A collaboration between the Canada Green Building Council and a research team led by University of Toronto professor Daman Panesar seeks to study the potential to trap CO2 in concrete. Panesar’s team will explore new technologies, examine challenges associated with scaling up existing carbon-capture methods and identify any potential effects on strength, durability and other structural properties.
One of the most powerful tools for mitigating the impact of climate change could be a material that is so common we tend not to think about it very much – concrete.
The world’s most widely used building material, concrete has an impact on carbon emissions – both as a burden and a benefit. The production of cement – one of the key components of concrete – produces relatively large amounts of carbon emissions, so mitigating these could make a big difference. But over its lifetime, concrete also has the ability to uptake carbon from the air.
Now, a new collaboration between a team of researchers led by Daman Panesar, a professor in the University of Toronto’s department of civil and mineral engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC) will identify the potential and implications of low-carbon approaches and technologies and how they might capture large amounts of CO2 and trap it in concrete.
“Burying Carbon in Buildings: Advancing Carbon Capture and Utilization in Cementitious Building Materials” is funded by a recently-announced $1.7 million contribution by the Government of Canada.
“Currently, several low-carbon concrete framework documents have been produced worldwide and most of these roadmaps have set 2050 carbon reduction targets related to several levers, such as clinker-cement ratio, alternative fuel use and carbon capture, storage and sequestration,” says Panesar.
While there has been preliminary work on several carbon utilization approaches, few have been implemented on a large scale. Panesar and her team will examine the challenges associated with scale-up of these strategies and explore new technologies that can effectively turn built infrastructure into a carbon sink.