CarbonCure: concrete breakthrough?

CarbonCure injects CO2 into concrete during the mixing process, where it mineralizes to form CaCO3. The resultant product is up to 20% stronger and can most likely save 4-6% of the CO2 intensity of finished concrete.

Total CO2 abatement has recently been running at 60kTpa, across 300 customers, with a long-term aspiration abate as much as 500MTpa potentially.

The technology scores OK on the TSE patent framework, although some question-marks are explored in the data-file, especially around the specific solutions discussed in the patents.

CO2 capture: a cost curve?

This data-file summarizes the costs of capturing CO2 from different sources, so that it can be converted into materials, electro-fuels or sequestered.

Specifically, we have estimated the full-cycle costs (in $/ton), ultimate potential (in MTpa) and other technical considerations, linking to our other models and data-files.

The lowest-cost options are to access pure CO2 streams that are simply being vented at present, such as from the ethanol or LNG industries, but the ultimate running-room from this opportunity set is <200MTpa.

Blue hydrogen, steel and cement place next on the cost curve and could each have GTpa scale. Power stations place next, at $60-100/ton.

DAC is conceptually attractive, as the only carbon negative technology, but if all CO2 molecules in the atmosphere are fungible, it is not clear why you would pursue DAC until options lower down the cost curve had been exhausted.

Construction materials: a screen of costs and CO2 intensities?

This data-file compares different construction materials, calculating the costs, the embedded energy and the embedded CO2 of different construction materials per m2 of wall space.

The file captures both capex and opex: i.e., the production of the materials and the ongoing costs associated with heating and cooling, as different materials have different thermal conductivities.

Covered materials include conventional construction materials such as concrete, cement, steel, brick, wood and glass, plus novel wood-based materials such as cross-laminated timber. Insulated wood and CLT are shown to have the lowest CO2 intensities and can be extremely cost competitive.

The data-file also compares different insulation materials, including their costs, thermal conductivities (W/m.K) and the resultant energy economics of insulation projects.

Cross-laminated timber: the economics?

This data-file captures the economics of cross-laminated timber, a fast-growing construction material that is c80% less CO2-intensive when substituted directly for traditional building materials such as concrete and steel, and results in buildings with 15-35% lower embedded CO2.

The economics are exciting. We find potential to generate 20% IRRs purchasing $25/ton timber and converting into $500/m3 CLT in newbuild production facilities costing $800/m3 pa.

The economics can be stress-tested in the model. Underlying capex, opex and case studies and companies are profiled in subsequent tabs.

Make CO2 into valuable products?

This data-file is a screen of 27 companies, which are turning CO2 into valuable products, such as next-generation plastics, foams, concretes, specialty chemicals and agricultural products.

For each company, we have assessed the commercial potential, technical readiness, partners, size, geography and other key parameters. 13 companies have very strong commercial potential. 10 concepts are technically ready (up from 8 as assessed in mid-2019),  6 are near-commercial (up from 5 in mid-2019), while 13 are earlier-stage.

A detailed breakdown is also provided for the opportunity to use CO2 enhancing the yields of commercial greenhouses (chart below).

The featured companies include c21 start-ups. But leading listed companies include BP (as a venture partner), Chevron Phillips, Covestro, Repsol, Shell, TOTAL (as a venture partner) and Saudi Aramco.

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2022.