Cambridge Electric Cement secures £2.25m for low-carbon cement

Cambridge Electric Cement secures £2.25m for low-carbon cement
05 July 2024

A British start-up, born out of the University of Cambridge, has raised GBP2.25m in seed funding to support its plans to industrialise the production of low-carbon cement.

Cambridge Electric Cement (CEC) has received investment from previous investor Legal & General, as well as Cambridge Enterprise Ventures, Parkwalk Advisors, Almanac Ventures and Delph25 in a funding round spearheaded by Zero Carbon Capital.

The company has announced that it has developed a way to make low-carbon, circularly-produced cement by using the same electric arc furnaces that are used to produce low-carbon steel.

It has announced that it will use the seed funding to industrialise its production method at a Celsa UK steelworks facility in Cardiff. The company aims to build a real-world demonstrator to advance offtake deals with partners and customers.

Bill Yost, CEO of Cambridge Electric Cement, said: “We are excited to start our commercial journey to deploying our co-production process at scale with our great set of early investors and industry partners and are hugely motivated by the potential decarbonisation and wider sustainability impact we could deliver together.”

CEC’s innovation is to swap the lime flux commonly used in electric arc furnaces to clean out impurities when recycling steel with recovered cement paste. Researchers expect that heating the waste cement in the furnace “reactivates it” without negatively affecting the steelmaking process.

As the cement production ‘piggybacks’ off existing industrial processes, which can be powered by low-carbon electricity, the approach is expected to result in minimal emissions compared to making cement in kilns. Additionally, this method is cheaper than other leading methods of cement production.

CEC was founded in 2022 to industrialise research from University of Cambridge academics and is working with a number of leading engineering, construction, and materials processing companies on the Cement 2 Zero industrial demonstrator project (a GBP6.5m Innovate UK initiative).

Industrial-scale trials started in May at a 150t furnace owned by Celsa UK, following the successful completion of pilot trials using CEC’s method at a 7t electric arc furnace owned by the Materials Processing Institute.

Co-founder and General Partner of Zero Carbon Capital, Pippa Gawley, said the company was “thrilled” to support CEC’s innovation.

She said, “Their innovative decarbonisation technology paired with the use of existing infrastructure addresses a significant gap and has huge abatement and commercial potential,” and added, “We believe in the team's vision and their ability to execute, and we look forward to working together.”

Published under Cement News