Researchers from Saudi oil company Aramco and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have devised a method for trapping waste carbon dioxide in concrete, thereby preventing its release into the atmosphere and reducing the construction industry’s significant carbon emissions.

In a bid to reduce the construction industry’s carbon emissions, Aramco and KAIST have proposed using an existing method for curing concrete — wherein adequate moisture, temperature and time have been provided to enable concrete to achieve the properties necessary for its intended use — that incorporates waste CO2.

Source: AramcoSource: Aramco

During conventional curing processes, maintaining the appropriate temperature and moisture levels for achieving the concrete’s maximum strength can take up to 28 days. However, by modifying the curing process with steam, the joint team of researchers demonstrated that they could trap as much as 20% of waste CO2 in concrete.

The team reported that including waste CO2 in the curing process expedited the time it takes for concrete to harden — from the original 28 days to just three days — while maintaining industry required standards for hardness.

The researchers suggest that by switching to the CO2 curing approach, the construction industry could potentially recycle 246 million tons of the gas — which roughly translates to the equivalent of emissions from 50 million cars.

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