Researchers invent cleaner way to produce concrete

June 21, 2013

Canadian Light Source (CLS) user Mark MacDonald is helping build better communities one concrete block at a time.

is one of the most important building materials, says MacDonald, but the problem is that the production of cement, the glue that makes concrete so strong, releases a lot of .

The is one of the largest industrial CO2 emitters in North America, so MacDonald is working to reduce that impact with the Canadian company, CarbonCure.

CarbonCure is devoted to making sustainable concrete - which also happens to be stronger than regular concrete in the earlier hardening stages. The process works by using C02 captured from industrial emitters and actually re-introducing it in the manufacturing of concrete products.

The CO2 gets directly injected into concrete, where it gets converted into a stone-like mineral that becomes a permanent part of the concrete mixtures.

In the end, they not only cut the CO2 being released into the atmosphere, but their products also out-perform regular concrete.

MacDonald said the environmental gains are potentially enormous.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"Concrete has been around for centuries, and it's one of the most common in the world," MacDonald said. "There has been many small changes to make concrete more environmentally friendly, but CarbonCure's process is a new, innovative way to reduce the CO2 footprint of concrete."

MacDonald, a recent Dalhousie MSc. Chemistry grad, is the CarbonCure innovation manager. He is part of an innovative team, and is involved in the constant research and development and testing of new applications for green concrete.

During his Master's and undergraduate degrees, MacDonald worked for Dr. Peng Zhang and studied using synchrotron techniques. This work brought him to the CLS three times during his studies.

"The CLS is a great learning experience. You're only there for three days, and you come back with data that takes six months to analyze."

All of that hard work contributed to MacDonald earning the Governor General's Gold Medal in Natural Sciences, as the most outstanding Master's graduate in science and engineering.

He carried the same drive over to CarbonCure.

"After graduation, I was looking for a job that was exciting and fast-paced. CarbonCure has offered the chance to make a positive change in a field that needed some innovation."

Producing green concrete for specific customers provided just the right kind of challenge.

CarbonCure works with individual concrete producers to incorporate their technology into the existing production and reduce its overall footprint.

The company is currently working with concrete manufacturers in Nova Scotia, Ontario and California, and is in the process of screening other manufacturers as they roll out their concrete innovation across North America.

Explore further: Cultivating a cure for concrete cancer

Related Stories

Cultivating a cure for concrete cancer

May 1, 2012

'Self-healing' concrete is being developed by researchers at Northumbria University which could see cracks in concrete buildings become a thing of the past.

A self-healing protective coating for concrete

February 20, 2013

Scientists are reporting development of what they describe as the first self-healing protective coating for cracks in concrete, the world's most widely used building material. Their study on the material—which is inexpensive ...

Recommended for you

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.