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WALKIN’ THE TALK

Since the worrisome findings in the 2017 U.S. Infrastructure Report Card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers, few or no steps have been taken to actually begin repairs. Our crumbling dams, bridges and airports need to be repaired or rebuilt, requiring massive quantities of concrete. The main ingredient in concrete is cement, the production of which creates the second-largest source of carbon release after steel - 5 to 8 percent of manmade emissions, globally. America’s rebuilding needs have reached critical levels at the same time that taking action against climate change has become a global priority. The concrete industry, as one of the biggest carbon emitters, has taken a leading role in addressing these issues. Good for them.

Time for Solutions
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the highest level in human history this past April. Government and industry leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs around the world are committed to identifying ways to manage climate change and implement strategies, as soon as possible. They’ve made great progress already, with a promising technology called carbon capture and storage (CSS).

CCS involves trapping CO2 emissions that are either in the air or can be isolated before being released into the air. After capture, the CO2 is transported to a storage area, often deep in the ground. The stored carbon can be re-used to enrich a company’s own products or re-sold to other industries.

Since the 1920s, this process has been used in the natural gas industry to separate CO2 from methane gas. In the early 1970s, carbon was captured and then injected into an oil field, boosting the oil recovery process. Called enhanced oil recovery (EOR), it’s been used in oil and gas since. As early as 1977, carbon capture was suggested as a means to keep carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

Shared Purpose
Many companies in the concrete, oil and related industries have joined the CCS movement, identifying solutions and accelerating efforts to get the technology up and running around the globe. Blue Planet, Carbon Cure, Carbon Engineering, Global Thermostat, Inventys, and Solidia Technologies are just a few of the companies that have created innovative ways to capture carbon and then store it, resell it, strengthen their products with it, and invent new products using it. Some are partnering with oil and gas companies to secure investments and broaden their reach. Others are benefiting from government funding and support.

Just last month, Larfarge Canada announced the launch of its new CO2MENT project. (Lafarge-Holcim is the largest cement manufacturer in the world, with a presence in 90 countries.) Led by Inventys and also partnering with Total, the company plans to capture and reuse CO2 from their Richmond, British Columbia cement plant. The project is receiving enthusiastic funding support. The first phase will kick off later this year.

It appears CCS will play a leading role in waging a global battle against climate change, as well as achieving compliance with the Paris Agreement. Although the technology is young, it is already being used to reduce carbon emissions. And concrete is just one of dozens of industries that can be ‘decarbonized.’ Carbon capture and storage, like solar power technology, can scale up quickly with government and popular support.  

It’s encouraging to know that so many companies, researchers and investors are committed to lowering carbon emissions and securing a sustainable future for our planet. Ace Cutting Equipment & Supply, Inc. is here to support our customers’ needs now and in the future. Visit our website: Acecutting.com or call us at 888-283-2597.