UiS has through R&D projects at the DrillWell Centre and internally funded research built up significant competencies in the area of rock-based geopolymers. As a step towards eco-friendly construction, geopolymer concrete can reduce the initial carbon footprint by up to 80% compared to using Ordinary Portland Cement-based concrete. As a follow up from unexpected lab results, the value proposition can be improved further based on discoveries that CO2 can be mineralized in geopolymeric slurries, building a case also as a Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology.
Depending on the chemical composition and reactivity level of the precursors, and temperature during the reaction, CO2 was utilized and transformed to a mineral with currently up to 4 wt.% of the geopolymer weight. The method is patent pending as per PCT/EP2020/083835, filed 30. Nov 2020. Being able to increase the CO2 intake and utilization efficiency from 4% to 10%, or even 20%, could lead to a net-zero emissions product, and significantly add to the investment case - justifying additional R&D and complexity.
Unique selling points are formulated in relation to being sustainable, scalable, permanent, practical & safe and energy-efficient. The technology could serve as a platform to establish green building materials to mitigate CO2 emissions - supporting the overall geopolymer industry - as well as providing a credible carbon credit strategy for large-scale industry users.
The spin-off company SafeRock AS has an exclusive license to the technology, working closely with UiS and Validé (TTO). Near-term risk mitigation emphasizes end-user validation and commitments, regulatory aspects and process efficiency. A positive qualification project will set the scene for an ambitious main R&D project to design, build and optimize a reactor, and upscale the process by adjusting key operating parameters.