Cement and concrete production accounts for 8% of annual global CO2 emissions. Traditionally, cement producers have used supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) to reduce their emissions by offsetting cement, the most carbon-intensive ingredient in concrete. Current SCMs are derived from industrial byproducts like fly ash from coal plants or blast furnace slag from steelmaking. But, as these other industries decarbonize, the supply of high-grade domestic SCMs is declining.
To address this need for new, local, and readily-available SCMs, a trans-national consortium was created between Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Canadian carbon utilization company and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is funded by the US Department of Energy. NREL’s portion of the project was funded by the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM).
In this project, Carbon Upcycling and NREL are partnering to develop and demonstrate a framework to assess the suitability of various alternative feedstocks in North America that could be used to produce SCMs, including biomass, low-grade steel slags, mine tailings and more.
Carbon Upcycling has developed the Mechanically Assisted Chemical Exfoliation (MACE) process to transform alternative feedstocks into SCMs. This SCM assessment framework will help evaluate the suitability of alternative feedstocks as SCMs, which will provide a foundational understanding of what the future supply of SCMs could be in North America.