by Editor, Helen Adams.
This Canadian startup, Carbicrete, has created a carbon consuming alternative to cement, that will create the building blocks for a carbon negative future.
To live in a carbon-negative home, the human race does not have to pack up and move back into caves. We just have to change the way we build.
Yuri Mytko, Chief Marketing Officer of Carbicrete, told Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “Concrete is the most consumed substance on the planet, after water.”
Concrete is used in the production of roads, pathways, bridges and buildings, as well as under-water structures and seaside piers.
Many such products are being constructed in developing nations, allowing the population to travel safer and more efficiently, have access to clean water as well as protection from flooding and generally live safer lives. Yet this progress comes at a cost to our planet.
Cement is a pollutant
Cement is an ingredient of concrete and the production of it accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, of which a total of 500,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide are emitted per year.
The excess amounts of these gases used in cement production cause damage to our ozone layer, more than all the fuel-guzzling trucks in the world.
As the human population continues to grow, the demand for concrete continues to rise, as well as the level of carbon dioxide used to produce it.
A carbon-negative answer to halt 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions
But there is an alternative: Carbicrete uses no cement at all but can do the job in the production of carbon-negative concrete.
The Montreal based company uses steel slag, an unwanted byproduct of steel as the base. The product is moulded into the desired shape and cured with carbon dioxide (the curing process toughens or hardens a material), then the Carbicrete is ready to go.
Thus, not only does Carbicrete not emit carbon dioxide in the process of being created, but it also consumes extra during the curing process, lowering the carbon footprint into a hugely carbon-negative one.
Does Carbicrete work?
The company claim that their carbon-negative bricks are cheaper to produce and are stronger than cement, in addition to causing less harm to the environment.
In Canada alone, Carbicrete claims that their product will help reduce cement emissions by 10%. Currently, they sell a license to concrete makers and then assist them in the production.
Carbicrete won the 2017 Pollution Probe Award, for offering an answer to the problem of cement.
Earlier this year, Carbicrete was also named a CleanTech Global 100, for its innovation. Chris Stern, CarbiCrete’s CEO, was proud of the recognition and said: “We work to bring a cost-effective, cement-free concrete solution to the global construction industry.”
With Carbicrete, the world can balance the progress of dependable infrastructure in Developing Nations, without causing any further damage to the planet.
In addition, with the construction of carbon-negative pathways and bridges, more people may choose to walk or cycle to their destination, than drive, adding another point to the benefits of Carbicrete.