WESTWOOD— A UCLA research team has received a two-year, $2 million grant from the United States Department of Energy. An additional $905,000 was given from UCLA discretionary funds and industry partners. It is to support the development of technology that converts carbon dioxide emissions into cement.

The research is led by Dr. Gaurav Sant, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. Dante Simonetti, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Gabriel Falzone and Iman Mehdipour, staff scientists at the Institute for Carbon Management, are working with Sant. The team also includes energy, construction, and sustainable technologies experts. Together, CO2Concrete was invented, which is a form of concrete that is made partially of carbon dioxide emissions.

According to UCLA Newsroom, “The technology they devised captures carbon dioxide from raw flue gas as it exits power plants, cement plants and other producers of carbon dioxide, reducing emissions to the atmosphere. The process also cuts down on the use of traditional cement, the binding agent in concrete. Since the system developed by Sant’s team captures carbon dioxide directly from raw flue gas, it eliminates the high cost of carbon dioxide capture.”

CO2Concrete is said to have a carbon footprint 50% to 70% lower than that of regular concrete used in construction. Regular cement makes up more than 8% of annual man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

“We are very pleased to have the support of the Department of Energy and our industry and philanthropic partners, which alongside the talent of UCLA’s faculty, students and scholars, has been foundational to the work we have been able to accomplish. This support allows the institute to advance its mission to decarbonize heavy industry operations, and to develop better ways to use waste carbon dioxide emissions,” said Dr. Sant.