Turning Carbon into Concrete – with Brent Constantz, Ph.D. – Blue Planet

Episode 79

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with communities, governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: “The key to mitigating CO2 and affecting climate change lies in governments’ abilities to use their procurement power to procure carbon sequestered materials at grand scales. If we follow that mechanism, we could mitigate climate in a significant way, billions of tons.” – Brent Constantz, Ph.D.

The crucial necessity of solving the climate crisis goes beyond everything else we’re dealing with today.

Every year, fossil fuels and industry emit 40 Gigatons (40 thousand million tons) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere globally..

All climate modelers think we can put maybe another 500 gigatons into the atmosphere before things really get crazy. Sounds like a lot? It’s just a little over 10 years

Did you know that concrete is the most marketed material in the world other than water? And that there’s about 50 gigatons of sand and gravel mined and incorporated in asphalt, primarily in concrete, every year? Concrete is actually one of the very few places where we can store massive amounts of CO2. Limestone – the most common type of rock to be mined and transported for concrete – is actually made up of CO3 (carbonate) and calcium.

So… humanity currently uses 50 GTs of concrete a year. If we can capture part of the 40 GTs of CO2 that would have entered the atmosphere, mineralize it (just as nature does with biomineralization via organisms) and put that into our concrete – we can solve a huge portion of our climate crisis.

Mineralization of CO2 is the most permanent form of sequestration of CO2 that’s possible right now.

Listen to this episode as we talk about biomineralization with Brent Constantz.

Brent Constantz, Ph.D. is a Fullbright Scholar and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Planet Systems Corporation, a serial entrepreneur with expertise in biomineralization. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Constantz as founder and CEO led three medical device companies to advance mineralization technologies for orthopedic bone cements.

Dr. Constantz founded Calera to address global climate concerns with aspirations to permanently sequester gigaton quantities of carbon dioxide in the form of carbonate minerals. Blue Planet is the next generation product using carbonate materials.

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The most immediate climate issue that’s on the table right now is passing the Build Back Better Act. It is the largest piece of climate legislation that’s ever been proposed in the history of our country. That single bill will put us on track to meeting and even exceeding our goals, which is hugely important and necessary if we want life on this planet to continue.

Multiply your climate impact by a factor of 1,000 with #CodeRedClimate & CodeRedCongress.com  (https://coderedcongress.com/)

SuperNova #1. Where do you think all the carbon is? When we talk about carbon as opposed to carbon dioxide, there’s about 750 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is an 85,000 ft. thick enveloped gas around the Earth. In the whole biosphere, there’s about 5000 giga tons, then in the hydrosphere, there’s about 38,000 to 40,000 giga tons of carbons. In the lithosphere (buried in the earth), there’s about 55 million gigatons and it turns out most of it is actually limestone that makes up ~10% of the Earth’s crust.

SuperNova #2. We all are in favor of carbon legislation. But the fact is that most countries are never gonna have a carbon price. Since a lot of the ways to remove CO2 are dependent on some sort of government subsidy, we need solutions that work in poor countries as well as in rich countries.

SuperNova #3. It’s really important that people think about things quantitatively when we make policies on the side of what we’re gonna do. I think it’s really easy to miss the forest for the trees and do really cool things thinking that they’re gonna impact climate change, but until you actually look at the numbers and really see what impact they’re gonna have, you don’t really know.

Best Advice He’s Ever Received: “Be patient.” 

Personal Habit that Contributes to Success: “I spend at least an hour in the morning thinking, usually in the hot tub with a good cup of coffee.”

Internet Resource: Carbon Star

Book Recommendation: “The Origin of the Species” by Charles Darwin

Magic Wand: “It would be education.” 

Most Energized About Today: “Blue Planet.” 

Next Step: “Go global.”

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Episode 79