CO2-Enhanced Building Materials

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

CO2-enhanced building materials represent a revolutionary approach to construction, leveraging carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change – as a key ingredient in the production of concrete, bricks, and other construction materials. This innovative concept not only reduces the environmental footprint of the construction industry but also offers enhanced material properties and opens new avenues for carbon capture and utilization.

Impact on climate action

CO2-Enhanced Building Materials revolutionize construction by sequestering carbon dioxide emissions into durable materials. This innovation significantly reduces the carbon footprint of buildings, advancing climate action by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. It fosters sustainable infrastructure development, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change and promote a circular economy.


Several technologies and concepts underpin the development of CO2-enhanced building materials:

  • Carbon Mineralization: This process involves reacting CO2 with calcium or magnesium-rich materials, permanently trapping the CO2 in a solid mineral form, such as calcium carbonate (limestone).
  • CO2 Injection into Concrete: CO2 is directly injected into fresh concrete mixtures, reacting with the cement components to form calcium carbonate, enhancing the concrete’s strength and durability.
  • CO2-Cured Concrete: CO2 is introduced during the curing process, accelerating the carbonation of concrete, improving its strength and reducing curing time.
  • Utilization of CO2-Derived Aggregates: Startups are developing methods to create aggregates (the bulk material in concrete) from captured CO2, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional aggregates.

TRL : 6-9 (depending on the specific technology and product)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • New Binding Agents: Researchers are developing novel binding agents for concrete that have a higher capacity for CO2 absorption, increasing the carbon sequestration potential of the material.
  • Optimization of CO2 Injection Techniques: Scientists are exploring different methods for injecting CO2 into concrete, including utilizing supercritical CO2 and microbubbles, to improve carbonation efficiency and material properties.
  • Waste Utilization: Incorporating industrial waste materials, like fly ash and slag, into CO2-enhanced building materials can further reduce the environmental impact and enhance the economic viability of the technology.
  • 3D Printing with CO2-Enhanced Materials: 3D printing technology is being adapted to utilize CO2-enhanced materials, enabling the creation of complex and customized building components with a reduced carbon footprint.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Carbon Mineralization Technologies
  • Direct CO2 Injection in Concrete
  • CO2-Cured Concrete Processes
  • CO2-Derived Aggregate Production
  • Novel CO2 Absorbing Binding Agents
  • Advanced CO2 Injection Methods
  • Sustainable Construction Aggregates
  • High-Efficiency Carbonation Techniques
  • Supercritical CO2 Utilization
  • Fly Ash in CO2-Enhanced Materials
  • Slag Incorporation Strategies
  • Eco-Friendly Building Components
  • Customized CO2-Enhanced Construction
  • Enhanced Material Properties
  • CO2 Sequestration in Building Materials
  • Green Building Solutions

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • CarbonCure Technologies:
    • Technology Focus: CarbonCure Technologies specializes in carbon dioxide (CO2) utilization technology for concrete production. They inject recycled CO2 into concrete during the mixing process, which becomes permanently mineralized, enhancing the strength and sustainability of the concrete.
    • Uniqueness: Their technology not only reduces the carbon footprint of concrete production by sequestering CO2 emissions but also enhances the performance of the concrete itself, making it stronger and more durable.
    • End-User Segments: CarbonCure’s solutions are targeted towards concrete producers, contractors, and developers in the construction industry who are seeking sustainable building materials without compromising on quality or performance.
  • Solidia Technologies:
    • Technology Focus: Solidia Technologies offers a comprehensive solution for reducing the carbon footprint of cement and concrete production. Their technology enables the production of concrete using lower temperatures and CO2 curing, resulting in lower emissions and enhanced material properties.
    • Uniqueness: Solidia’s approach not only reduces the carbon footprint of concrete production but also offers faster curing times and improved material performance compared to traditional methods.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments include cement manufacturers, concrete producers, construction companies, and infrastructure developers looking to adopt more sustainable building materials and practices.
  • Blue Planet:
    • Technology Focus: Blue Planet focuses on carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technology for producing sustainable aggregates and building materials. They capture CO2 emissions from industrial sources and mineralize it into synthetic limestone aggregates used in concrete production.
    • Uniqueness: Blue Planet’s technology not only sequesters CO2 emissions but also creates a valuable building material that can replace traditional aggregates, reducing the environmental impact of concrete production.
    • End-User Segments: Their solutions target concrete producers, construction companies, and infrastructure developers looking for environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional aggregates and building materials.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Technology Enhancements: MIT researchers are developing innovative methods to incorporate captured CO2 into building materials, such as concrete and cement. They are investigating various techniques, including mineralization and carbonation, to chemically bind CO2 into the material matrix, enhancing its properties and reducing its environmental footprint.
    • Uniqueness of Research: MIT’s approach involves not only utilizing CO2 as a raw material for building materials but also optimizing the manufacturing processes to minimize energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. They are exploring novel catalysts and reaction conditions to facilitate the carbonation reactions efficiently.
    • End-use Applications: The CO2-enhanced building materials developed at MIT have applications in construction, infrastructure, and sustainable urban development. By sequestering CO2 in building materials, companies can reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects and contribute to climate change mitigation efforts.
  • ETH Zurich:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at ETH Zurich are focusing on developing CO2-enhanced building materials with advanced functionalities and tailored properties. They are investigating the use of CO2 as a foaming agent or a binding agent in the production of lightweight and high-performance construction materials.
    • Uniqueness of Research: ETH Zurich’s research integrates principles of material science, chemistry, and engineering to design innovative CO2-enhanced building materials with superior mechanical properties and durability. They are exploring synergistic effects between CO2 and other additives to optimize the material performance.
    • End-use Applications: The CO2-enhanced building materials developed at ETH Zurich have applications in energy-efficient construction, acoustic insulation, and carbon-negative building projects. By incorporating CO2 into building materials, companies can create sustainable and eco-friendly construction solutions while reducing their reliance on traditional, carbon-intensive materials.
  • Purdue University:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at Purdue University are focusing on developing scalable and cost-effective processes for producing CO2-enhanced building materials. They are investigating innovative techniques, such as electrochemical conversion and mineralization, to convert CO2 emissions into value-added products for the construction industry.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Purdue’s approach involves a combination of experimental and computational methods to optimize the CO2 capture and utilization processes. They are exploring novel catalysts, reaction kinetics, and reactor designs to improve the efficiency and selectivity of CO2 conversion reactions.
    • End-use Applications: The CO2-enhanced building materials developed at Purdue University have applications in sustainable construction, infrastructure rehabilitation, and carbon sequestration. By repurposing CO2 emissions into valuable building materials, companies can create new revenue streams and contribute to environmental sustainability goals.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

CO2-enhanced building materials are already being commercially implemented in various projects worldwide.

  • CarbonCure Technologies: Their CO2 injection technology is being used by over 700 concrete producers in over 40 countries, sequestering over 300,000 tons of CO2 annually.
  • Solidia Technologies: Their low-energy cement and CO2-curing technologies have been used in pilot projects for paving, precast concrete, and building construction.