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Our partner Global CO2 Initiative, in collaboration with universities across the United States, recently published the scientific article ‘Challenges and opportunities for the built environment in a carbon-constrained world for the next 100 years and beyond’ in Frontiers.

Today’s built environment, including infrastructure for tunnels, bridges, highways, subways, railroads, harbours, buildings and airports, is responsible for a significant portion of energy consumption, natural resource utilisation, waste generation such as demolition wastes, but also CO2 and other environmentally harmful emissions at a global scale.

While construction materials have high carbon intensities, they also offer unique opportunities to directly and indirectly reduce CO2 emissions. This includes the direct conversion of CO2 to solid carbonates. These technologies are based on CO2 mineralisation, which leads to more sustainable construction materials when  CO2 reacts with Ca- and Mg-bearing silicate minerals and/or industrial alkaline wastes such as iron and steel slag, red mud, waste-to-energy ashes, mine tailings and waste concrete.

The article also explores how using CO2 mineralisation to produce carbonates ex-situ offers opportunities for carbon capture. Through a systematic design of CO2 mineralisation, the step-wise separation of various high-value components from waste streams is possible, further improving the overall sustainability of developed technologies.

The engineering solutions for our future built environment include but are not limited to, the design and synthesis of new infrastructure materials with low-carbon intensity, the development of new manufacturing options and technologies, and the integration of innovative functionalities into building envelopes.

Read the full scientific article here.