Since 2018, Sant has led the institute’s cross-disciplinary teams to create sustainable solutions for carbon removal. In April 2021, he led the UCLA CarbonBuilt team, which developed a new technology that turns carbon dioxide into concrete, to win the $7.5 million grand prize in the COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition, making UCLA the first university to win an XPRIZE. The institute’s ongoing projects include SeaChange, an energy-efficient technology that removes carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater; x/44, a method for achieving electrochemical direct air capture; and EPOCH, an electrochemical process for producing portlandite — a limestone and cement replacement — designed to greatly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions associated with cement and concrete production. Technologies developed at the institute are being commercialized by UCLA startup companies including CarbonBuilt, Concrete-AI and SeaChange.
Sant received a Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. in civil engineering from Purdue University. He joined the UCLA faculty in 2010 and is the principal investigator in the Laboratory for the Chemistry of Construction Materials. His research interests include cementitious materials and porous media, with a focus on their chemistry-microstructure-engineering properties, reducing the carbon footprint of construction materials and other related topics.
In addition to his groundbreaking research, Sant has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and his work has been supported by federal and state agencies, foundations and Fortune 500 corporations. He has received numerous awards from the National Science Foundation, American Concrete Institute, American Institute for Chemical Engineering, and International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures.