Today, concrete is the most consumed material in the world second only to water.
From the paving of roads to the physical construction of buildings, the uses of concrete are wide ranging and essential. Against a backdrop of rapid urbanization and global population increase, the demand for concrete will continue to grow exponentially, while conventional methods to produce this essential material will continue to account for heavily taxing carbon emissions.
Cement vs concrete
It is a common misconception to use the words cement and concrete interchangeably, while these are two very different things. Cement is a fine powdery material that represents one of the four components that eventually make up concrete, alongside stone, sand, and water. Once the mixture of these components becomes sufficiently hardened, the outcome is what we refer to as concrete. The hardening process is the result of hydraulic reactions occurring between cement and water, which start shortly after these components come in contact with one another and progresses well beyond the 28-day mark (the age earmarked by convention to represent optimal design strength).
Basics of concrete production
In order for prefabricated concrete to achieve optimal strength and durability, it must undergo a curing process that typically requires sufficient heat, water, and time for the chemical process of cement hydration to take place. These methods add to concrete’s ecological footprint. For example, a standard concrete masonry unit (CMU) roughly consumes 1L of water during the process of steam-curing. The USA alone produces between 3-4 billion CMUs annually.
The quest for alternatives
Our team has an in-depth understanding of the industry, process, and product. While the resource and energy intensity of cement production has sparked interest in finding alternatives to cement, we recognize the urgency to accelerate our impact by acting on the dominant practices of today. Rather than challenging the basis of code-compliant binders, we offer an alternative CO2-driven curing process that guarantees the production of superior low-carbon concrete that will have no issues meeting existing codes, specifications, and standards. We are working with industry leaders in their respective fields to accelerate the rate of impact promised by our new approach.
By 2060, the floor area taken up by buildings across the world is expected to double 1. This has been compared to adding another New York City to the world every month until then2.
Operating in the behemoth concrete and cement industry, we already boast a large market share in Eastern Canada - Carboclave products have been widely specified for projects across Ontario and Quebec, and we have already produced more than 30 million blocks.
Scaling the use of Carboclave technology has the potential to drastically improve global progress towards our climate goals by transforming the way we produce this essential material, which will inevitably be required to meet these surging demands.
2. Gates Notes, Buildings are bad for the climate. 2019