Achieving the 500 Mt CO₂ Reduction Mission
Climate scientists agree that carbon dioxide (CO2) must be removed from the atmosphere in order to have a chance of reversing climate change. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is the highest quality climate solution available today as it actually captures CO2 emissions from the air and puts 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.
CarbonCure recognized this in 2012, and set out on a mission to decarbonize the concrete industry with CDR innovations. The first step on the mission was to align CarbonCure’s commercial goals with an ambitious environmental goal: to reduce the CO2 emissions from the concrete industry by 500 megatonnes (500 million tonnes, or 500 Mt) annually by 2030. Such an accomplishment would be equivalent to taking 100 million cars off the road each year.
Why Decarbonization Matters to the Concrete Industry
Concrete shapes the built environment around us. It is the most abundant human-made material in the world, with three tonnes used annually for every person on the planet. Its prevalence is a testament to its efficacy — concrete is simply the most resilient building material there is.
Increasingly, however, concrete is coming under scrutiny for its significant climate impact. Cement — the key ingredient that gives concrete its strength — is also one of the largest emitters of CO2 in the built environment, representing more than three times the CO2 emissions of civil aviation.
However, instead of contributing to CO2 emissions, concrete could actually help eliminate it from the built environment. As such, the decarbonization of concrete is the defining competitive issue for the industry and will be for the foreseeable future.
Pragmatic Decarbonization of Concrete
While the construction industry has been adopting carbon reduction or removal technologies (such as using alternative fuels, reduced clinker/cement ratio, and renewable energy sources), many of the solutions available today are insufficient to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Disruptive solutions, on the other hand, take too long to deploy and are often costly, without offering economic value to producers in return.
CarbonCure has taken a different, more pragmatic approach to carbon removal to ensure that concrete decarbonization and profitability are not mutually exclusive. The company developed five key tenets to meet its 500 Mt mission:
- Enhance producer competitiveness with added profitability and sales differentiation
- Rapid plant retrofits with very low barriers to adoption
- Seamless integration that is complementary to existing low-carbon solutions, regulations, and supply chains
- Continuous innovation of low-carbon, digital, and circular technologies
- Win-win partnerships across the construction value chain, government, and industry
1. Enhance Producer Competitiveness with Added Profitability and Sales Differentiation
The responsibility for reducing carbon in the built environment should not be shouldered by concrete producers alone — nor should the costs. The onus is on CDR technology innovators like CarbonCure to be extra creative with their solutions. CarbonCure ensures each of its technologies drives real economic value for producers by reducing production costs and creating competitive advantages with low-carbon concrete offerings.
2. Rapid Plant Retrofits with Very Low Barriers to Adoption
CarbonCure’s preferred pathway to concrete decarbonization is one that’s collaborative and not disruptive to the industry. By delivering on its pragmatic technology roadmap that can be retrofitted onto any ready mix, precast, or masonry producer’s plant, CarbonCure will easily meet its 500 Mt goal.
3. Seamless Integration that is Complementary to CO2 Solutions, Regulations, and Supply Chains
CarbonCure builds solutions that fit seamlessly on top of everything concrete producers are already doing today. They are complementary to other low-carbon solutions that producers are using today, including using supplementary cementitious materials and limestone cements, and sync with all existing batching software, admixtures, feedstock materials, and production equipment.
CarbonCure taps into existing CO2 supply chains from global industrial gas suppliers that have established sources, distribution networks, and services.
Finally, CarbonCure aligns with the current and future climate policy landscapes. For governments, using CO2 to make concrete products is the most permanent and economic option for reusing waste CO2 that’s currently available.
4. Continuous Innovation of Low-Carbon, Digital, and Circular Technologies
CarbonCure’s innovation strategy outlines a thoughtful technology roadmap that will deliver complementary carbon removal technologies over the next 10 years. These innovations will build on CarbonCure’s scientific expertise and currently available technologies to create more new solutions that profitably use CO2 in the concrete value chain. CarbonCure is also exploring alternative carbon capture and digital solutions to complement its product roadmap.
5. Win-Win Global Partnerships Across the Construction Value Chain, Government, and Industry
CarbonCure for Ready Mix, Precast, and Masonry is already in use in nearly 300 plants globally. In order for CarbonCure to effectively meet its goal of 500 Mt annual CO2 emissions reduction by 2030, the company will continue its global expansion over the next 10 years. Overseas expansion has already begun in Asia, South America and Europe, where partnerships have been established with producers and distributors that have the local expertise and relationships to help expand CarbonCure’s adoption quickly and efficiently.
CarbonCure's Technology Roadmap and CDR Impact
The decarbonization of the concrete industry is an incredibly important mission. But carbon removal innovators like CarbonCure cannot do it alone. CarbonCure has integrated with the concrete industry and aligns its strategies to other industry initiatives such as Mission Possible by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCAA), Architecture 2030, SE 2050, and the Clean Cement and Concrete Coalition (CCCC).
However, greater support is needed from governments, the design and building communities, concrete industry players, and every other stakeholder around the world that can contribute to this global mission.
To learn more about CarbonCure’s mission — and the role you can play — download CarbonCure’s Path to the Decarbonization of Concrete.