Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Fortera

Could this system enable net-zero cement production?

Property & Construction

A bolt-on solution captures CO2 emissions and turns them into extra, green cement

Spotted: Cement production is responsible for around eight per cent of global CO2 emissions. This poses a large problem for countries looking to meet net-zero targets and stop climate change while expanding cities and accommodating growing urban populations. Now, US startup Fortera is stepping in to tackle the problem.  

The company, based in Silicon Valley, has devised a new way of manufacturing cement that cuts carbon emissions by 70 per cent – and could even reduce emissions to zero when green energy sources are used. Traditional cement plants generate carbon emissions both due to the fossil fuel power they use and in the process of turning limestone into lime during cement manufacturing, which releases CO2 as a waste product. 

Instead, Fortera’s patented ReCarb system traps this CO2 and uses it to produce its low-carbon Reactive Calcium Carbonate, ReAct. ReAct can then either be used on its own as a standalone cement substitute or blended with traditional cement. The innovative system reduces the amount of feedstock a cement manufacturer will require, as well as minimising production costs and, crucially, associated emissions. 

Video source Fortera

The bolt-on, turnkey model allows for a producer to customise the process to achieve anywhere from 10 per cent reductions in emissions all the way to a 100 per cent reduction. ReCarb can be added to existing cement infrastructures, allowing for minimal disruption. This way, existing plants can easily be repurposed or remodelled with the new technology and start reducing emissions quickly. 

Last week, Fortera opened its first facility in Redding, California, next to CalPortland’s existing cement plant. The site will use emissions from CalPortland’s flue gas stack and mineralise them to create its green cement. ReAct from this location will be ready for purchase later this year, and Fortera has plans to expand across many more sites in future. 

Springwise has also spotted other ways that cement production can be decarbonised, including by using electric processes and incorporating industrial waste in cement manufacturing.

Written By: Archie Cox




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