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Published on Dec 2, 2011
Biomineralization expert Brent Constantz of Stanford University was inspired to make a new type of cement for buildings by the way corals build reefs. The process of making this cement actually removes carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas, thought to cause global warming -- from the air. The company Constantz founded, called Calera, has a demonstration plant on California's Monterrey Bay. The installation takes waste CO2 gas from a local power plant and dissolves it into seawater to form carbonate, which mixes with calcium in the seawater and creates a solid. It's how corals form their skeletons, and how Constantz creates cement. This interview is part of a special EarthSky series, Biomimicry: Nature of Innovation, produced in partnership with Fast Company and sponsored by Dow. Constantz spoke with EarthSky's Jorge Salazar.