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[Stuart] Licht's latest trick has been to examine a way to make concrete production climate neutral, cheaper and more efficient. His idea is, essentially, to graft on a small C2CNT plant to the concrete factory's exhaust flue, catching all of the CO2 that would otherwise be pumped out. The process would then separate out the carbon dioxide, which would be spun into carbon nanotubes, and oxygen.
The oxygen would then be pumped back into the concrete plant's furnaces, making them burn far hotter with far less fuel need, saving money. The carbon nanotubes, meanwhile, could then be sold on the open market at a for-profit cost that would make it highly persuasive to any business-type. After all, Licht's calculation is that for every $100 of cement produced, the factory would have $60,000 worth of nanotubes to sell.
We’ve developed a process in which cement is replaced as the binding ingredient in concrete with ground steel slag [!!!], and where heat-and-steam curing is replaced by curing with carbon dioxide.
Steel slag is a by-product of the steel-refining process. Because it is generally considered to be waste, the bulk of it is destined for landfills and is far less expensive to procure than cement.
But because of its chemical composition, steel slag is CO2-reactive. We leverage this property using a process called carbonation activation. CO2 is injected into the wet concrete to give it its strength. The strength gain is attributed to the formation of calcium-silicate-hydrates coupled with calcium carbonates through the carbon activation of calcium silicates.
The cement required to produce a standard size concrete block, often referred to as a “cinder block”, results in 2kg of CO2 emissions. Our process avoids that. Additionally, we capture 1kg of CO2 in every block during the curing process.
Personally, this is the future of manufacturing. Everything is going to eventually go this way. Every single ounce of energy created will be utilized in one manner shape or form. It just makes sense.
originally posted by: lordcomac
And what would the cost of this carbon nanotube plant be?
My guess is that it's completely in feasibly expensive, large, or unmanageable.
60k in nanotubes for every $100 in concrete?
What about timeframe? Would that mean they'd have to scale down concrete production to $100 worth a year for the nanotube plant to keep up?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for this idea- but my guess is that if it worked in reality it would be happening already.
If I could spin 60k worth of carbon nanotubes (and sell them off) easily, I'd be flooding the market with them already. co2 isn't hard to come by.
After considering several applications that might benefit from reusable microcapsules that can rapidly absorb CO2, including waste gasification, fertilizer production and deep-water diving, he didn't have to go far to find the next promising lead. Lab-Corps happened to be held in Golden, Colorado, the home of Coors Brewing Company (link is external) and part of the Denver metro area, which boasts more than 200 microbreweries.
The team's entrepreneurial lead, Lionel Keene, an LLNL [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory] engineer who once founded his own software company, suggested contacting Coors, and the group talked their way into touring the facility, which they found had an aging CO2 reclamation system.
"Luck plays a big role in a lot of these things and frankly, we got lucky," Keene said. "We had a flexible product, so if one thing didn't work out, we could find somewhere else where it might be useful. Sometimes it's just a matter of talking to the right person."
In meeting with Coors and a local CO2 supplier, Ye and Keene learned that during the fermentation process, breweries produce about three times the amount of CO2 needed for carbonization and packaging. Coors, for example, generates roughly 300 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year [!!!] during the fermentation steps, but only needs 80 million pounds, most of which is currently purchased through suppliers. Furthermore, typically 80 percent of the cost of purchasing CO2 comes in transportation. If breweries could capture and reuse CO2 using the microcapsules, Ye thought, they could be self-sustaining and sell the excess to other nearby consumers.