Reducing Carbon Emissions from Concrete Production with CORAL: Carbon-negative Ocean Reef for Aquatic Life
Concrete is the most widely used man-made material on the planet. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet. According to research from UK-based think tank, Chatham House, concrete and cement accounts for 8% of the world’s total carbon emissions.
If the global cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world – behind China and the United States, according to the BBC. And yet, concrete’s uses are vast and critical to our modern world.
Oceanit is developing carbon-negative concrete materials for use in sensitive coastal environments. Dubbed “CORAL” (Carbon-negative Ocean Reef for Aquatic Life), Oceanit is partnering with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop greener concrete formulations and processes for use in Hawai’i and to protect coastlines globally. CORAL will enable engineered, reef-mimicking structures and components that can mitigate coastal flooding, erosion, and storm damages that increasingly threaten coastal communities and infrastructure.
CORAL can also be used for biomimetic artificial reefs, using 3-D printer–enabled techniques to promote coral growth and to restore fragile marine ecosystems. Sustainable, carbon-neutral/negative alternatives can replace “gray” coastal infrastructure, and be used to foster reef regeneration and environmental diversity.
Part of the concrete production process often involves importing sand or gravel from far away, adding to the carbon footprint. Oceanit is focused on both developing sustainable materials and production processes that can reduce emissions without compromising strength and durability, and also using AI to intelligently mix locally-sourced industrial byproducts and waste materials.
Alongside CORAL, Oceanit engineers created REEF: Repository Evaluations for Enhanced Formulation, an AI-based platform that enables innovative formulation processes. REEF software utilizes AI/ML to optimize concrete formulations for specific projects based on input parameters such as location, available materials, and desired specifications including strength, curing time, cost, and carbon footprint. REEF allows builders to see how various materials can be sourced and mixed to further reduce carbon emissions.
CORAL and REEF will reduce the environmental impact of concrete production through novel materials, formulation, and production techniques. CORAL is on the cutting edge of developing new reefs that are carbon neutral, biomimetic inspired, and 3-D printed. CORAL will enable the installation of new reefs and structures that will help to re-establish coastal habitats, increase coastal biodiversity, and protect beaches and infrastructure around the world.
- CORAL incorporates industrial waste, such as calcium-rich waste and industrial byproducts like ash, crushed glass, slag, and more.
- Formulations are chemically stable and inert so as to not leach contaminants into the marine environment.
- Reduces emissions without compromising strength and durability.
- REEF formulation platform allows users to balance characteristics with materials to further reduce emissions.