As the world descends deeper into a climate crisis, the urgency to decarbonize becomes more pressing by the hour. When most people hear decarbonization, they think of transport and energy, but the green revolution is coming to construction.
Concrete is the quintessential material of modern infrastructure. From roads that cross our continents to the skyscrapers that dot our skyline, concrete has left its mark across the planet. Now it's time to shrink its carbon footprint.
To contribute to this endeavor, the Tokyo-based Carbon Pool Concrete Consortium has launched a brand-new website. The consortium has led a number of construction projects that reuse waste materials to produce concrete that captures and stores carbon. This effectively reduces the amount of carbon emitted during the construction phase and further absorbs carbon throughout the life of the structure. The consortium leverages cutting-edge technology to optimize its concrete's efficiency so it is able to absorb carbon at the fastest and highest rate possible.
Greening The Grey Stuff
This is a pressing matter. Worldwide, humans use roughly 30 billion metric tons of the stuff each year, second only in consumption to water.
Over half a ton of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ton of concrete produced. Considering the enormous consumption rates for cement, it is unsurprising cement contributes roughly 8% of all carbon output globally.
“Now it's recognized that we need to cut net global emissions to zero by 2050,” says Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, Norway. “And the concrete industry doesn't want to be the bad guy, so they're looking for solutions.”
A recently concluded panel hosted by McKinsey at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, put forward several recommendations for improving decarbonizing the concrete sector. Circularity (aka. recycling) was one of the main trends discussed, with panelists calling for greater use of repurposed cement and concrete materials for new construction projects and supportive regulations and industry standards to facilitate them.
The panel also recommended industry-wide collaboration and a whole-of-society approach toward transforming cement and concrete supply chains toward more sustainable outcomes.
This is where the Carbon Pool Concrete Consortium aims to make a difference. The participating organizations of the consortium all share the mission of successfully driving progress toward a fully decarbonized society. Those who wish to follow the progress of the group can access their official website to peruse Project Overview Documents, Project Updates, Events Updates, and other news.
The construction companies involved, with the help of field-leading researchers, are developing concrete as a carbon-neutral material. They are also using concrete as an effective carbon capture and storage mechanism (codenamed ‘White Carbon').
Visitors to the Concrete Pool consortium can expand their concept of the material and discover how concrete can be used to drive progress toward a decarbonized society.
The CP Concrete Consortium
The CP Concrete Consortium, consisting of 15 RRCS association member companies, has been granted funding of $80 million by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization’s Green Innovation Funding Program. The budget has been used to fund a construction project which utilizes “White Carbon concrete.” The project is expected to run for ten years, with an estimated total expense of $90 million.
The project, spearheaded by Hazama Ando Corporation, is creating new low-carbon concrete through a new production process. This novel process can be utilized to produce concrete for use in constructing pavements, buildings, and other civil engineering structures.
Reliable measurement mechanisms are essential to minimizing carbon output.
Ensuring Carbon Efficiency
To properly evaluate the carbon efficiency of this technology, comprehensive carbon life cycle evaluation methods (LOCO2, LCA, and LCC systems) have been developed by a leading academic team. This evaluation method attempts to robustly link concrete carbon life-cycle evaluation with carbon market instruments (i.e., carbon credits) and ESG infrastructure funding (i.e., green bonds).
The Ready-mixed and Returned Concrete Solution Association (RRCS) was established in October 2020, led by academics from the University of Tokyo. Professor Takashi Noguchi of the University of Tokyo is the chairman of the board of directors.
The project brings together more than 120 experts from the field, from producers to consumers, and academic researchers and suppliers, to join hands and work to bring about solutions to the long-neglected concrete loss problem. By reusing, reducing, and recycling concrete, they aim to create a sustainable industry that does not reduce resources.
To meet the United Nation's goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the global community must make concrete the new pillar of sustainability. By decarbonizing the supply chain through innovative projects like CP Concrete Consortium, carbon can be dramatically reduced, contributing to a greener future for our planet.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.