GCCA Unveils First Partnerships of Innovandi ‘Open Challenge’

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) revealed the first six start-ups that will be backed by its member companies as part of the first-ever Innovandi “Open Challenge” in the race to net zero by 2050.

The six start-ups, which were chosen from more than 100 entrants to the Open Challenge, hail from the United States, Canada, UK, Italy and the Netherlands. They have now joined forces with cement companies to help drive further innovation in the industry and will each form part of a formal consortia to further test, develop and deploy their ground-breaking technologies.

Each consortium is made up of a start-up company, with their respective pioneering technology, and includes between three and eight cement companies, with 16 GCCA member companies involved across the innovation consortia. The members of each consortium are working together to develop their technologies ahead of a demonstration day, scheduled for late 2022.

The consortiums are:

  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies, Canada. Developing low-energy process that chemically activates and captures CO2 to produce a range of supplementary cementitious materials. Supporters: Cementos Argos, Cemex., CRH Plc, Holcim, Shree Cement and Taiheiyo Cement. 
  • Fortera, United States. Developing technology that captures cement plant CO2 emissions, combining them with calcium to make a reactive calcium carbonate exhibiting SCM properties. Supporters: Argos, CRH, Holcim, JSW Cement, Taiheiyo and Ultratech Cement.
  • CarbonOrO, The Netherlands. Developing a low-cost carbon capture technology using bi-phasic amine. Supporters: Cemex, Holcim, SCG, Titan Cement, UltraTech Cement and Votorantim Cimentos.
  • Coomtech, United Kingdom. Developing a low energy, low cost (pre-kiln, raw feed) drying technology, where managed turbulent air creates kinetic energy to remove moisture. Supporters: Buzzi Unicem, CRH, JSW and UltraTech.
  • MOF Technologies, United Kingdom. Developing technology that uses Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) to deliver energy-efficient CO2 removal at a fraction of the cost of conventional amines. Supporters: Buzzi Unicem, Cementir and HeidelbergCement.
  • Saipem, Italy. Developing carbon capture technology using a nonvolatile aqueous carbonate solution catalyzed by enzymes that neither require nor produce toxic products. Supporters: Buzzi Unicem, Cementir, Cementos Molins, Cemex, GCC, Holcim, Titan and Votorantim.

“Open Challenge is another big step towards unlocking innovation to help us achieve our net zero goal,” said Thomas Guillot, GCCA chief executive. “As the need for resilient and sustainable communities to support a growing global population becomes more pressing, cement and concrete will be essential to providing the infrastructure and buildings that society needs. Achieving net zero concrete relies on a number of different groups playing their part, and as an industry we’re looking outwards as well as inwards, to see how start-ups can support our goals.”

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