Are you wondering what it takes to add CarbonCure into a concrete plant? Good news — you’re in the right place! CarbonCure’s Director of Engineering, Brad Vickers, has written the post below to tell you everything you need to know about the CarbonCure installation process.
A common question the CarbonCure engineers on the installation team encounter is: “how does this technology integrate into a concrete plant?”
The short answer: The CarbonCure Technology is installed within a single day, causing no disruption in operations. The CO2 storage tank and the CarbonCure system are then seamlessly integrated with minimal maintenance required.
The more detailed answer: The CarbonCure technology injects CO2 into concrete during the mixing process. It acts as a direct feed admixture, adding no additional time to a producer’s batching sequence. The CarbonCure field engineers work with the concrete plant staff to coordinate the installation of a CO2 tank from a gas supplier, and the installation of the CarbonCure system by a field engineer.
Note that the CO2 comes from third party industrial gas companies. (If you haven’t already, read our other posts on merchant CO2 suppliers and on the beneficial reuse of CO2 with CarbonCure.)
Once the CO2 storage tank has been installed and the shipment of the CarbonCure system has arrived on site, the CarbonCure engineers arrive on the agreed upon date to complete the installation. CarbonCure engineers work with the plant’s staff to mount the CarbonCure system, which is comprised of two main components: the control box and the valve box.
The control box acts as the brains of the operation, controlling the inputs and outputs of the system. It is integrated with the plant’s existing batch system just like other admixtures, and lives in the batch office so it can communicate relevant messages to batchers when required. The CarbonCure system is completely automated so no interaction with the batcher is required during normal operations.
Crucially, the control box houses the CarbonCure telemetry system, which gathers all relevant usage data pertaining to that particular system, such as total production volume numbers and total CO2 injected and saved to date. Telemetry insights are also how the CarbonCure engineers monitor the system’s functionality in real-time, so they can ensure it is working properly and so they can address any problems that may arise before they potentially impact production.
Then CarbonCure engineers install the second component of the CarbonCure system, the valve box, within 10 feet of the CO2 storage tank. Transfer hoses are installed to deliver both gas and liquid CO2 from the tank to the valve box. A discharge hose is then installed to deliver the gas and solid mixture of CO2 from the valve box to the loading area of the concrete plant after it leaves the valve box. All hoses are insulated and foil taped to reduce heat transfer.
With the assistance of the concrete plant’s maintenance team, a steel pipe known as the “injection nozzle” is installed at the loading area of the concrete plant. The next step is to connect the two systems by running a control cable between them, allowing them to communicate with each other. Once this is complete, the plant’s batching software must incorporate the added ingredient of CO2 in the mix, and the batching sequences must be adjusted as necessary.
To determine the optimum dosage of CO2 to add, a commissioning trial is conducted by the CarbonCure Technical Services and Support (TSS) team. Once the concrete producer selects the mixes they want to add the CO into, comparisons between control samples using a range of different CO2 dosages takes place. The winning dose is the one that delivers the optimum strength improvement.
One last question to address is: What maintenance is involved once we have started producing concrete using the CarbonCure systems?
The short answer: Other than cleaning the injection nozzle from the connector box (to prevent concrete buildup), nothing! And of course, the frequency of cleaning needed has to do with the amount the system is being used.
Other than that, CarbonCure staff continuously monitor pressure and temperature sensors within the system and will travel to the site as needed.
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for our next post on that continues the discussion on what it takes to work with the CarbonCure Technology during production. The post will also describe in detail the ways in which the CarbonCure TSS team works with plant staff to adjust their mix designs and reduce cementitious content, so as to find the optimal dosage of CO2 for their mixes.
Want more information? That’s great—we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at email@example.com with any questions you may have.
Thanks, and until next time!
Director of Engineering, CarbonCure Technologies