’Green’ cement for carbon-negative construction

’Green’ cement for carbon-negative construction
Published: 11 August 2009

A UK firm working to develop carbon-negative cement recently announced that it’s raised more than UK£1m equity funding.

Cement manufacturing is currently highly carbon-intensive, making the global industry a major contributor to rising levels of greenhouse gases. The annual production of over 2.5bnt of Portland cement is already responsible for five per cent of global CO2 emissions, and cement volumes are expected to double by 2050.

Novacem, a spinout from Imperial Innovations Group plc, says its cement actually absorbs more CO2 over its lifetime than it generates. The firm estimates that, for every tonne of ordinary Portland cement replaced by Novacem cement, about 0.75t of CO2 could be captured and stored indefinitely in construction materials and structures.

If widely adopted, the new type of cement could transform the cement industry from a significant emitter of CO2 to a significant absorber of the greenhouse gas, according to Novacem. That goal received a boost with the new funding from Imperial Innovations Group plc, the London Technology Fund (LTF), and the Royal Society Enterprise

“We are delighted to welcome our new shareholders,” said Stuart Evans, chairman of Novacem. “They will help us position the company as a dominant provider of carbon-negative cement to the construction industry. We are assembling a world-class team and these funds will help us grow the team, complete an initial pilot plant before the end of 2009 and accelerate development and commercialisation.”

“Novacem is developing a formidable technology which has the potential to have a major impact on CO2 emissions,” said David McMeekin, chairman of LTF. “It is an excellent example of the world-class technology being developed at London’s universities.”

“Novacem is exactly the type of company the Enterprise Fund was created to support: It is based on outstanding science, has enormous potential commercial opportunities but is nevertheless high-risk,” added Andrew Mackintosh, Chief Executive of the Royal Society Enterprise Fund. “If we are serious about using the challenge of climate change to create new businesses in the UK then we have to invest in and encourage companies like Novacem and give them a realistic chance to deliver.”