Upcycled CO2-Negative Concrete for Construction Functions


Upcycled concrete production process
Upcycled concrete production process
University of California - Los Angeles
Website:  University of California, Los Angeles
Award Number:  FE0029825
Project Duration:  04/01/2017 – 03/31/2020
Total Award Value:  $1,349,999
DOE Share:  $999,999
Performer Share:  $350,000
Technology Area:  Carbon Use and Reuse
Key Technology:  CO2 Use
Location:  Los Angeles, California

Project Description

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, in partnership with Arizona State University and Headwaters Resources Inc., will develop a process that utilizes coal combustion and iron and steel processing wastes as reactants for scalable carbon dioxide (CO2) mineralization. The process will produce a CO2-negative construction material with mechanical and functional properties that are equivalent, if not superior, to traditional ordinary Portland cement-based concrete. The process design includes an integrated process solution for existing coal-fired power plants to produce "upcycled concrete." The process coordinates aspects of calcium leaching, calcium hydroxide precipitation, slurry formulation, structural shape-stabilization, and CO2 mineralization, while maximizing CO2 uptake. The production process design will minimize the need for extrinsic energy by utilizing flue gas from existing coal-fired power plants in two ways: as a heat transfer fluid and as a source of CO2. The heat from the flue gas will facilitate temperature-swing-based calcium hydroxide precipitation and accelerate the carbonation kinetics. The CO2 present in the flue gas will be systematically consumed by mineralization. The entire process is designed for scalable operations, in high-throughput mode using "off-the-shelf" components, thereby facilitating and accelerating commercial trials and deployment.

Project Benefits

Beneficial utilization of flue gas-borne CO2, and the ability to repurpose abundant industrial wastes (such as crystallized slag and fly ash) as calcium sources for the creation of a value-added product, such as "upcycled concrete," provides the coal power industry with a viable path to significantly reduce its carbon emissions. The "upcycled concrete" production process also minimizes external energy needs by fully utilizing low-grade heat sourced from the flue gas, which decreases operating costs.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Andrew Jones: andrew.jones@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Lynn Brickett: lynn.brickett@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Gaurav N. Sant: gsant@ucla.edu

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