University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have received a two-year $2m grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a process that can convert CO2 emissions into construction materials.

That grant, and an additional $905,000 in new funding from UCLA discretionary funds and industry partners, will advance research led by Gaurav Sant, a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Materials Science and Engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

A team headed by Sant invented CO2Concrete, a form of concrete that is made in part from CO2 emissions, which are an underlying cause of climate change.

The technology they devised captures CO2 from raw flue gas as it exits power plants, cement plants and other producers of CO2, reducing emissions to the atmosphere.

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Source: Gabriel Falzone/UCLA

The technology for producing CO2Concrete is being demonstrated at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center at the Dry Fork Station in Gillette, Wyoming.

The process also cuts down on the use of traditional cement, the binding agent in concrete. Since the system developed by Sant’s team captures CO2 directly from raw flue gas, it eliminates the high cost of carbon dioxide capture.

Sant said the product will have a carbon footprint 50% to 70% lower than that of regular concrete used in construction. The production of cement results in more than 8% of annual man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

“This support allows the institute to advance its mission to decarbonize heavy industry operations, and to develop better ways to use waste carbon dioxide emissions,” said Sant, who is also the Director of UCLA’s Institute for Carbon Management.