UCLA Civil Engineering Professor Gaurav Sant and his Carbon Capture team are featured in the L.A. Times.  The UCLA team, including project scientists Iman Mehdipour and Gabe Falzone, is one of 10 vying for the NRG COSIA Carbon XPrize, an international competition to see who can turn the most CO2 into valuable products. Turning carbon into concrete could win the UCLA team a climate victory — and $7.5 million.
Researchers have spent decades studying how to capture CO2. There’s just one problem; it doesn’t make anybody any money. So scientists started exploring ways to turn CO2 into things people were willing to pay for. These uses provide an alternative fate for the gas, which would otherwise warm the planet. CO2 is the primary driver of human-caused climate change and the culprit behind ocean acidification. To halt these trends, society will have to drastically reduce its production of greenhouse gases. But in the meantime, carbon utilization could put some of that CO2 to work.
The UCLA team makes concrete bricks with recycled carbon. The trick is not just to store CO2, but do it profitably. “This is not a question of what is possible, it’s a question of what’s affordable,” Sant said. For the XPrixe they will be judged on the amount of carbon stored and the value of the products created.

For Sant, it’s as much about proving a point as winning a prize. And the point is that we need to start getting serious about solutions to the climate challenge.

“We have a tendency to look at everything in terms of its problems first rather than its opportunities,” he said. “We have to invert that thinking.”

To read the Los Angeles Times article and see more photos, please refer here: https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-01-16/ucla-xprize-team-turning-carbon-into-concrete

 

UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering

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