Halifax-based CarbonCure Technologies has been selected to help produce environmentally friendly construction materials for the California High-Speed Rail project.

The startup issued a press release Sunday saying that it has partnered with Outback Materials of Fresno, Calif., which will install CarbonCure’s technology at its Fresno plant. That means the plant will consume rather than emit waste carbon during the production of concrete for several projects, including the high-speed rail project.

CarbonCure, which has raised almost $10 million in equity investment, has developed technology that injects carbon into concrete to strengthen it and reduce costs. Traditional concrete production produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide, but the CarbonCure method actually reduces CO2. The company began with a process for concrete blocks and last year launched a process to inject carbon into ready-mix concrete.

“I think it’s important for this industry to align with California’s environmental commitments by adopting greener technologies,” Outback CEO Curtis Lovett said in the statement. “Partnering with CarbonCure is an essential piece in doing our part to improve air quality and preserve the environment.”

Known as one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects under development in the U.S., the California High-Speed Rail project will be a 1300-kilometre rail link connecting the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2029. That first phase of the project is expected to cost US$64 billion. In Phase II, the railway will be extended to Sacramento and San Diego.

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Outback will supply nearly half a million cubic yards of concrete for the first sections of the project, part of a 29-mile segment connecting Madera and Fresno counties, in which there are 25 concrete structures. It will install CarbonCure’s technology in its Fresno plant to chemically sequester waste CO2 in the concrete during the manufacturing process.

Outback said it has been dedicated to providing high-quality concrete from six local locations to California’s Central Valley for 50 years. This new equipment will improve not only the environmental impact of the concrete they produce, but the overall integrity of the material, as well. “This partnership solidifies Outback's commitment to help contribute to California’s environmental targets,” said the California company.

"It is truly an honour for CarbonCure have the opportunity to partner with a great producer like Outback Materials and to partake in an infrastructure project with the magnitude of the California High-Speed Rail," said CarbonCure CEO Robert Niven. "If CarbonCure's technology were used to produce the concrete for the rest of the first construction package, spanning from Madera to Fresno, the carbon reductions would be equivalent to the amount of CO2 consumed by 3200 acres of American forest over a year."

CarbonCure’s technology is now being used in a growing number of concrete plants across North America, including several of the world’s largest vertically integrated cement and concrete companies. The company is one of 27 semi-finalists in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE challenge, which has been called the Nobel Prize for climate technologies.