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Saudi university working to improve ‘green concrete’

Saudi Arabia has been called the world's biggest building site, and green concrete could reduce the carbon impact of its massive building plans Alamy via Reuters
Saudi Arabia has been called the world's biggest building site, and green concrete could reduce the carbon impact of its massive building plans
  • ‘Green concrete’ absorbs CO2
  • Kaust plans ‘superfast’ absorption
  • Raw materials available in kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust) is developing direct carbon capture for buildings with the “green concrete” construction company Partanna. 

The Bahamas-based startup has already begun supplying a number of Saudi giga-projects with its concrete that absorbs carbon dioxide. These include housing company Roshn, tourist resort operator Red Sea Global and Diriyah Gate in Riyadh. 

Kaust said in a statement it would work with Partanna on further finessing its green concrete by producing what it called “superfast CO2-absorbing materials” 

“We now hope to augment the environmental benefits we know Partanna’s formula delivers by integrating Kaust’s direct air capture technology alongside it,” chemistry professor Mohamed Eddaoudi said, adding that the research “will further enhance the carbon removal capacity of Partanna’s concrete”. 

Partanna says its patented technology does not use Portland cement, which is responsible for 9 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, instead using a binder made from natural and recycled materials, including brine. 

This binder is cured at room temperature, avoiding the need for the clinkering process (fusing together different minerals under high heat or pressure).

It contains compounds that absorb atmospheric CO2 molecules and has no resins or plastics, avoiding the pollution of concrete production.

Partanna says the raw materials needed in the process are easily available in Saudi Arabia, which real estate consultancy Knight Frank has called the world’s biggest construction site due its massive economic transformation programme. 

The technological removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is gaining attention from governments and researchers as an efficient way to tackle climate change. 

Saudi oil giant Aramco is also working on carbon capture technology. 

Kaust, a research university set up in 2009 with an endowment of $20 billion, is also working on geological storage, geothermal energy potential and synthetic fuels as part of its Circular Carbon Initiative. 

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