Conversion of Carbon Waste to Graphene for Enabling Highly Sustainable Cement- and Asphalt-based Materials

Universal Matter Inc.

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Edmonton, AB

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It’s one thing to help reduce emissions within Alberta’s oil and gas industry but what if, at the same time, you could bring environmental benefits across three key industry sectors with one innovative project. A young, advanced materials company, Universal Matter Inc., based in Burlington, Ontario has a new disruptive technology that has the potential to do just that.

In respone to Emission Reduction Alberta’s recent “Industrial Transformations Challenge”,  Universal Matter’s project will support state-of-the-art Turquoise Hydrogen process technologies by monetizing the accompanying solid carbon by-products that are generated. While the output of hydrogean from such processes has immediate end-use applications within the energy field, it is not obvious how these solid carbon by-products would be optimally utilized. Rather than sequestering such carbon waste, Universal Matter would separately implement its proprietary Flash Joule Heating technology to produce graphene by upcycling the residual solid carbon using its sustainable and low energy process.

These advanced graphene materials could be utilized in cement/concrete and bitumen asphalt paving applications, along with a host of other potential market applications. Graphene products are known to be exceptionally efficient strength modifiers. As little as 0.1% of graphene in cement can increase the compressive strength of resulting concrete materials by 25% or more. And, for paving materials, by incorporating less than 1% of graphene into bitumen, the resulting modified asphalt products would have significantly improved ageing characteristics that can lead to a doubling of the effective road surface life.

Universal Matter’s CEO, John van Leeuwen, also noted that “the net effect is not only substantial CO2 emissions reductions but also the creation of much more efficient circular economies between several of Alberta’s largest vertical markets – hydrogen energy, cement/concrete, and bitumen asphalt. Through our team’s coordinated efforts, we intend to demonstrate that significant decarbonization benefits can simultaneiously generate important economic and environmental benefits for several of Alberta’s largest industry sectors.” The net result would be an interconnected sustainability solution amongst all three vertical markets in alignment with the task of achieving Canada’s 2050 net zero emissions mandate.