Sources: CarbonBuilt, Los Angeles; CP staff
Manufactured-concrete technology developer CarbonBuilt has entered into a carbon removal purchase agreement with Shopify Inc., Ottawa-based provider of essential internet infrastructure for commerce. Anchoring the agreement are 5,200 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide that will be sequestered in concrete masonry units molded and finished in plants equipped for the CarbonBuilt Reversa process. The purchase is supported through the Shopify Sustainability Fund, which contributes $5 million or more annually to support tech-driven entrepreneurs and their solutions to reverse climate change.
“This selection by Shopify, after evaluating hundreds of potential solutions, is a powerful signal for the quality of our technology, team and approach to the market,” says CarbonBuilt Head of Product Cindy McLaughlin. “The revenue certainty provided by multiyear contracts like this will accelerate adoption of our technology by concrete manufacturers.”
“When we learned how important the carbon credit revenue stream is for driving adoption of CarbonBuilt’s technology in this traditionally risk-averse industry, it was clear we had to create a strong demand signal, both to concrete producers and to other credit buyers,” adds Shopify Head of Sustainability Stacy Kauk. “This is a technology that needs to scale quickly in order to reverse climate change because of the carbon-intensity of concrete, and we’re thrilled to be part of CarbonBuilt’s journey.”
CarbonBuilt’s patented process brings together widely available, low-cost and low-carbon materials, replacing portland cement—a product of energy intensive processes—with CO2 taken directly from industrial, biomass or direct air capture sources. The CO2 chemically reacts with the mixture and becomes permanently stored in the resulting concrete. Each 30-lb. concrete block made with CarbonBuilt technology stores more than 1/2 pound (.27 kg) of CO2, while another 2.5 to 3 lbs. (1.1 – 1.3 kg) of CO2 emissions are avoided because of the reduced use of cement.
“Concrete is one of the few industries that can truly play a significant role in carbon removal,” said Chris Neidl, cofounder of Open Air Collective, a volunteer-led network that aims to advance, accelerate and co-invent carbon dioxide removal in the real world. “Combine the chemistry of concrete, which allows it to effectively sequester carbon for millennia, with the sheer volume of concrete produced annually, and you get a gigatonne-sized carbon sink, which we can start filling today thanks to companies like Shopify and CarbonBuilt.”