Trio Ready-Mix Implements XPRIZE-winning Reclaimed Water Technology

Trio Ready-Mix has been providing concrete to Southern Vancouver Island contractors, developers, landscapers, and homeowners for over 50 years. Over that time, it has become renowned for its unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction—and for its efforts to protect the beautiful natural environment in which it operates.

As a sustainability-conscious company, Trio was well-accustomed to introducing new innovations to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations. When it had the opportunity to design a new concrete plant in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, it used the opportunity to take its sustainability efforts to the next level.

For the past few years, Trio had benefited from the sustainability, cement-reduction, and cost-savings from implementing CarbonCure for Ready Mix. When the opportunity arose to become the first concrete plant to adopt CarbonCure’s XPRIZE-winning reclaimed water technology—Trio jumped onboard. The timing was perfect since Trio had just added reclaimers and other equipment to manage mixer washing water and returned concrete at their new plant. 

Implementing CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water at Trio 

CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water had been through over 1,500 hours of industrial testing and data-gathering as part of the final round of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. However, Trio was the first commercial setting to implement the solution. 

The team started slowly, introducing the technology in a few mixes and testing and monitoring performance in the field. Once the production team was comfortable with the results, usage increased and the team eventually began replacing cement content in their mix designs.

CarbonCure’s Technical Services and Support (TSS) team was on the ground with Trio for the entire implementation and testing period. The team set up a small lab at Trio’s plant to run tests on the concrete, slurry, and water. Trio also conducted internal testing and hired a third-party testing company, EXL Engineering, to verify all slump, air, and strength tests.

Trio’s Results with CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water

No change in the set time between mixes using city water versus reclaimed water. 

No change in slump and air between CarbonCure mixes and control mixes.

3% cement replacement with CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water.

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Overall potential reduction of up to 10% when combined with CarbonCure for Ready Mix Technology.

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Up to 20% fresh water reduction with CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water.

The team initially implemented the solution in residential and low-specification mixes. In 2023, CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water was used in 85% of Trio’s mix designs, and in over 80% of Trio’s produced concrete. Trio has also added CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water to approximately 25% of its 45MPa+ mixes as it completes the optimization process. 

About CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water

CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water can help producers replace virgin cement requirements further, while reusing water from the plant by stabilizing and preserving the reactivity of the cement solids present in the reclaimed water. 

The technology was developed as CarbonCure’s submission—and eventual grand prize winner—in the final round of the Carbon XPRIZE. 

How It Works

  • Ultrafine suspended solids are created in reclaimed water through a reaction with CO2. The presence of these solids enhances concrete strength when present in new mixes.
  • The existing cement fines are CO2-stabilized and can be recycled for equal use as a binder material in new concrete mixes, replacing the need for virgin cement.
  • CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water reduces the unpredictable variability in fresh concrete properties that occurs when using untreated reclaimed water slurry in new concrete production.

CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water solves an age-old problem in the concrete industry.

“For over 30 years, the concrete industry has been challenged to find an effective solution for reclaimed water. Because CarbonCure standardizes and stabilizes the cementitious fines in the reclaimed water, we get repeatable, consistent results that allow us to gain maximum value from the cementitious fines in terms of strength. It almost acts as a supplementary cementitious material.”

Stephen Hay, General Manager, Trio Ready-Mix

When CarbonCure-treated reclaimed water is used in Trio’s concrete mix, the savings average CAD $0.90 per cubic metre of concrete. 

“Our initial motivator was environmental, not monetary. However, we have seen a great return on investment. The virgin cement replacement is where the true environmental and cost savings are, but the water treatment and savings on the cost of safe fines disposal are also significant,” said Stephen. 

Early Adoption Pays Off

Trio is an early adopter of CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water, but the team has no regrets about taking the plunge. In the future, Trio intends to use CarbonCure in every mix design to gain virgin cement replacement benefits and to reuse all of its water in concrete production. 

“We endeavor to have no stormwater discharge from our site, and being able to use CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water in as many mixes as possible is the key to that,” said Stephen.

Read more about Trio Ready-Mix’s experience implementing CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water in our short case study.

Read the Success Story

If you have a reclaimer at your ready mix plant and are looking to achieve greater environmental results or reduce cement costs, contact us to learn how CarbonCure for Reclaimed Water can help.


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