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Patio Drummond anchors CarbiCrete test demonstration

Montreal-based CarbiCrete continues to ramp up commercialization efforts of its carbon-negative process for manufactured concrete production through an industrial-scale pilot project in partnership with Quebec hardscape manufacturer Patio Drummond. The cleantech company plans to produce up to 25,000 concrete masonry units (CMUs) daily at the Drummondville, Quebec plant when production begins in August 2020.

CarbiCrete’s patented technology replaces cement in the concrete mix with steel slag—a by-product of the steel-making process that is often placed into landfills—and cures it with carbon dioxide, avoiding the GHG emissions associated with cement production, while permanently sequestering CO2 within the resulting concrete products. In contrast with conventional iron slag, steel slag demonstrates very little hydraulic or pozzolanic behavior. Further, steel slag is the ideal binder for a process that uses CO2 for curing due to the presence of calcium silicate phases, notes Yuri Mytko, chief marketing officer for CarbiCrete.

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CarbiCrete CMUs meet the same specifications as cement-based units but are up to 30 percent stronger and each block represents an avoidance of 2.5 kg of CO2 emissions.

For the pilot project, CarbiCrete will be using the same manufacturing process as cement-based CMUs until the units are placed into the curing chamber. The carbon-negative process needs a specialized curing chamber allowing CO2 injecting, instead of the traditional use of heat and steam. Blocks made using this process meet the same specifications as cement-based units, however with lower material costs, better mechanical and durability properties, and a reduced carbon footprint. Company officials note that CarbiCrete CMUs are up to 30 percent stronger than conventional cement-based units, and each block represents an avoidance of 2.5 kg of CO2 emissions.

The Patio Drummond commercial scale project is funded by a $2.1 million grant CarbiCrete received from Sustainable Development Technology Canada in late 2018 and a recent $3 million investment by Harsco Corp.’s Environmental division—the steel industry’s largest materials processor. The investments help accelerate the development and deployment of CarbiCrete’s clean technology solution to greenhouse gas emissions through cement-free concrete production.

“We are tremendously pleased to have Harsco among our key investors,” says Chris Stern, CarbicCrete’s CEO. “Harsco Environmental’s world-leading materials processing experience and commitment to clean technology make them an ideal partner as we work toward bringing a cost-effective, cement-free concrete solution to the global construction industry.”

“This investment in innovation is aligned with Harsco’s development into further environmentally-focused products and services, and we are proud to support the development of this exciting technology,” says Russ Mitchell, vice president and chief operating officer, Harsco Environmental.