This website will offer limited functionality in this browser. We only support the recent versions of major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

Technology Collaboration Programme by IEA

International Standards and Testing for Novel Carbonaceous Building Materials

Paul Fennell, Niall Mac Dowell , Rupert Jacob Myers, Michael High, Meng Gao

Citation: IEAGHG, "International Standards and Testing for Novel Carbonaceous Building Materials", 2023-06, December 2023.

Download The Full Publication Now
International Standards and Testing for Novel Carbonaceous Building Materials

Publication Overview

Over 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced each year, equating to approximately 8% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and this industry will continue to grow with the expansion of the built environment at a time that emissions need to be reduced. The utilisation or reduction of CO2 within cement, concrete and building materials could be a valuable way to contribute to emissions reductions in the sector , but there are several barriers, including the current state of standards, regulations and policies. This study will provide useful information for the technical and research community, the CCUS industry, the construction industry, and policymakers, providing an unbiased and non-prescriptive evaluation of international standards and testing relevant to novel carbonaceous building materials to address some of those barriers. The market potential for CO2 utilisation processes in the construction industry is also investigated, and the methods for certifying and measuring embodied carbon content of carbonated building materials is evaluated and the challenges therein.

Publication Summary

  • Over the past two decades an increasing number of companies have emerged with a focus on developing innovative materials that utilise CO2 to lower the carbon emissions intensity of construction products.
  • Climate change is an extremely important priority throughout the building materials industry, with CO2 intensity or other measures being increasingly common to be part of tendering processes and shareholder pressure to decarbonise an important factor. However, safety and testing is seen as vital to maintain high standards.
  • Developing confidence in new materials is likely to be achieved by using them first in non-safety critical operations (e.g. retaining walls).
  • Knowledge sharing across industries and countries is important, particularly as the main growth area will be in emerging nations rather than developed countries.
  • Support in terms of legislation and tax credits is important from governments to deploy new materials, cases where this is happening include New York and New Jersey.
  • Performance based standards are preferable but take longer to develop and it is a challenge to include every possible combination of materials in a performance-based standard. A transition to performance-based specifications will require the development of rapid and reliable (appropriate) performance test methods. Some test methods need to be altered for new materials. 
  • Effort, time and funding is required to speed up the currently slow drift from mainly prescriptive to performance-based standards that are needed. The work of experts on both the RILEM (International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures) and BSI (British Standards Institution) Flex committees to develop performance-based standards for novel cements is an example of ongoing work in this area.
  • Comparing specifications for cements or concrete between international standards is difficult because cement types are defined using different criteria either using end-use requirements or composition.
  • Within the same overarching standard there are large differences in values between countries, because they can set limits on specific properties when specifying the same material property (e.g. compressive strength) for a material exposed to a particular set of conditions.
  • The number of potential new supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) is much larger than those currently permitted in existing standards. The need for consensus for new SCMs to enter the standard may hinder the adoption and exploration of locally available materials, which is important considering resources of traditional SCMs like coal fly ash have declining availability.
  • The aggregate market is estimated to currently be 46Gt per year. Recycled aggregates and those produced as industrial by products, including those utilising CO2 in production are becoming prevalent.
  • Other ways to use CO2 in the production of building products include:
    • Accelerated CO2 curing of concrete,
    • Use of alternative cement chemistry produced using CO2.
  • Some material such as carbonated concrete slurry waste can act in a complex manner within cement, allowing reduction of the total amount of cement clinker. There is a large potential resource of concrete slurry waste and it could be profitably used.
  • There is a significant potential market for carbonatable materials, but lifecycle emissions and commercial factors could potentially reduce CO2 savings and the total market available.
  • An analysis of the CO2 capture potential of industrial by-products from five industrial sectors found that up to 0.56 Gt of CO2 emissions could be captured by 3.6 Gt of carbonatable materials each year using CO2 mineralisation
  • Emissions reductions for the substitution of other materials could save between 0.01 and 0.49 kgCO2 – eq per kg material substituted. The greatest reduction occurs with the use of carbonated lightweight aggregate,
  • It is strongly suggested that “low carbon” terminology be significantly better classified in the production of building products.

Download Publication

Access the complete publication in PDF format.

Download Now

Related Publications

View similar publications.

View All Publications
Technical Report

Prospective Integration of Geothermal Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage

  • 23 August 2023
  • Storage
  • Utilisation

The aim of the study is to provide a dispassionate review and overview of scenarios where geothermal energy and CO2 utilisation and storage technologies can be combined for mutual benefit and contribute to Net Zero targets. Sourced from a rich body of literature from global research institutes and some demonstration projects many of the concepts identified have been conceptualised over the past 20 years and are still in the early concept stage. These concepts have been categorised, described and evaluated using qualitative and quantitative methods. And a map based screening exercise useful for initial evaluation of areas suitable for combined synergies has been undertaken.

Technical Report

Integrating CCS in international cooperation and carbon markets under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement

  • 18 January 2023
  • Policy & Regulation

This work assesses the status of and outlooks for international cooperation under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and considers how approaches could support the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS). It provides an up-to-date look at the Article 6 rules, the types of markets and mechanisms that could evolve, and the units that could be traded. It then considers how Article 6 could apply to CCS through linked emissions trading systems, crediting systems and alternative approaches.

Technical Report

Applying ISO Standards to Geologic Storage and EOR Projects

  • 1 September 2022
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Storage

The work aims to summarise and synthesise the two ISO Standards relevant to the geological storage of CO2: – ISO 27914:2017 (‘Carbon dioxide capture, transportation and geological storage – Geological storage’) and ISO 27916:2019 (‘Carbon dioxide capture, transportation and geological storage – Carbon dioxide storage using enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR)’) – to provide a high-level understanding of the content into an easily digestible format. By comparison with international regulatory frameworks, and providing case studies of how applicable the standards are to real CO2 storage projects, the study provides a comprehensive overview and concludes on the usefulness of the documents in supporting the implementation of CCUS projects. For the purposes of this overview, the standards will hereafter be referred to as ISO 27914 and ISO 27916

Technical Report

Defining the Value of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage for a Low-Carbon Future

  • 1 August 2022
  • Capture
  • Utilisation

A key objective of the study was to explore the concept of ‘value’, when applied to a technology deployed in a low-carbon energy system. CCUS is an available mitigation option to support energy transitions and has been highlighted by global IAMs as a necessary technology to limit anthropogenic warming to well below 2°C. Despite this, there continues to be dissent among academics, business leaders and policymakers regarding the role CCUS can or should play in a low-carbon future. This opposition appears to stem not only from a narrow and incomplete focus on cost, and the perception that CCUS is a high-cost mitigation option under all circumstances, but also a failure to recognise the value of CCUS from other perspectives, such as human, social and environmental, to support the energy transition to net zero. As a result, a wider, deeper, and multi-disciplinary review of the ‘value’ of CCUS is explored. Recent literature spanning sector-specific techno-economic models, global and regional IAMs, and social studies to explore the diverse value of CCUS is reviewed. Results from Princeton University’s Net-Zero America study are summarised, where five alternate modelled pathways to net-zero emissions in the United States provided an exceptional level of sectoral, temporal and spatial granularity to highlight the value of CCUS in these pathways. Finally, a semi-quantitative, 2×2 decision framework was introduced to help policymakers screen the relative competitiveness of CCUS as a mitigation option across multiple domains. This framework was applied across a number of case studies, including the United States, the UK, Indonesia, Australia and Japan, to highlight under what circumstances CCUS might prove to be a valuable mitigation option to help these jurisdictions achieve time-bound mitigation goals.

Technical Report

Mineral Carbonation usig Mine Tailings – A Strategic Overview of Potential and Opportunities

  • 1 July 2022
  • Utilisation

The aim of this review is to evaluate the techno-economic viability of AMC, and the comparative maturity of the technology, based on publicly available information. This report is primarily concerned with magnesium-silicate rich mine tailings and ex situ processing to induce carbonation suitably reactive rock. Magnesium silicate rocks can potentially offer significant volumes of material for CO2 capture compared with calcium-based materials

Technical Report

From Carbon Dioxide to Building Materials – Improving Process Efficiency

  • 1 March 2022
  • Utilisation

IEAGHG commissioned a study to investigate how captured CO2 can be used in building materials. It also explored the processes that are used to capture this CO2 and includes case studies where these processes are happening. The work has evaluated CO2 utilisation in the context of cement and concrete production by looking into the effects of carbonation on material utilisation and the design of a potential carbonation plant. The market analysis and market pull of carbonated building products is also covered.

Technical Report

CO2 Utilisation: Hydrogenation Pathways

  • 1 November 2021
  • Costs of CCUS
  • Utilisation

The aim of this study is to assess the feasibility of select carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) routes based upon CO2 conversion through hydrogenation, in terms of their climate change mitigation potential. The results of this study will be of interest to organisations/individuals involved with climate-change scenario modelling, as well as RD&D financial sponsors. The commodities selected for investigation were methanol, formic acid, and middle distillate hydrocarbons (synthetic fuels: diesel, gasoline, jet fuel), with a focus on catalytic hydrogenation pathways. Results of CO2 emissions, costs and energy consumption for formic acid, however, will not be presented in detail in this Overview, as the analysis has shown that the abatement is limited to 2 MtCO2 due to the small market size. (Results for formic acid are available in the full report.)

Technical Report

CO2 as a Feedstock: Comparison of CCU Pathways

  • 1 November 2021
  • Utilisation

The aim of this study is to present a holistic assessment of the viability (both technically and from a market perspective) of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) routes and to identify areas of strength and weakness within individual routes, compare different CCU pathways, and identify common drivers, barriers, and enablers. The results of this study will be of interest to the technical community, as well as industry and manufacturers. The study assessed commodities across four different CCU categories (building materials, chemicals, polymers and fuels) regarding their mitigation potential, market uptake potential, technical scalability and other impacts.

Technical Review

CCUS in national GHG inventories

  • 28 June 2021
  • Policy & Regulation

This report builds upon previous IEAGHG studies on the topic of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) in order to assess the potential of a portfolio of CCU technologies to contribute towards Japan’s climate change mitigation goals in 2030 and 2050.

Our most recent publications

Our authoritative, peer-reviewed publications cover topics that include carbon capture, transport, storage, monitoring, regulation, and more.

View All Publications
Technical Review

7th Post-Combustion Capture Conference Summary

  • 1 April 2024
  • Capture
  • Event Proceedings

The 7th edition of the Post Combustion Capture Conference (PCCC-7) was held on the 25?28 September 2023 and was jointly hosted by the IEAGHG, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and sponsored by Worley, Shell, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. (MHI).

Technical Report

Techno-Economic Assessment of Small-Scale Carbon Capture for Industrial and Power Systems

  • 1 March 2024
  • Capture
  • Costs of CCUS

This study, undertaken on behalf of IEAGHG by Element Energy (now a part of ERM), explores the role of CCS in decarbonising small-scale industry and power generation applications. While relatively under investigated compared to their larger scale counterparts, reaching net zero will be dependent on successfully addressing the emissions from small-scale facilities. The findings from the study will be of interest to the broader energy community but, in particular, should benefit project developers, the finance community and policymakers.

Technical Report

Clean steel an environmental and technoeconomic outlook of a disruptive technology

  • 1 March 2024
  • Capture
  • Costs of CCUS

This study primarily presents a comparative analysis of steelmaking pathways to cost-effectively decarbonise a steel mill, taking a life-cycle perspective on associated environmental impacts. The roll-out of clean steel technologies is envisioned to have a significant implication for support infrastructure. Therefore, a secondary objective of the study is to gain insights into the primary energy and infrastructure implications associated with large-scale deployment of different steel decarbonisation pathways. Clean steel production will likely be more expensive than steel produced today; this poses additional economic strains on steel producers and consumers. Consequently, a third objective is to estimate the price premium that clean steel could command in existing and future markets. Further, this study formulates recommendations for key stakeholders to support the sector and outlines recommendations for further work.

Technical Report

The Role of Indices in Assessing the Maturity of CCUS Technologies and their Readiness for Deployment

  • 1 February 2024
  • Industry Insights

This study was undertaken on behalf of IEAGHG by Foresight Transitions Ltd. While a technology may be technically mature, it has become increasingly clear that the technology may not necessarily be considered commercially ‘bankable’ by investors. In this study, the potential for an index or indices to provide that confidence was explored. The findings from the study will be of interest to the broader energy community but, in particular, should benefit technology developers, CCUS end users, investors and policymakers.

Technical Report

Methologies and Technologies for Mitigation

  • 1 December 2023
  • Industry Insights

The driver behind this study is to develop a report built on the on the previous IEAGHG report on methods of leakage mitigation (2007/11). The proposed study should focus on current mitigation and remediation methods that may be applied or considered in site specific conditions in the event of unpredicted CO2 migration. Each geological storage site will have an adaptive site specific monitoring plan, based on a risk assessment. Detection of a significant irregularity may involve supplementing the monitoring program, in order to detect a possible leak and if necessary engaging mitigation measures.

Technical Report

International Standards and Testing for Novel Carbonaceous Building Materials

  • 1 December 2023
  • Policy & Regulation
  • Utilisation

Over 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced each year, equating to approximately 8% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and this industry will continue to grow with the expansion of the built environment at a time that emissions need to be reduced. The utilisation or reduction of CO2 within cement, concrete and building materials could be a valuable way to contribute to emissions reductions in the sector , but there are several barriers, including the current state of standards, regulations and policies. This study will provide useful information for the technical and research community, the CCUS industry, the construction industry, and policymakers, providing an unbiased and non-prescriptive evaluation of international standards and testing relevant to novel carbonaceous building materials to address some of those barriers. The market potential for CO2 utilisation processes in the construction industry is also investigated, and the methods for certifying and measuring embodied carbon content of carbonated building materials is evaluated and the challenges therein.

Technical Review

6th International Workshop on Offshore Geologic CO2 Storage

  • 1 December 2023
  • Event Proceedings
  • Storage

The 6th International Workshop on Offshore Geologic CO2 Storage was held in Aberdeen on 13-14 September. Organised with the University of Texas and hosted by the University of Aberdeen. The loca on was very appropriate as we were co-hosted and sponsored by Storegga who leads the Acorn project nearby in Scotland. This project had been recently announced by the UK government as a Track 2 Cluster project. This 6th workshop had 190 delegates (60 in-person and 130 virtual) from 35 countries, with a good mix of industry, researchers and regulators.

Technical Review

Monitoring Network Meeting Report

  • 1 December 2023
  • Event Proceedings
  • Storage

The IEAGHG Monitoring Network aims to assess new technologies and techniques in the monitoring of CO2 storage, determine the limitations, accuracy and applicability of monitoring techniques, disseminate information from research and pilot storage projects around the world, develop extensive monitoring guidelines for the different sub-categories of geological storage; oil and gas fields, unmineable coal seams, and saline aquifers covering the differing conditions and reservoir properties encountered globally as well as to engage with relevant regulatory bodies.

Technical Report

Components of CCS Infrastructure – Interim CO2 Holding Options

  • 27 November 2023
  • Storage
  • Transport

This work, undertaken on behalf of IEAGHG by TNO and SINTEF, provides an overview of temporary / interim CO2 storage, or ‘holding’, options (also called buffers) and investigates the role of buffer storage and its potential to create flexible and robust carbon capture and storage (CCS) chains. The report looks at current and emerging buffer technologies, conducts simulations to demonstrate the temporary storage required for given flow-rate scenarios and discusses the impact of buffer capacity on transport costs. In the report, the storage requested in the chain for normal operation is presented as " temporary storage" and storage to give buffer capacity is presented as " buffer storage". This report has focussed on buffering at the emitter site. The results of this study will benefit CO2 storage site project developers, operators, financiers and regulators.

Technical Report

Classification of Total Storage Resources and Storage Coefficients

  • 1 November 2023
  • Storage

The CO2 Storage Resources Management System (SRMS) is a classification scheme to quantify, classify and categorise CO2 storage resources. It comprises ‘total storage resources’, which are understood as maximum (theoretical) storage quantities that could ever be accommodated in the subsurface. Comprising maximum mobile CO2 in structural/stratigraphic traps, maximum residually trapped CO2 in other parts of the formation, and maximum dissolution potential in remaining formation water. ‘Storable quantities’ are understood as accessible from one or several current or future projects. It is the sum of capacity, contingent and prospective resources. The concept of ‘storage coefficient’ ‘E’ is the ratio of the subsurface volume of CO2 storable quantities to either the total storage resources or the pore volume. The calculation is arguably complicated as E is impacted by lithological heterogeneity, trapping structures, boundary conditions, injection rates, well spacing, fluid properties etc. Due to its complexity, there is much controversy on how to estimate E, with some arguing it should not be used at all and that reservoir simulation is a better path. However, estimates for E are used in most regional mapping studies. This study explores storage resource classification schemes and their evolution in understanding, the calculation of storage resources and the storage co-efficient. This is explored in terms of calculating E for CO2 storage sites, through flow modelling and analytical solutions.

Get the latest CCS news and insights

Get essential news and updates from the CCS sector and the IEAGHG by email.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Whatever you would like to know, our dedicated team of experts is here to help you. Just drop us an email and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Contact Us Now