Arizona producer hosts industry’s second direct air CO2 capture project

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Sources: CarbonBuilt, Los Angeles; CMCM staff

Arizona concrete masonry producer Block-Lite, plus partners CarbonBuilt and Aircapture, plan to develop the world’s first fully-integrated direct air capture (DAC)-to-concrete assembly. CarbonBuilt will install carbon dioxide curing and mineralizing equipment at the Flagstaff operation, tapping an array of modular Aircapture DAC devices engineered to isolate high purity CO2 from onsite air intake. The project will enable Block-Lite to avoid 2,000 to 3,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and capture 500-plus metric tons of atmospheric CO2 annually.

“All too often sustainable building materials require a tradeoff between cost and performance, but what is unique about this project is that there’s no ‘green premium’,” says Block-Lite CEO Ryan Ross. “We’re going to be able to produce on-spec, ultra-low carbon blocks at price parity with traditional block, which should speed adoption and impact.”

The Block-Lite installation is backed by a $150,000 grant from the 4 Corners Carbon Removal Coalition, representing the City of Flagstaff; Boulder County, Colo.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and, Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Large scale, durable carbon utilization can play a critical role in driving down the cost of DAC and accelerating atmospheric carbon removal. The concrete industry’s scale and global reach uniquely position it as an enabling partner to the DAC industry,” says CarbonBuilt CEO Rahul Shendure. “We intend for this project to become a blueprint that can be replicated at many of the thousands of concrete plants around the world.”

“Atmospheric carbon dioxide removal and carbon utilization into products is on the critical path to addressing climate change,” adds Aircapture CEO Matt Atwood. “While the common assumption of industrial carbon application is that of a short lived product, we are demonstrating a novel solution to create permanent carbon storage sinks in our built environment. This exemplary project couples industrial decarbonization together with cost savings, carbon removal, job creation and environmental co-benefits.”

The addition of CarbonBuilt carbon dioxide curing and mineralization equipment, coupled with Aircapture DAC technology, will continue Block-Lite’s years-long decarbonization commitment, underscored in late 2022 with deployment of roof-mounted solar arrays to power much of its northern Arizona operation.

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