C-Crete advances cement-free carbon-negative concrete product with $2M DOE boost

C-Crete Technologies is developing a method for using carbon dioxide captured at industrial sources or from the air as an ingredient in its cement-free concrete. This progress has been significantly accelerated through a generous $2 million grant from the US Department of Energy.

The DOE funding will help propel C-Crete’s already eco-friendly product into the exceptional category of carbon-negative building materials, possibly the first pourable, ready-mix concrete product to achieve this longtime goal of the industry.

The CO2 integrated into the product, whether sourced from the air during the concrete’s curing process or captured from industrial emissions, can be used in a diluted form, eliminating the need for costly separation from other gases. Once mineralised within the concrete, this diluted CO2 enhances the material’s strength, durability, and resilience compared to traditional concrete.

At the heart of C-Crete’s innovation is its patented high-performance, cement-free binder technology, which utilises various locally sourced materials as feedstocks. Notably, this binder generates minimal CO2 during production and continues to absorb it from the atmosphere over time. Its scalability and cost-effectiveness compared to conventional cement position it as a viable and sustainable alternative to ordinary Portland cement, a major contributor to global CO2 emissions.

“We are committed to crafting a cement-free, ready-mix, carbon-negative concrete that doesn’t just mitigate carbon emissions but actively contributes to reversing climate change,” says Rouzbeh Savary, Ph.D., founder and president of C-Crete Technologies. “Our aim is nothing short of revolutionising this hard-to-abate, carbon-heavy sector of the construction industry.”

“Concrete is one of the most difficult materials to address within the construction industry because the way it is used often precludes other sustainable strategies such as re-use and effective recycling,” says Stuart Macalister, technical design lead at Heatherwick Studio, an international award-winning architecture firm based in London. “C-Crete are pioneering significant reductions in the embodied carbon of concrete and their continued research into alternative techniques to avoid over dependence upon a single material source, is both savvy and inspiring.

“C-Crete’s sequestration of CO2 into cast-in-place concrete is another aspect with huge potential. The consensus amongst climate scientists is that even if we do everything else right to reduce emissions, the world still needs to remove gigantic amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Direct-air capture of CO2 is very expensive currently, so other methods, such as those being developed by C-Crete, are vitally important,” says Macalister.

“We need to do testing to get the use of next-generation materials like C-Crete’s right, and that requires early adopter field trials,” says Donald Davies, a developer and structural engineer with 33 years in the business, whose building in Seattle was the site of C-Crete’s first commercial pour. “It’s exciting to be a part of helping C-Crete on this important next step forward.” Davies is also chair of Building Transparency, a nonprofit dedicated to enabling the building industry to address embodied carbon’s role in climate change.

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