A product using Carbonaide’s solution.

Amidst rising concerns about climate change and increasing demand for carbon capture technologies, Finnish company Carbonaide has announced a market-ready solution that addresses the crucial issue of verification of CO2 sequestered.

The company’s technology utilises carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce a carbonate mineral, offering a practical and straightforward approach to carbon capture in the concrete industry. This solution is further bolstered by the collaboration with measurement technology company Vaisala, ensuring accurate monitoring of the captured carbon.

Carbonaide’s offering comes at a time when the private sector’s Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) is placing greater emphasis on verifying and reporting the actual amount of CO2 sequestered.

CO2 emissions come from many sources, with the concrete industry alone blamed for emitting eight per cent of global CO2, mostly in the form of emissions from standard Portland cement manufacturing.

The concrete industry is under enormous pressure to lower its carbon footprint. A single ton of Portland cement creates an astounding 800 to 900 kg of CO2 emissions, and with regulations increasingly tightening around concrete production emissions, efficient technologies to reduce the CO2 emissions from concrete are in high demand. The challenges are several-fold: How to remove CO2? Where to store it? How to do this affordably? And – just as importantly – how to accurately measure performance?

Carbonaide’s expertise lies in transforming concrete from a large emission source into a carbon storage sink.

“Our goal is to create a more sustainable future with cutting-edge technology that doesn’t just reduce the carbon emissions of concrete, but also stores more CO2 than it emits throughout its lifetime,” remarks the company’s CEO Tapio Vehmas, an analytical chemist by training with more than 20 years of experience in the concrete sector.

He is a co-founder of Carbonaide, alongside COO Jonne Hirvonen.

Explaining the Carbonaide proposition, Vehmas says: “As experts in both carbon curing and sustainable carbon dioxide value chains, we offer an effective and robust decarbonisation technology for precast concrete manufacturers. With our technology, a concrete manufacturer can reduce cement consumption in daily production and also decrease the carbon footprint of its products by mineralising CO2 into concrete.”

Carbonation is traditionally considered as a degradation mechanism of hardened concrete. Carbonaide’s technology reverses carbonation into beneficial mineral formation during the concrete hardening process. Carbonate mineral formation enables the utilisation of CO2 as a supplementary cementitious material and provides permanent storage of gaseous CO2.

Highlighting the advantages of the company’s production-ready innovation and the benefits gained from Vaisala’s advanced measurement tools, Hirvonen says: “Our unique advantage is that we accurately measure and control the carbon-curing process. Just as importantly, we made our product as easy as possible to install and use. The majority of our measurements are CO2 levels – and the quality of online measurement data is a top priority for us.”

“Unlike many, our carbonation can be efficiently and accurately verified by process measurements, without the need to constantly sample the concrete products. One early challenge we faced was that CO2 is usually measured in either ppm levels or for workplace safety purposes – but our process requires a much wider range. We needed new solutions that wouldn’t compromise measurement accuracy. For this reason, we needed new solutions that did not impose risks on the quality of our measurements. This is where Vaisala’s expertise became crucial,” he adds.

In the initial stages of developing its process, Carbonaide realised that significant measurements were needed and it sought a partner who understood this. Hirvonen also emphasises that partnering with Vaisala was useful not only in the initial stages but also for future scalability.

As Vaisala’s Product Manager Antti Viitanen states: “Sustainability is less about grand claims, and more about proven numbers. To make decarbonisation a reality, reliable measurement data is an absolute must.”

Regarding Carbonaide’s plans for the future, Vehmas says: “Our goal is to sequester 500 megatons of carbon dioxide by 2050, and we don’t see any major obstacles in this. We now have industrial scale processing capabilities, and there is a clear demand for our product. In fact, if the world’s entire cement production were to use our production process, 1.5 Gigatons of carbon dioxide could be captured. This is hugely significant because global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2022 were just over 36.8 Gigatons.”