Almost a year ago today, we published a comprehensive plan that mapped out the first stage on CarbonCure’s path to the decarbonization of concrete. The plan (summarized in a blog post) aligns CarbonCure’s commercial goals with our ambitious environmental goal: to reduce or remove CO2 emissions from the concrete industry by 500 million metric tonnes (or 500 megatonnes) annually by 2030—equivalent to taking 100 million cars off the road each year.
By publishing this plan, we made ourselves accountable for the goals we set against five key tenets. Now, one year on, we reflect on the progress we’ve made in each of these areas:
1. Enhance producer competitiveness with added profitability and sales differentiation
Our teams are constantly working with our concrete producer partners to add value and boost profitability. In 2021, we launched several significant initiatives for producers, including the new myCarbonCure portal and our Carbon Removal Program.
The new myCarbonCure portal is private and customized for each producer’s unique business. Like any business intelligence tool, the more data producers connect to myCarbonCure, the more insights they can unlock to help inform sales, marketing, quality control (QC), and operations decision-making.
The portal is also where producers can sign up for our Carbon Removal Program to boost profitability further.
Carbon Removal Program & Methodology
CarbonCure launched a carbon dioxide removal program with a verified methodology focused on measurability, additionality, and permanence.
This methodology is a huge step forward for carbon emissions reduction and removal, as it opens the door for concrete producers to accelerate the decarbonization of the concrete sector while achieving their own climate goals. In myCarbonCure, producers can track their progress, keep track of credits, and watch them grow as they continue to pour CarbonCure concrete.
2. Rapid plant retrofits with low barriers to adoption
CarbonCure for Ready Mix, Precast, and Masonry is already in use in more than 400 plants globally. In 2021, our overseas expansion ramped up in Asia and South America, and Oceania, where partnerships were established with producers and distributors with local expertise and relationships to help expand CarbonCure’s adoption quickly and efficiently.
For CarbonCure to effectively meet its goal of 500 million tonnes annual CO2 emissions reduction by 2030, we will continue our global expansion in the coming years.
3. Seamless integration that is complementary to CO2 solutions, regulations, and supply chains
CarbonCure is commonly integrated with other low-carbon solutions that producers are using today (e.g., supplementary cementitious materials and limestone cement) or may adopt in the future.
For example, the technology is compatible with most emerging CO2 capture and utilization technologies like direct air capture and carbonated aggregates. Compatibility is a valuable benefit for producers to take advantage of the latest solutions to enhance their competitiveness and reduce emissions.
4. Continuous innovation of low-carbon, digital, and circular technologies
2021 was a huge year for innovation at CarbonCure. Notably, we were named a grand prize winner of the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.
The almost five-year competition showcased the portfolio of CarbonCure’s technologies. After being selected as a semi-finalist, Team CarbonCure achieved a historic milestone in January 2018: the successful demonstration of a fully integrated CO₂ capture and utilization solution for concrete, where the CO₂ from a cement kiln was used for the production of ready mix concrete.
The final round introduced CarbonCure’s newest commercial technology focused on carbonating reclaimed water—the wastewater generated at concrete plants—to enable the production of concrete with a reduced water, cement, and carbon footprint.
These innovations are ready to be commercialized—along with another solution for recycled concrete aggregates—and are currently in beta at a number of plants. In addition, 2021 saw the launch of CarbonCure for Precast which is already gaining traction in several markets.
5. Win-win global partnerships across the construction value chain, government, and industry
The decarbonization of the concrete industry is an incredibly important mission. But CarbonCure and other carbon removal innovators cannot do it alone.
Support is also needed from governments, the design community, concrete industry players, and any other stakeholder worldwide that can contribute to this global mission.
New policies and legislation targeting low carbon concrete have been introduced in Portland, Marin County, Hawaii, Austin, and New York State. And the list is growing as other influencers in the industry demand a switch from prescriptive to performance-based specifications.
2021 Progress Highlights
- CarbonCure installed at 139 new plants, surpassing 400 total installs
- 12 new markets entered
- CarbonCure named grand prize winner of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE
- Launch of myCarbonCure portal
- Launch of CarbonCure’s Carbon Removal Program
- First commercial installation of CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water
- Launch of CarbonCure for Precast
- New policies and legislation around the world to encourage the of use low-carbon concrete
Why Our Mission Matters More Than Ever
Climate change is undeniable. This year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on climate change, and it began with a stark statement:
While climate change can seem like an insurmountable challenge, CarbonCure and companies like ours demonstrate that the challenge is surmountable and that we have the solutions available today to create meaningful change.
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies are not science fiction. They are already widely deployed to build all manner of infrastructure and building projects. Furthermore, these technologies are the highest quality climate solution available today as they actually capture CO2 emissions from the air and put them to use in a valuable way.
The concrete industry is best placed to adopt and benefit from engineered CDR solutions due to its enormous global scale, its steadily high demand, its permanence, and the value-added benefits that can be achieved for producers.
We need to turn our attention to scaling up these proven solutions. However, technology alone will not get us to our net-zero emissions targets — concrete producers, the wider construction community, and policymakers are essential allies on our journey to decarbonize the concrete industry.
We have made great progress but there is a long path ahead. We look forward to checking in again soon with news of our progress.
To learn more about CarbonCure’s mission—and the role you can play—download CarbonCure’s Path to the Decarbonization of Concrete.