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MCP : Accelerated Mineral Carbonation for the production of construction materials

Technical Committee MCP


General Information

Chair: Dr. Ruben SNELLINGS
Deputy Chair: Prof. Thomas MATSCHEI
Activity starting in: 2022
Cluster A

Subject matter

  • Mineral carbonation technology as a means to produce construction materials is an innovative and rapidly developing field that is expanding in various application domains. The conversion of CO2 into solid, stable mineral carbonates is considered to be a promising and potentially viable way to reduce, store and use carbon emissions. Mineral carbonation usually is a slow process, yet can be accelerated in various ways and applied to a wide range of precursor materials. This has led to a multitude of processes (wet, moist, dry, supercritical,…) and applications that are under investigation or in various stages of development. As an expanding field, with various research teams breaking ground towards new applications (beneficiation of recycled aggregates, production of cement constituents or shaped monoliths, concrete curing,…), there is a need for sharing experiences and understanding and develop best practices that build a common knowledge base and disseminate the current state-of-the-art. In conjunction, there is a lack of commonly accepted terminology, material characterisation test methods and reliable process impact data and assessments.
  • This TC will mainly address the relationship between material characteristics and processing parameters. An important part of the activities will involve the consolidation of recent developments in the field and building consensus on their classification, definition of terms and assessment. This part will mostly involve surveying, reviewing and analysing existing data contributed by the members or reported in the topical literature.
  • In addition, the determination of certain key characteristics of the products and processes (e.g. CO2 uptake) may require the development of new detailed test methods, involving experimental work (round robin testing) by the TC members.
  • Limits of scope: (natural) carbonation as a process of concrete deterioration is excluded from the scope of work of the committee. Mineral carbonation with the sole purpose of carbon sequestration or storage is excluded as well. 

Terms of reference

  • The TC is supposed to run for 5 years. In year 1 the TC will be convened, structured into working groups and the scope of work and activities will be developed in detail. Year 2-4 are dedicated to the production of topical reviews, organisation and execution of interlaboratory studies, etc.. Year 5 will see the finalisation and dissemination of the TC results (editing and publication of documents, recommendations,…).
  • Members will be recruited from academia, public research institutes and industry, based on their experience with accelerated mineral carbonation and capacity to contribute without outside funding.
  • The work will include literature reviewing, exchanging of data, laboratory procedures and best practices, interlaboratory studies. These activities intend to result in topical reviews (journal publications or chapters in edited book volume) and recommendations for test methods, specifications or calculation procedures.

Detailed working programme

Phase 1: TC launch (Y1)

  • Kick-off meeting: introduction of members, suggestion of new members, overview of members’ competences and experience with mineral carbonation, presentation of plan of activities, formation of topical working groups, organisation of initial internal workshop.
  • Internal workshop for the members, to start activities in working groups. The number and scope of working groups will depend on the number of active TC members and their interests. Anticipated working group topics are preliminarily structured according to construction material typology: i) Carbonated construction aggregates; ii) Carbonation activated clinkers and SCMs ; iii) CO2 hardened pre-cast products; iv) CO2 cured conventional concrete. an additional working group would cover transversal testing and evaluation methodologies: v) Test and evaluation methods for carbonated construction materials.

Phase 2: TC operation (Y2-4)

  • Main period of activity within the working groups.
  • Preparation of topical reviews: collection and review of information and data, writing, revising and editing of overview papers including (where relevant) definitions of terms, resource, process and product classes. Description of best practices/guidelines.
  • Preparation of characterisation test methods: review of testing needs and existing methods, drafting of test procedures and optimisation, execution of interlaboratory studies (round robin tests) to assess robustness of proposed test methods.
  • Organisation of research symposium on mineral carbonation.

Phase 3: TC finalisation (Y4-5)

  • Finalisation of topical review papers (possibly bundled as Topical Collection)
  • Finalisation of developed test/evaluation methods as recommendations/pre-standards
  • Dissemination of TC results: topical session at the RILEM week, organisation of a short graduate course on mineral carbonation

Technical environment

This topic concerns the relatively new, emerging field of accelerated mineral carbonation technology for production of building materials. Therefore there is no direct link with closed or existing RILEM TCs. There is some topical relation with RILEM TCs addressing carbonation as a degradation process (e.g. TC 281-CCC: Carbonation of Concrete with SCMs; TC 247-DTA: Durability testing of alkali activated materials) or TCs working on lime-based (historic) mortars and/or concrete (TC 167-COM: Characterization of historic mortars with respect to their repair; TC 203-RHM: Repair mortars for historic masonry; TC 277-LHS: Specifications for testing and evaluation of lime-based repair materials for historic structures).

Relevance of this TC to RILEM's mission?

Mineral carbonation for the production of building materials is a strongly developing field addressing the global sustainability challenges of climate change and resource depletion. Research groups around the world in academies, research institutes and industry have deployed activities in this area and a first generation of pilot and demonstration projects has been realised. Doing so, different variants and applications of mineral carbonation have been developed. The TC intends to be a platform for topical experts to share experiences and data with the purpose of jointly developing consensus documents that reflect the state-of-the-art in the field, and that can lead to recommendations for material testing methods.

Expected achievements

  • The TC intends to produce:
    • Terminology and definitions for the rapidly developing field of mineral carbonation.
    • Topical reviews, either as part of an edited volume (STAR book), or as part of a special issue of Materials and Structures.
    • Test method recommendations
  • The TC will organise:
    • One research symposium early on in the life of the TC to gather topical experts and give them the opportunity to present their work. The symposium proceedings are intended to be published as RILEM document.
    • One educational graduate course will be organized as RILEM event.
    • The TC progress will be presented at various (RILEM) conferences. Towards the end of the life of the TC, the TC results will be presented in a topical session at the RILEM week.

Group of users

  • Academics, testing laboratories, industry, policy makers.
  • R&D in mineral carbonation is interdisciplinary and driven by several scientific communities (e.g. materials science, civil engineering, but also geochemistry, mining and process chemistry). Therefore this TC may be of interest to academic and industrial research groups outside the RILEM community

Specific use of the results

Mitigating climate change is the key challenge for present-day society and in particular for energy-intensive industries such as the cement industry that need to mitigate hard-to-abate process emissions. Mineral carbonation is actively being investigated by many major industries (cement and lime manufacturers, mining and recycling companies,…) as a means to reduce emissions, as such it is present in most sectoral roadmaps as part of carbon capture and use measures. In this respect, the TC results are intended to act as reference documents that provide consensus-based reviews of technological developments in the field. Recommendations, for instance on currently lacking material characterisation test methods (e.g. measurement of CO2 uptake), may act as pre-normative documents from which industry standards can be developed. Furthermore, the establishment of a solid state-of-the-art may also support the further industrial development by sharing best practices or disclosing technological advances.