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UCLA Carbon Team Gets $2M Grant

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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A research team from the University of California, Los Angeles, has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for its work on converting carbon dioxide emissions into construction materials.

The money, along with an additional $905,000 from UCLA discretionary funds and industry partners, will advance research led by Gaurav Sant, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

Sant’s team invented CO2Concrete, a form of concrete that is made in part from carbon dioxide emissions.

About the Research

The team plans to turn carbon dioxide from flue gas into pre-fabricated concrete blocks called “CO2Concrete.” The team is reportedly working with Susteon, a sustainable technologies development company in North Carolina, to help transition their system up to an industrial level.

Gabriel Falzone /  UCLA

A research team from the University of California, Los Angeles, has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for its work on converting carbon dioxide emissions into construction materials.

“What we’re trying to do is develop a material which has the potential to be able to completely remove that specific type of emission from the production of Portland cement,” said Sant.

Thus far, Cronkite News reports that the team has reduced emissions in Portland cement by 75%. To achieve this, CO2Concrete uses calcium hydroxide, which in turn creates a cement material that reduces carbon dioxide emissions through the process of reabsorption.

The reabsorption method is described as when flue gas is collected from industrial plants and then put into a chamber where it can be cured inside concrete blocks, trapping the carbon inside. The end result product should land within the same price range as traditional Portland cement, according to Sant and the research team.

The product aims to have a carbon footprint 50-70% lower than regular concrete.

The UCLA initiative is one of 11 projects chosen to share a total of approximately $17 million through the Carbon Utilization Program, which is administered by the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. The UCLA team received the only award in the area of “production of inorganic materials: maximizing uptake in concrete and cement.”

The team also is one of five finalists competing for a $7.5 million prize in the coal track of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which is seeking the most viable technology for turning carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products.

The UCLA team has previously received $500,000 from the XPRIZE organization after reaching the finals in 2018, and a $1.5 million gift in 2017 from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation to support the project.

The final round of that competition began in June, when the UCL team moved to the Wyoming Integrated Test Center to demonstrate its system to scale. The test center is part of Dry Fork Station, a coal-based power plant outside of Gillette, Wyoming.

The demonstration will run for 90 days and produce more than 140 metric tons (more than 300,000 pounds) of CO2Concrete.

   

Tagged categories: Carbon footprint; concrete; Emissions; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Research and development; U.S. Department of Energy

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