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Application of CO2 to cement-based construction materials and commercialization of CO2 reduction technology

Prof. Lee, Haeng Ki’s group at the Saudi Aramco-KAIST CO2 Management Center is conducting a research project to apply cement-based materials to the geological storage and utilization of CO2 and to use CO2 as a method of improving concrete performances. If the technologies are commercialized to apply CO2 to the production of cement-based construction materials, such as bricks and blocks, and precast concrete and ready-mixed concrete, CO2 emission may be greatly reduced in the fields of civil engineering and construction, and carbon neutral technologies may be developed.

Development of technologies to apply CO2 to production of cement-based construction materials

In the previous Exploratory Research stage, under the theme of ‘developing CO2-utilizing technology,’ the research group evaluated the microstructural modifications, the amount of CO2 storage, and mechanical properties of cement-based materials exposed CO2-rich conditions. In the present Flagship Development stage, three pilot-scale units are aimed to be prepared to verify the commercialization potential of CO2 utilizing technology based on the experimental results and experience obtained in the Exploratory Research stage.

The first unit is a demonstration of the production of ready-mix concrete (HI-BARS) into which CO2 may be injected. The HI-BARS was prepared through real-time monitoring of the CO2 injection to reproduce an environment similar to the inside of ready-mix concrete. CO2 can be stored in fresh state ready-mix concrete. Theoretically, if the technology is applied to the ready-mix concrete market in Saudi Arabia, CO2 of about 600 to 1,200 tons may be stored in the ready-mix concrete. The second is SARIBH, which is a demonstration unit for simulating a precast concrete manufacturing site. The SARIBH has an internal volume of 6 m³, and allows for simultaneous steam curing and CO2 curing. Precast concrete may be used to store a large amount of CO2 efficiently and enhance the mechanical strength. Currently, the research group is preparing a brick/block pilot unit using CO2 curing technology.

Development of environment-friendly construction material production technologies having better productivity

The conventional cement-based materials that are used at construction sites accompany a large amount of CO2 emission in the processes of production, transportation, and fabrication. Once CO2 storage technologies using cement-based materials developed by Prof. Lee, Haeng Ki’s group are verified to have economic feasibility, pilot unit systems may be applied to the concrete production and construction markets in Saudi Arabia to significantly reduce CO2 emission. In addition, the new technologies may increase the productivity of construction material production and contribute to realize a sustainable cement industry in the future.

Prof. Lee, Haeng Ki
2019 KI Annual Report

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