A groundbreaking method for trapping carbon in concrete

Scientists have developed a method that allows concrete to store a high amount of carbon during its production. The new approach stands out because it does not compromise the durability of the concrete.
A groundbreaking method for trapping carbon in concrete

Concrete Innovation Captures More Carbon Dioxide

Since the 1970s, using concrete to store carbon, the third largest source of human-made greenhouse gas emissions globally, has been proposed. However, this eco-friendly approach, which has gained popularity in recent years, has some limitations.

Concrete is produced by combining water, cement, and aggregates such as sand and gravel. During this process, while concrete absorbs some carbon dioxide, a larger portion is released.

One existing method for carbon storage involves injecting carbon dioxide into solid concrete. Another technique adds carbon dioxide gas to the water, cement, and aggregate mixture.

However, both approaches capture only small amounts of carbon dioxide and make the concrete less durable.

Researchers at Northwestern University in the United States have developed a new method that allows almost half of the carbon dioxide injected during concrete production to be stored.

Published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Materials, the research team injected carbon dioxide gas into water mixed with a small amount of cement. When this mixture was combined with the remaining cement and aggregates, the concrete managed to absorb the carbon during production.

Tests showed that the concrete captured and stored 45% of the carbon dioxide used in its production. The researchers also observed that the strength of this concrete was comparable to that of normal concrete.

Alessandro Rotta Loria, who led the study, says, “Our experiments show that the durability could actually be higher.”

“We need to conduct more tests, but at the very least, we can say it doesn’t compromise durability,” Rotta Loria adds.

Rotta Loria states that construction materials produced in this way can be used anywhere concrete is used, from columns to floors.

“We now have a new method that can reuse some of the carbon dioxide released during concrete production in the same material,” says Rotta Loria, adding:

“And our solution is technologically simple enough that it could be relatively easy to implement in the industry.”

Scroll to Top