A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a new method to sequester CO2 in concrete before curing it. The method is based on the addition of bicarbonate of soda, which reacts with cement to produce a calcium carbonate-calcium silicone hydrate composite. The Journal of Engineering has reported that the method adds the benefits of CO2 mineralisation during production and casting, doubling the mechanical performance of early-stage concrete. It also eliminates the effects of carbonation reactions in cured concrete, which weaken the concrete by lowering its alkalinity, which accelerates the corrosion of rebar. The method has the potential to sequester 15% of CO2 emissions from cement production.
The team said “The pre-curing capacity of concrete to sequester CO2 has been largely underestimated and underutilised. Our new discovery could further be combined with other recent innovations in the development of lower carbon footprint concrete admixtures to provide much greener, and even carbon-negative, construction materials.”