Researchers from Empa are working on the DemoUpCARMA project, in collaboration with partners led by ETH Zurich, to explore ways to accelerate the carbonation process in concrete production plants.
Carbonation is a slow process where concrete absorbs carbon dioxide emitted during its production. The project involves using recycled material from deconstructed concrete structures and exposing it to carbon dioxide from a nearby wastewater treatment plant.
The process has shown promising results, with recycled concrete granules achieving higher strengths than untreated recycled material. The carbonation process not only absorbs CO2 but also increases the compressive strength of the concrete.
The researchers suggest that the potential for CO2 savings in this process is around 15%. Life cycle analyses indicate that carbonated material could reduce the net greenhouse gas effect by approximately 13%, offering a significant potential for more sustainable concrete production.
The project, named DemoUpCARMA, is part of broader efforts to explore pathways for generating negative emissions in Switzerland and is funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.