Start-up promises low-carbon concrete

The Indian American led firm will commercially produce and sell World’s first ultra-low carbon concrete blocks

The fast-expanding low-carbon concrete start-up CarbonBuilt, led by Indian-American CEO Rahul Shendure, and its concrete masonry partner Blair Block announced that commercial manufacturing of their environmentally friendly concrete has started. The businesses have also lined up their first paying client, which represents a significant development for the three-year-old firm.

According to the firm, the production cost of eco-friendly concrete is the same as conventional concrete, through their technology, which won the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE in 2021. The firm’s technology can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released over the life cycle of concrete by 70 percent to 100 percent.

The technique attacks carbon on two fronts: pumping carbon into the curing chamber used to reinforce the blocks and replacing the majority of the cement in concrete with a customised blend of locally produced, low-carbon material. According to CarbonBuilt, Blair Block's modified production process will reduce CO2 emissions by at least 2,000 metric tonnes annually. Furthermore, the facility will remove more than 500 metric tonnes of CO2 from the environment yearly.

“One of the beauties of this thing is that the core production economics are better,” said Rahul Shendure, CEO and director. “We’re taking out one of the most expensive ingredients, which is cement, and we’re replacing it with a combination of low-value but easy-to-access industrial materials that deliver, in combination with CO2, the properties we need.”

The blocks are comparable in price, satisfy the same requirements as conventional concrete blocks, and are simple to incorporate into both new and current structures. C&C Masonry, a local contractor in Alabama, will use the first product off the line to use in a firehouse and other municipal projects they have planned around the state.

Besides Blair Block, CarbonBuilt also has another plant in Arizona that went online this year, as well as a few other feasibility studies underway. The company’s big focus for the second half of the year is signing additional contracts, with subsequent retrofits to come in 2024.

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