The National Carbon Capture Center in Alabama, USA, has announced the successful completion of its first demonstration of carbon utilisation technology.

Using CarbonBuilt’s Reversa technology, the project team aim to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of concrete by more than 50%.

During the test, more than 5,000 concrete blocks were cured using CO2 directly sourced from fossil-based flue gas streams.

Commenting on the efficacy of the technology as a replacement for traditional concrete products, John Northington, National Carbon Capture Center director, director of net-zero technology for Southern Company research and development, said, “Using carbon dioxide to produce essential products like concrete will be an important solution in a net-zero future, as will technologies for carbon capture from natural gas power plants and direct air capture – both also a focus of the National Carbon Capture Center.”

The award-winning CarbonBuilt Reversa process can increase the use of waste materials while significantly reducing consumption of cement. The curing process involves the direct injection of diluted CO2 from flue gas streams into the concrete where it is permanently stored.

Concrete blocks injected with CO2

Concrete blocks injected with CO2

Tests themselves were conducted under a range of actual power plant operating conditions by participants from the National Carbon Capture Center (Southern Company owned), CarbonBuilt and UCLA. Post-production analysis showed a successful testing procedure, with the blocks showing high CO2 utilisation from the gas streams in addition to the blocks meeting the industry standard for strength testing.

Speaking about the testing process, Tony Wu, Principal Engineer, Southern Company, said, “Over the course of the testing, the demonstration generated critical data on energy inputs, CO2 uptake and performance of concrete masonry units produced at industrial scale, under various process conditions.”

With more than 115,000 hours of real-world testing, the National Carbon Capture Center provides a neutral test bed for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

Rahul Shendure, CEO, CarbonBuilt, spoke about the importance of this kind of testing, saying, “There’s no substitute for testing new technology at scale in a real-world environment, which is exactly what we were able to do at the National Carbon Capture Center.”

He then went on to thank everyone on-site and praised the teamwork process.

A renewed collaborative agreement with the NETL saw new areas of technology development being added to the centre’s research itinerary, including carbon capture, carbon utilisation and direct air capture.