​Feds fund CO2 into concrete technology development

Image: CarbonCure Technologies

A pioneering CO2 utilization company in the running for both the Carbon XPRIZE and Emissions Reduction Alberta’s Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses has just received $510,000 from the federal government to advance its technology development.

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based CarbonCure Technologies takes CO2 from large final emitters like refineries and injects it into the production process of concrete, both sequestering the CO2 and making the increasing the strength of the concrete, so that less can be used.

The technology is a retrofit to existing plants that can be added without interference with production.

"Canada has a disproportionately strong position in the global race to develop CO2-utilization solutions. These are technologies that actually use CO2 emissions as ingredients to make better products. That could be plastic, chemicals or concrete,” said Robert Niven, CarbonCure chief executive officer and founder.

The federal government investment, made through Sustainable Development Technology Canada, will foster innovation in carbon sequestering technology, as well as create new jobs and business opportunities, it said in a statement.

CarbonCure technology has already been applied to almost 60 plants across Canada and the U.S. The company is now working to maximize the emissions reductions benefits and improve the economics associated with the technology to attract smaller concrete plants as customers. It is anticipated multiple concrete plants across Alberta will install the retrofit technology. The company is also working with multinational corporations to integrate a suite of technologies across the value chain that captures CO2 from cement and reuses it in concrete production.

The opportunity is large, both economically and environmentally. The concrete industry offers an estimated $500 million in new market opportunities as well as the potential to reduce global emissions by up to eight per cent, said Niven, who was recently recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

“CarbonCure is looking at CO2 as a feedstock rather than a harmful greenhouse gas, and if we can make cost effective, profitable materials then this is a win-win situation,” Niven recently told JWN Energy.

The $20 million Carbon XPRIZE, sponsored by U.S. utility NRG and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), seeks to incentivize and accelerate the development of technologies that convert CO2 from a liability into valuable products. The 4.5-year competition runs to 2020.