Carbon-negative Ready-mix Concrete Building Components Through Direct Air Capture

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Madison, Wisconsin
Project Term:
09/12/2022 - 09/11/2025

Critical Need:

HESTIA addresses the need for implementing carbon removal strategies by converting buildings into carbon storage structures. HESTIA is also important for nullifying embodied emissions. The majority of these emissions are concentrated at the start of a building’s lifetime and locked in before the building is ever used. This upfront emissions spike equals 10 years of operational emissions in a building constructed to meet standard code, but increases to 35 years for more advanced, higher operating efficiency buildings, and more than 50 years for high-efficiency buildings operating on a lower carbon intensity grid. These time horizons go beyond 2050 climate targets, which means embodied emission reduction strategies are a high priority.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will produce carbon-negative concrete building components using cementitious materials generated by a carbon mineralization-based direct air capture (DAC) process. The DAC process uses a novel aqueous carbonation cycle to capture CO2 from the air at low cost. Simultaneously, the process upcycles industrial mineral wastes as cementitious materials by enhancing their pozzolanic reactivity (i.e. ability to form minerals that contribute to strength). The cementitious materials, storing the captured atmospheric CO2 as solid carbonate (e.g., CaCO3), fully replace Portland cement via an alkali activation cementation method in both cast-in-place and precast construction. The resulting carbon-negative concrete offers enhanced durability at equivalent strength and similar cost and can be formed into reusable building components or recycled as carbon-negative aggregates at end of life.

Potential Impact:

HESTIA projects will facilitate the use of carbon storing materials in building construction to achieve net carbon negativity by optimizing material chemistries and matrices, manufacturing, and whole-building designs in a cost-effective manner.


HESTIA technologies will reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.


Building materials and designs developed under HESTIA will draw down and store CO2 from the atmosphere.


A variety of promising carbon storing materials are being explored and commercialized for building construction. Currently these materials are generally scarcer, cost more per unit, and/or face performance challenges (e.g., flame resistance for biogenic carbon-containing materials). HESTIA seeks technologies that overcome these barriers while nullifying associated emissions and increasing the total amount of carbon stored in the finished product.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Marina Sofos
Project Contact:
Prof. Robert Anex
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of Illinois, Chicago
Pennsylvania State University

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