Sublime Systems wins award to advance electrolyser technology

Sublime Systems wins award to advance electrolyser technology
14 February 2024

US-based Sublime Systems has been awarded US$6.7m from the Department of Energy Industrial Efficiency and Decabonization Office to advance its innovative electrolyser technology. The company claims to have found a way to make cement that eliminates 90 per cent of the carbon emissions associated with making ordinary cement. 

Sublime Systems was one of 49 projects selected to receive US$171m in funding from the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office. The company’s project that won the award was entitled ‘Advanced electrolytic cement production process for lower-energy use with alternative calcium sources’.

The award will make it possible for Sublime Systems to take the next step towards scaling its breakthrough electro-chemical technology to better process a broad range of industrial byproducts and wastes for its cement, which is a drop-in replacement for high emissions ordinary Portland cement. High volume low or negative value waste materials are rich in the elements required for cement. They are produced at enormous scales but are currently unusable in cement and concrete due to the inflexibility of kilns to upgrade materials other than limestone. Therefore, many of those materials cannot currently be used to make concrete and go to landfills instead.

Sublime technology takes some of those abundant minerals and aggregates that contain calcium and feeds them into an electrolyser that uses a pH gradient to produce reactive silicates and calcium (lime). They are then mixed to form a cement that reacts with water to set and harden into concrete the same way ordinary Portland cement does. 

“Through this project, Sublime’s electrolyser will be optimised to process those waste materials most efficiently, meaning an old, demolished building could be turned into fresh Sublime Cement. Being able to process industrial waste means society can manufacture a critical building material while significantly reducing the disruption of natural ecosystems. In other words, we can clean up while simultaneously building,” explains Michael Stern, director process R&D at Sublime Systems. 

The company is currently constructing a pilot plant in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, which is expected to begin operations in 2026.

Published under Cement News