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How we could make carbon-negative concrete | Tom Schuler

Take action on climate change at . Concrete is all around us: we use it to build our roads, buildings, bridges and much more. Yet over the last 2,000 years, the art of mixing cement and using it to bind concrete hasn’t changed very much — and it remains one of the world’s biggest emitters…

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Take action on climate change at .

Concrete is all around us: we use it to build our roads, buildings, bridges and much more. Yet over the last 2,000 years, the art of mixing cement and using it to bind concrete hasn’t changed very much — and it remains one of the world’s biggest emitters of carbon. Entrepreneur Tom Schuler previews an innovative way to create concrete, potentially turning it into a carbon sink that traps CO2 from the atmosphere — while producing a viable building material.

This talk was part of the Countdown Global Launch on 10.10.2020. (Watch the full event here: .) Countdown is TED’s global initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. The goal: to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, in the race to a zero-carbon world. Get involved at

TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

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75 Comments

75 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dan Macken

    January 4, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    There are many silver bullets being created to combat climate change, I have followed this one for a while now and it is certainly one of the strongest we have ready to use today. I hope changes to legislation facilitate uptake.

    • Avatar

      Renaissance Statesman

      January 5, 2021 at 12:02 am

      If it works why does it need legislation?

    • Avatar

      Alan Cristian

      January 5, 2021 at 12:32 am

      @Renaissance Statesman that’s how countries works… Unfortunally

  2. Avatar

    Wouter Bentvelsen

    January 4, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    Amazing, but what does it cost!?

  3. Avatar

    s king

    January 4, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Now this is fucking green energy!

  4. Avatar

    Joshua Plourde

    January 4, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    If this works, this is amazing and absolutely so timely. Currently the construction industry accounts for roughly a 3rd of all greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing that to 0 is necessary in order to achieve draw down.

  5. Avatar

    Picco

    January 4, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Dew it!

  6. Avatar

    FRANK JAAVA

    January 4, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Awesome!

  7. Avatar

    Lisa Love Ministries

    January 4, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Seek God’s will daily.
    1 Corinthians 15 👑
    Romans 10:9-15📣

  8. Avatar

    Alex Meyjes

    January 4, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    better understanding of the universe around us will certainly help us solve problems in ways not yet known today . this is the promise of the future . This will be true for global warming ( carbon reduction through concrete renovation is such an example) … It gives me hope for the future .

  9. Avatar

    True Crime Queen TV

    January 4, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    2021 WILL MUCH BETTER THAN 2020! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  10. Avatar

    Renaissance Statesman

    January 5, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Everything he says indicates this should start dominating the market. Even at a 30% cost premium it should be more economical. Wonder what the cost premium actually is though.

  11. Avatar

    PresidentialWinner

    January 5, 2021 at 12:24 am

    Just…great!

  12. Avatar

    Curt Black

    January 5, 2021 at 12:31 am

    the construction industry needs to embrace this ASAP!

  13. Avatar

    S/LT.

    January 5, 2021 at 12:34 am

    This is amazing I wish everyone in the industry dropped what they’re doing and started doing this

  14. Avatar

    Remy Lebeau

    January 5, 2021 at 12:40 am

    Sad that they base technological progress on a myth. CO2 is the least of our worries when governments are the biggest polluters and the mainstream media and organizations like TED ignore how much damage is coming from India and China.

  15. Avatar

    Jimmy Phaysamone

    January 5, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Very good news!

  16. Avatar

    Gamengawe EG

    January 5, 2021 at 12:53 am

    awesome. I hope to see it being used in the construction sites

  17. Avatar

    Mako

    January 5, 2021 at 12:58 am

    Awesome! I would love to read more literature on this! Also I can’t help but wonder, if this technology where to go mainstream, whether or not it could be a incentive for other carbon capture techs to be developed, in order to feed the CO2 that this concrete needs?

  18. Avatar

    sheamus

    January 5, 2021 at 1:00 am

    Lighter in color is also a huge benefit, reflects more energy from the sun.

  19. Avatar

    VOLYA ZARITSKAYA

    January 5, 2021 at 1:03 am

    It must be spread to other countries.

  20. Avatar

    Samuel Christian

    January 5, 2021 at 1:11 am

    Is there a way that we could purchase these zero carbon concrete right now before they reach the market?

  21. Avatar

    Captain Junayd Riyadh-Al-Hasnayn

    January 5, 2021 at 1:16 am

    *NEWS DIGEST to START the Day (04 JAN 2021, Monday’s 5) 5 Minutes Read; updated at 0543HRS IST*

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    ISL: ATK Mohun Bagan Beat NEUFC 2- 0 with Lambot Own Goal, Roy Krishna Header; back to top of the table

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    *_Heavy Rains Add to Woes of Farmers Protesting at Delhi Borders; To Keep Farmers’ Spirit Alive, Women Kabaddi Tournament Goes on Despite Rains at Singhu Border; Won’t go back till laws are repealed, say farmers before 7th round of talks; Tomar, Rajnath Singh discuss ‘all options’ to end deadlock ahead of key meet with farmers_*

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    At Least 23 Killed as Crematorium Roof Collapses in Ghabziabad Village, CM Yogi Gives Ex-gratia of Rs 2L

    *Bird Flu Alert in Rajasthan after Crow Deaths in Many Districts, Virus Detected During Sample Testing*

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    *Chinese firm Shanghai Tunnel Engg Co gets contract for construction of underground stretch of Delhi-Meerut RRTS project*

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    Today’s Word – *Salamandroid* – Like a salamander; able to withstand 🔥

  22. Avatar

    bravojr

    January 5, 2021 at 1:18 am

    Dead Algae skeletons and Bacteria.
    Bacteria for Acid like agents, Algae for their skeletons.

    *shrugs*.
    Profit.

  23. Avatar

    Salty Dunmer

    January 5, 2021 at 1:19 am

    When did TED become a propaganda tool for Globalism

  24. Avatar

    Jade Choi - Million Dollar Challenge

    January 5, 2021 at 1:25 am

    Happy 2021

  25. Avatar

    Julyalfania

    January 5, 2021 at 1:27 am

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 (clap clap)

  26. Avatar

    Akash Vora

    January 5, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Great step, next is to tackle sand mining issues by the cement industry which are eroding our rivers

  27. Avatar

    thecrazy8888

    January 5, 2021 at 10:19 am

    If the C02 doesn’t leach out over time this would be amazing.

  28. Avatar

    Mauro Köller

    January 5, 2021 at 10:45 am

    How could you dislike this? 😀
    Even if you dont believe in climate change…he made better cement!

  29. Avatar

    be the genius

    January 5, 2021 at 10:56 am

    👍

  30. Avatar

    James Hicks

    January 5, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Well done, this is such great news! I hope concrete companies hear about this and convert asap!

  31. Avatar

    Martijn Both

    January 5, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Sounds great but what are the downsides?

  32. Avatar

    Evolved Copper

    January 5, 2021 at 11:42 am

    Use of waste CO2, this is epic! I did an short exercise on this in communication studies. This was never anything I could have thought of. Some people in the twilight years of middle of their lives don’t care about stuff pertaining to making the planet last longer, this is amazing to see a team coming up with something to help

  33. Avatar

    YouAndImpact

    January 5, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Nice video 👌

  34. Avatar

    Andre Holmes

    January 5, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Absolutely AMAZING!!!!!

  35. Avatar

    AARTI GUNDURE

    January 5, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Surely inovative✌

  36. Avatar

    BigMo

    January 5, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    I wonder if/how this process effects its appearance?

  37. Avatar

    MrChangCJ

    January 5, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    sounds expensive to bring CO2 to the construction site to cure the concrete 3:58

    anyway i rmb hearing that this industry is super hard to change coz nobody wants to take the risk of using new material that needs to pass lots of safety standards and long term testing

    and prob coz cement is already damn cheap and ultimately economics is what drives change

  38. Avatar

    Fam Fam

    January 5, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    Brilliant !

  39. Avatar

    beyondEV

    January 5, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    can’t get CO2 from the atmosphere just like that (concentrating CO2 needs energy). but like Bio Fuel Systems you can use it to neutralize other pollution from industrial plants (or power plants).

  40. Avatar

    yura37

    January 5, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    finally a video that isnt SJW garbage. best of luck convincing manufacturers to use your product. its going to be hard to make them see past their bottom dollar.

    • Avatar

      Paraplegic Racehorse

      January 5, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      Cost isn’t mentioned. That said, IF the cost is less than historic/traditional method, it will be really easy to convince companies to switch to this process. In EU, it will be a little easier because the whole carbon credit/penalty thing is actually in use.

  41. Avatar

    Peter Shaw

    January 5, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    How expensive is this concrete?

  42. Avatar

    Caterfree10

    January 5, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    THIS IS SO COOL

  43. Avatar

    ICE 278

    January 5, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Very important. I think wood for building houses is great too.

  44. Avatar

    dip

    January 5, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Of course, we’re also running out of the sand needed for concrete, so we’re probably gonna be screwed on that front in the coming decades.

  45. Avatar

    Halona Edmund

    January 5, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Happy new year, let’s talk about Investment for the year, Bitcoin is breaking limits a lot of people are purchasing it , great !

    • Avatar

      YASMIN BENNY

      January 5, 2021 at 10:18 pm

      People make the mistake of waiting for the government to provide everything for them and If you ask me , it is totally wrong

    • Avatar

      WILFRED FERNADO

      January 5, 2021 at 10:19 pm

      There are so many investment options out there , one has to be very careful in picking out a good one

    • Avatar

      WERNER SMITH

      January 5, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      Investing might be good but investing in the right thing is the actual key to success

    • Avatar

      WAYNE VIGA

      January 5, 2021 at 10:28 pm

      Investing in the right things matters , I actually invested in the stock market and also the crypto market , trust me crypto trading is more profitable than stock investment

    • Avatar

      MARION SMITH

      January 5, 2021 at 10:29 pm

      The rich gets richer by investing while the poor just spend like the rich without thinking about a good investment to go into

  46. Avatar

    Leon

    January 5, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    What is the price of this stuff? Is it long term stable?

  47. Avatar

    Mtaalas

    January 5, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    If true, this is something that every country has to turn to using legislation to force all concrete be this type by 2030 or so.

  48. Avatar

    IVORY123100

    January 6, 2021 at 1:23 am

    This guy’s got crazy eyes .. Most climate freaks have crazy eyes .

  49. Avatar

    BuddyCBuddy

    January 6, 2021 at 2:07 am

    LOL

  50. Avatar

    ofek zelig

    January 6, 2021 at 2:11 am

    The sand used in concrete is also leading to a global shortage of sand.

    • Avatar

      Baltazar Leyba

      January 8, 2021 at 9:52 pm

      Sand is not running out. The type of sand that is needed comes from rivers and there is a lot of it but since they use up the sand that is near the plants, it is not sustainable to haul from further away. Same thing is happening with oil. There is a lot left but the easily extractable one is running out and it costs much more than it’s worth to exploit it. Fracking is one of the new sustainable “solutions”.

  51. Avatar

    miguel

    January 6, 2021 at 2:53 am

    commenting to boost

  52. Avatar

    psychotic fairy

    January 6, 2021 at 5:48 am

    i bet hempcrete is better yet and we’ve known about it for AGES!

  53. Avatar

    Adrian Feener

    January 6, 2021 at 6:24 am

    so I’m hearing that you need limestone to make cement, but this process emits Co2, so you capture the Co2 and cure it within the brick breaking the chemical bond and leaving you with a limestone bond. cool but why not just start with limestone?

  54. Avatar

    rhythmrecall

    January 6, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Did he comment on the strength and I missed it? Certainly very exciting to hear about this and would love to see demonstration projects!

  55. Avatar

    Major Fallacy

    January 6, 2021 at 11:30 am

    So what’s the big innovation behind using limestone, aka the oldest cement known to men? Messing up the chemistry with more Co2 than necessary for curing isn’t going to make it any stronger, not to speak of the fact that limestone dissolves pretty easily.
    As much as I hope that they actually invented something useful, it does make my bullshit sense tingle

    Edit: can’t find any scientific papers in his or his companies name. If he had anything to show, he would’ve made sure the world got to see it. Seems like a lot of hot air

  56. Avatar

    OJ W

    January 6, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Amazing technology. Is anyone concerned for the potential repercussions of taking too much CO2 out of the atmosphere? Or am I just being crazy

  57. Avatar

    Dominic Sheehy

    January 7, 2021 at 12:04 am

    This needs to be implemented immediately in every country that can afford it

  58. Avatar

    Jessica White

    January 7, 2021 at 2:47 am

    I would love to see a stress test for this concrete to see how it holds up against traditional structural concrete. As a future engineer currently engineering having information about materials that are both better for the environment but still fulfil their requirements for usage is absolutely amazing for future projects around the world.

  59. Avatar

    Lightning Rod

    January 7, 2021 at 4:08 am

    stop trying make it mandatory, …

  60. Avatar

    NoTime ToYes

    January 7, 2021 at 5:18 am

    sounds good but Im afraid those changes and other ones will take way too long, to save us.

  61. Avatar

    Edward Eroukov

    January 7, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    What is the name of the company the presenter refers as “we”? where I can read about technology, any real life examples, even as an experiment?
    Usually there are links below the video with information regarding the subject, but not here. I wonder why.

  62. Avatar

    Ding

    January 7, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Thats super cool! But what’s the actual durability? How long does it last? How can you scale up production? There is a lot that needs to be done and figured out before we can put it in buildings and bridges. I like that they said it will take a long time for the industry to adapt instead of the idealist ignoring the reality. I hope this works!

  63. Avatar

    Björn

    January 8, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Whatdafuk…so it is better in almost every way 😲
    Awesome

  64. Avatar

    Bart Roberts

    January 9, 2021 at 6:23 am

    Sadly, most carbon cure absorbs on the order of 2 kg of CO2 per tonne of cement. You have to be very careful when examining carbon capture claims.

    Geopolymer and alkali-activated cements are among the best candidates, requiring far lower heats to transform kaolin to metakaolin (the analogue of turning limestone into clinker for OPC), and can be not just entirely fossil free in production, but also will absorb CO2 and can take advantage of carbon curing processes too. And bonus, twice as strong and cures in 3% of the time; more resistant to chemical erosion and able to use a wider range of aggregates effectively, including foaming agents or biochar that make the cement lighter, better insulators and in some cases able to bank carbon permanently up to 40% of the weight of the concrete.

  65. Avatar

    Zokomo TV

    January 9, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    This sounds like a promising technology!

  66. Avatar

    Mountain Whale

    January 10, 2021 at 3:10 am

    There’s a carbon neutral/negative replacement for nearly any and every material and technology we use. The problem is always the same, the economic paradigm acts against it due to its own imperative for profit . To make things even worse, the idea that you can enact some sort of regulation to force the use of replacement technologies is and would continue to be so incredibly unpopular, that any and all democratic societies would shy away from it.

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