Carbon Upcycling funding advances Cemex, CRH cement projects
Sources: Carbon Upcycling Inc., Calgary; CMCM staff
A $26 million Series A funding round positions Carbon Upcycling to expedite carbon capture and utilization projects at the Cemex Rugby, U.K. and Ash Grove Cement Mississauga, Ontario plants. Work is concurrent on the projects, which represent the first commercial deployments in portland cement production of Carbon Upcycling’s all-electric technology for mineralizing carbon dioxide emissions and transforming industrial byproducts into materials for cement and concrete.
Cemex Ventures and Ash Grove Cement-allied CRH Ventures participated in the funding round, which was led by theClimate Tech Fund II of Montreal-based BDC Capital. Cemex Ventures announced an initial Carbon Upcycling investment in February 2022. Four months later, the companies began working at Rugby to establish the world’s first commercial-scale plant that produces cement additives by sequestering CO2 in glass byproducts. A Carbon Upcycling reactor engineered for the waste glass feedstock has the potential to sequester 1,600-plus metric tons of CO2 emissions from the Rugby cement line.
“Cemex is committed to supporting decarbonization for the built environment, and our follow-on investment in Carbon Upcycling demonstrates such ambition,” says Cemex Ventures Head Gonzalo Galindo. “Carbon Upcycling provides a scalable solution that effectively reduces the carbon footprint of cement. Increasing the supply and use of cementitious materials aligns with Cemex’s goals of reducing CO2 emissions and becoming fully net-zero by 2050.”
Cemex North American and European market peer and Ash Grove Cement parent company, Dublin-based CRH Plc, announced a Carbon Upcycling investment earlier this year through CRH Ventures. The initial and current investments are in conjunction with the installation of Carbon Upcycling reactors at the Ash Grove Cement operation outside Toronto. “We have chosen to further develop our existing partnership with Carbon Upcycling as its technology solution aligns directly with our circular, zero-waste sustainability values,” notes CRH Ventures Head Eduardo Gomez Mendoza. “The integration we are supporting means this technology will be deployed at commercial scale in one of the largest cement plants in Canada, demonstrating a cost-effective, circularity-based method of producing low-carbon cement.”
CRH and Cemex indicate the that Mississauga and Rugby installations could be replicated at additional cement operations on both sides of the Atlantic. “Over the next year, our mission is to demonstrate our technology’s versatility, scalability, and operational elegance,” observes Carbon Upcycling Founder and CEO Apoorv Sinha. “Proving significant, cost-effective decarbonization potential in the cement industry is possible without a green premium.”
“Apoorv and his team have positioned Carbon Upcycling for rapid growth. The scale-up of the company’s technology will enable cross-industrial collaboration between cement, steel, mining, and other heavy industries and help build a clean, low-carbon, circular economy,” affirms BDC Capital Principal Pascal Lanctot. “Carbon Upcycling is a prime example of a Canadian company addressing high-emitting sector[s] with a unique and patented climate technology.”
Joining BDC Capital, Cemex Ventures and CRH Ventures in the Series A funding are Climate Investment LP; Clean Energy Ventures and its angel investor collective CEVG; Amplify Capital; and, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures. In addition to private capital, Carbon Upcycling has received project funding from the Government of Canada, U.S. Department of Energy-backed National Renewable Energy Laboratory and UK Research and Innovation.