activities. The remaining tasks are focused on evaluating carbonation efficiency of the engineered cementitious composites (ECC), optimizing and characterizing carbonated ECC materials to meet or exceed industry standards, integrating and testing the durability of the new materials, and evaluating life cycle emissions reductions associated with the use of the carbonated products.