Saturday, January 18, 2020

Concrete Solutions

From the LA Times: Gabe Falzone and his teammates had been up since 5 a.m., anticipating the arrival of the concrete mixer. When the truck pulled into the alley behind UCLA’s Boelter Hall, hundreds of narrow red cylinders stood ready. The engineers scrambled to fill the containers with roughly 8 tons of wet sludge before hustling them into giant ovens in the basement. They had just 24 hours to complete the next task: bathing the concrete in carbon dioxide to lock away the gas in the world’s most widely used construction material. This was the critical step in the semifinal challenge of a contest with a $7.5-million payout.

“It was down to the wire,” said Falzone, a project scientist at the Westwood campus.

The UCLA team is one of 10 vying for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize, an international competition to see who can turn the most carbon dioxide into valuable products. The idea is gaining momentum as a promising climate solution. Called carbon utilization or carbon conversion, it involves taking carbon dioxide emitted by power plants, steel factories, breweries and other industrial facilities and converting it into something practical - and profitable - rather than letting the greenhouse gas escape into the atmosphere...

Full article at

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