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Solidia Technologies Announces Possibility of Turning Concrete into a Carbon Sink for the Planet

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Solidia Technologies® CEO Tom Schuler shared the possibility of turning Solidia Concrete into a carbon sink for the planet during his TED Talk at TED and Future Stewards’ Global Countdown Launch. Tom was invited to "The Countdown," a call to action on climate change, to explain how cement and concrete contribute to the global carbon challenge and the potential impact of new production technologies for Solidia Cement™ and Solidia Concrete™.

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Solidia’s new applications can reduce the carbon footprint of ready-mix concrete by reducing the emissions of cement and consuming CO2 (Photo: Business Wire)

Solidia’s new applications can reduce the carbon footprint of ready-mix concrete by reducing the emissions of cement and consuming CO2 (Photo: Business Wire)

"To address global warming, innovation in both cement production and carbon utilization are absolutely essential," said Tom. "Our new technology for ready-mix concrete is currently being tested for infrastructure applications. And we have already pushed our research beyond that with a technology that enables concrete to become a carbon sink; that means we consume more carbon dioxide (CO2) than we emit during production."

Outlining the issue, he explained how concrete contributes to the global carbon challenge because it is made with cement. "For every ton of cement produced, about a ton of CO2 is released into the atmosphere. As a result, the cement industry is the second largest industrial emitter of CO2, responsible for about eight percent of global emissions."

By changing the chemistry of cement, Solidia both lowers emissions at the cement plant and consumes CO2 in the production of concrete. "Our cement reacts with CO2 instead of water. During curing, the chemical reaction with our cement breaks apart the CO2 molecules and captures the carbon to make limestone that glues the concrete together.”

For production of precast concrete that is cured in kilns, he explained: “When you combine the emissions reduction during cement production with CO2 consumption during curing, we reduce cement’s carbon footprint by up to 70%.”

Describing the different carbon delivery system developed for ready-mix, he added: "Since we can’t use CO2 gas at a construction site, we had to introduce it into our concrete in solid or liquid form. We are partnering with companies that are turning waste CO2 into a family of chemicals, like oxalic or even citric acid – the same one in orange juice. We use these acids to react with our cement and pack in as much as four times more carbon, resulting in carbon-negative concrete.”

Citing the potential impact, Tom explained: “That means that, in just a few hours, one kilometer of road could permanently consume the same amount of CO2 that nearly 100,000 trees absorb in one year. Thanks to chemistry and waste CO2, we have the potential to transform concrete – the second most utilized material on the planet – into a carbon sink for the planet.”

About Solidia Technologies®

Based in Piscataway, N.J. (USA), Solidia Technologies® is a cement and concrete technology company that makes it easy and profitable to use CO2 to create superior and sustainable building and construction materials. At scale each year, Solidia can eliminate at least 1.5 gigatonnes of CO₂, save three trillion liters of fresh water, reduce energy consumption equal to ~260 million barrels of oil, and eliminate 100 million tonnes of concrete landfill waste, while engaging industry in a rapid, globally scalable response to some of the greatest threats facing people and planet. Solidia’s investors include Kleiner Perkins, Bright Capital, BASF, BP, LafargeHolcim, Total Energy Ventures, Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) Climate Investments, Air Liquide, Bill Joy and other private investors. Honors include: the 2020, 2019 and 2014 Global Cleantech 100; a 2020 and 2014 Best Place to Work in NJ; 2020, 2019 and 2018 BP Advancing Low Carbon accreditation; the 2019 Solar Impulse 1000 Efficient Solutions; 2017 ERA Grand Challenge (formerly CCEMC) finalist; 2016 Sustainia 100; 2015 NJBiz Business of the Year; 2014 CCEMC Grand Challenge finalist; 2013 R&D Top 100; 2013 Katerva Award finalist; and MIT’s Climate CoLab shortlist. Follow Solidia on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on TED.com and other platforms. Audio versions of TED Talks are published to TED Talks Daily, available on all podcast platforms.

Follow TED on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on LinkedIn. Connectat Countdown@ted.com.

Contact information

Ellen Yui, YUI+Company, Inc.
O: 301-270-8571, M: 301-332-4135
ellenyui@yuico.com

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