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posted by martyb on Sunday February 09 2020, @10:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the every-bit-helps dept.

Capture Carbon in Concrete Made With CO2 (Javascript required):

On a vast grassy field in northern Wyoming, a coal-fired power plant will soon do more than generate electricity. The hulking facility will also create construction materials by supplying scientists with carbon dioxide from its exhaust stream.

A team from the University of California, Los Angeles, has developed a system that transforms "waste CO2" into gray blocks of concrete. In March, the researchers will relocate to the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, part of the Dry Fork power plant near the town of Gillette. During a three-month demonstration, the UCLA team plans to siphon half a ton of CO2 per day from the plant's flue gas andproduce 10 tons of concrete daily.

[...] Carbon Upcycling UCLA is one of 10 teams competing in the final round of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize. The global competition aims to develop breakthrough technologies for converting carbon emissions into valuable products.

[...] Cement, a key ingredient in concrete, has a particularly big footprint. It's made by heating limestone with other materials, and the resulting chemical reactions can produce significant CO2 emissions. Scorching, energy-intensive kilns add even more. The world produces 4 billion tons of cement every year, and as a result, the industry generates about 8 percent of global CO2 emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.

[...] The UCLA initiative began about six years ago, as researchers contemplated the chemistry of Hadrian's Wall—the nearly 1,900-year-old Roman structure in northern England. Masons built the wall by mixing calcium oxide with water, then letting it absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The resulting reactions produced calcium carbonate, or limestone. But that cementation process can take years or decades to complete, an unimaginably long wait by today's standards. "We wanted to know, 'How do you make these reactions go faster?'" Sant recalled.

The answer was portlandite, or calcium hydroxide. The compound is combined with aggregates and other ingredients to create the initial building element. That element then goes into a reactor, where it comes in contact with the flue gas coming directly out of a power plant's smokestack. The resulting carbonation reaction forms a solid building component akin to concrete.

[...] After Wyoming, Sant and colleagues will dismantle the system and haul it to Wilsonville, Alabama. Starting in July, they'll repeat the three-month pilot at the National Carbon Capture Center, a research facility sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 09 2020, @10:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 09 2020, @10:18PM (#956178)

    This is 100% correct where I work too (a name-brand US university).

    The "scientists" (former scientists) work flat out trying to get money and could not give 2 shits about the work. The only work that gets done is by imported labor as cheaply as possible and there's barely any supervision or training. The message comes down from above to publish stuff - doesn't matter what, doesn't matter if it works, don't even tell me about it unless in reference to it being published - and my name goes in the important space (first or last). End of conversation.

    I don't know why but there are zero Americans in the entire operation. Up and down the ladder, none. Why? The jobs are not particuarly bad - at least comparable to boss-centric work anywhere - but Americans won't touch it. However it's not science in the sense you read in text books or idealized in scifi. Just another dreary management and business job.

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