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Knife River on mission to establish synthetic limestone

By |  December 22, 2020

Logo: Knife River Corp.

Knife River Corp. plans to pursue a commercial means of creating and marketing synthetic limestone, establishing a partnership with a technology company to develop construction-grade rock and, ultimately, concrete that would have a net-zero or net-negative carbon footprint.

Knife River, which is a subsidiary of MDU Resources, specifically partnered with Blue Planet Systems Corp. Knife River made an investment in the company, and David Barney, president and CEO of Knife River, joined Blue Planet’s five-member board of directors.

A goal of the joint pursuit is for concrete to maintain the strength for which it is known, Knife River says.

“We’re in the early stages with this technology, but the possibilities are extremely exciting,” Barney says. “Concrete is the foundation of the world’s infrastructure. We want to be proactive in finding ways to minimize our carbon footprint while continuing to build the strong roads, bridges, runways and driveways our nation uses every day.”

Blue Planet’s Brent Constantz is excited about the possibilities ahead with Knife River as a partner.

“Bringing Knife River’s aggregate knowledge to our team will help us fully understand how our products will need to perform in the construction world, particularly as a component of concrete,” says Constantz, founder and CEO of Blue Planet. “As we scale our technology, we are going to be running our aggregate products through industrial-level crushing, screening, filtering and placement processes, each of which Knife River knows well.”

According to Blue Planet, it produces aggregate using carbon-sequestration technology.

“We will be able to see how they perform at this industrial level,” Constantz says. “We’ll be able to compare our products to traditional geological materials. And we’ll be able to see the effects of our products in concrete, which can be a highly impactful method of permanent sequestration of carbon dioxide.”

By capturing carbon dioxide from existing sources to create synthetic limestone, Knife River says concrete can be produced while preventing that carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Additionally, the company says using synthetic limestone would prolong the life of natural aggregate sources.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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