Clean Coal Creates Concrete
By Christopher Weaver


Coal power plants have long been a standard of power production for the world, but they emit high levels of carbon dioxide and thus account for a large percentage of pollution. A newer process of CO2 sequestering shows great promise in not only reducing a coal power plant’s carbon footprint, but at the same time producing a compound that can be used in the creation of concrete. To simplify the process, exhaust gas from a coal plant is transferred into a facility designed by Calera. Here the exhaust is ran through an acidic alkaline rich aqueous solution, turning the CO2 into calcium carbonate. It then goes through a rigorous drying process and what you have left is a white powdery substance that can be used to make concrete. All of the harmful gases that would have otherwise gone into the atmosphere are turned into a solid that has an actual value.

This process is still in the trial phase. A scaled down coal plant that produces real world conditions has been constructed, and that’s where Calera is currently testing this process extensively. It does work, the question that remains to be seen is whether or not it will work on a much larger scale. If so equipping a single power plant with this technology could be equivalent to planting a great many trees in its ability to eliminate carbon dioxide. Concrete plants also have a high pollution level and could thus be equipped with this machinery and recycle their CO2 back into their concrete. Makes you wonder if coal might not be so bad after all.

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