GCCA names low carbon challenge winners

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The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has announced that six start-up businesses specialising in carbon capture technologies will be backed by its member companies.

The start-ups – CarbonOrO, Carbon Upcycling Technologies, Coomtech, Fortera, MOF Technologies and Saipem (see more details below) – are the first to be chosen as part of the assoctiaton’s Innovandi ‘Open Challenge’ programme.

The programme aims to help drive the industry towards net zero by 2050 by finding innovative companies that are developing carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, that can “reduce or eliminate carbon throughout the cement and concrete value chain”.

Thomas Guillot, GCCA Chief Executive, said, “It’s a proud moment to see the industry coming together to support such innovative start-ups on their journey. Our member companies were greatly impressed by their ambition to be a key part of the climate solution. 

“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 like these can support our goals.”

The six start-ups, which come from the US, Canada, UK, Italy and the Netherlands, were selected from over a hundred ‘Open Challenge’ entrants.

Each of the businesses will now enter a consortia agreement with their own group of supporting CCGA member companies.

The GCCA members will provide the start-ups with “global resources” to help accelerate the development and deployment of their CCUS technologies and products. 

According to Guillot, if the industry is to achieve net zero globally by 2050, then it must, “involve and support the future generations who contribute innovative ideas and energy to the industry.”

Global concrete and cement production is currently thought to produce around 7% of the world’s carbon emissions output.

Innovandi Open Challenge: About the start-ups

Netherlands-based specialist in carbon capture technology using unique bi-phasic amine with a lower cost of capture. The firm will be supported by GCCA members Cemex, Holcim, SCG, Titan Cement, UltraTech Cement and Votorantim Cimentos.

Carbon Upcycling Technologies

Using a patented, low-energy process, Carbon Upcycling Technologies chemically activates and captures CO2 within solid waste materials to produce a range of supplementary cementitious materials, to create low carbon cement and concrete. The Canadian start-up is being supported by Cementos Argos, CEMEX, CRH, Holcim, Shree Cement and Taiheiyo.


Coomtech has developed a low energy, low cost drying technology using managed turbulent air, creating kinetic energy to remove moisture. Revolutionising a 100-year-old process, a single Coomtech-enabled plant can cut CO2 emissions by the equivalent of more than 600,000 mature trees per year and is 75% cheaper to operate.

The UK-based companiy is being supported by Buzzi Unicem, CRH, JSW Cement and UltraTech Cement.


Fortera’s technology captures CO2 emissions from cement plants, combining it with calcium oxide to make reactive calcium carbonate. It is stable in dry powder form and its cementitious properties are activated when wetted.

The firm will be backed by Cementos Argos, CRH, Holcim, JSW Cement, Taiheiyo Cement and Ultratech Cement.

MOF Technologies 

This start-ups’ nuada carbon capture technology uses Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) to deliver energy-efficient CO2 removal at a fraction of the cost of conventional amines. They are being supported by Buzzi Unicem, Cementir Holding and HeidelbergCement.


Saipem has developed a revolutionary carbon capture technology using a non-volatile aqueous carbonate solution catalysed by enzymes that neither require nor produce toxic products. The process can capture post-combustion emissions directly from industrial sources, like chimneys, using low-grade residual heat to drive the process.

The Italy-based start-up will be backed by Buzzi Unicem, Cementir Holding, Cementos Molins, CEMEX, GCC, Holcim, Titan Cement and Votorantim Cimentos.


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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
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