John Mead and Michael Bernert are bringing sustainable and eco-friendly methods to the concrete industry through the development and application of biomass products like biochar.
McMinnville, Oregon --News Direct-- Prodigy Press Wire
McMinnville, Oregon - Solid Carbon is revolutionizing the concrete industry by transforming concrete into a low carbon emitting material through negative carbon construction. Although not well understood by the public, concrete represents a significant percentage of carbon emissions.
Concrete accounts for 7% to 9% of carbon emissions worldwide. Cement, which is an ingredient in concrete, is an incredibly carbon intensive material, made by heating limestone through the burning of fossil fuels. A chemical reaction occurs when limestone converts to cement which off-gasses carbon dioxide. This process results in a pound of carbon dioxide being released for every pound of cement that is created.
This inspired Mead to partner with Michael Bernert, a ready mixed concrete professional, to initiate a plan to address concrete's carbon footprint. The pair have been working towards more sustainable concrete ever since.
In May 2022 they founded Solid Carbon. Mead has been working in the sustainable construction industry for twenty years, and considers himself a green builder, so he has always been looking for new and different construction technologies with environmental benefits. Bernert co-owns the largest family owned ready mix concrete company in Oregon.
Their company, Solid Carbon, produces admixtures to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete. Solid Carbon recommends that concrete producers use low cement mixes by incorporating secondary cementitious materials (SCMs). Combining Solid Carbon’s admixture with a high SCM concrete creates a powerful environmental impact.
The company sources a high carbon material called biochar, which is a class of material made from biogenic carbon. Biochar is made from plants that have pulled carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis. That biomass is then heated in the absence of oxygen, which condenses it rather than combusting. The carbon then concentrates into an elemental form similar to charcoal but because it’s made from biogenic carbon it is classified as biochar.
If it wasn’t converted into biochar then the biomass would be destined to release its carbon back into the atmosphere in the form of CO2.
To bring Solid Carbon and eco-friendly sustainable concrete into the mainstream Mead and Bernert are currently working through technical and compliance pathways. This includes testing their materials in conformance to standards set by The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Their results show that their product conforms with relevant ASTM standards and does not reduce the strength or performance of concrete.
Currently, Solid Carbon is working with structural engineers, architects, and contractors on projects to further the adoption of its technology.
One of the obstacles Solid Carbon is trying to overcome is a concrete industry that traditionally moves slowly and conservatively. The move to carbon negative construction materials like biochar can cost more for early adopters . This has left many contractors to continue using low-cost approaches that also carry a negative environmental impact.
“There are pathways to sustainability that are well known in the transportation and energy sectors. Electric cars, building efficiencies, and renewable energy are paving the way to a world with low carbon emissions,” says Mead. “However, you don't hear about a lot of solutions to the carbon footprint of concrete. This is probably the biggest piece of the puzzle that remains unsolved. Solid Carbon is here to turn concrete from a major source of carbon pollution into a climate solution.”
Name: John Mead
Release ID: 569354
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